And today I see that the US State Department has issued a travel advisory over fears of violent Muslim reactions to the planned burning of some Qurans by a small church in Florida:
The Department of State is issuing this Travel Alert to caution U.S. citizens of the potential for anti-U.S. demonstrations in many countries in response to stated plans by a church in Florida to burn Qur'ans on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Demonstrations, some violent, have already taken place in several countries, including Afghanistan and Indonesia, in response to media reports of the church's plans. The potential for further protests and demonstrations, some of which may turn violent, remains high. We urge you to pay attention to local reaction to the situation, and to avoid areas where demonstrations may take place. This Travel Alert expires on September 30, 2010.
So, is the US State Department Islamophobic, expressing a pathological fear of Muslims? ? Or is the US State Dept. particularly knowledgable about Islam and Muslims and this anticipation of their expected behavior is reasonable?
If Americans are frightened of Muslims, I am thinking maybe it is due to actual world events and anticipated world events as expressed by Imam Rauf and the US State Dept.
In support of the US State Dept travel advisory, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan says that if the Pastor in Florida burns Qurans, it will be received as "a declaration of war":
Claiming that burning the Koran is a part of freedom of expression is ridiculous and does not make any sense," the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, said in a statement.
"Insulting religions and holy books is a crime that provokes people. It is a declaration of war against them," it added.
I'm not supporting the idea of burning Qurans. But I do think it is a free speech issue. I wish he wouldn't do it. But the blame for any violence that results must be placed on those who react violently to a symbolic act.
This is comparable to the way women in the USA had to deal with arguments about rape. The fact that a woman dressed in a sexy way used to be used against her in rape trials in the USA. But now, in the USA, we accept that the man is responsible for his own actions. Hmmm, of course in many Muslim countries, women are still held responsible for the actions of the men. Women have to wear burkas so the men won't be aroused.
It sure seems like Muslim men have not been taught to separate their feelings from their behavior and that they are responsible for their own actions. They blame others for provoking them to violence and they blame others for provoking them sexually. It makes sense to me to be afraid of people who don't take responsibility for their own actions.