So some genius in the depths of the Christian USA (Florida to be precise) has come up with the bright idea of having this year's anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks be the first annual 'Burn A Qur'an Day'. In any rational world this would reflect worse on the antagonist than it doesn't on its target, but we all well know that we don't live in a rational world (it's also hard for the Christian Right in America to fall any further in the eyes of the global public anyway).
But it is what Burn A Qur'an Day reveals about Islamic militants that is most interesting. Cast your minds back to earlier this year, when South Park had it's 200th show anniversary. The plot centred in a large part around Muhammad; they wanted to show him, but couldn't so he spent the episode in a bear costume. And people got worked up about it. That's right, Islamic militants got worked up about the idea that Muhammad might be wearing a bear costume and that that bear costume is bring shown on television. In a cartoon. Next episode it is revelaed that it was Santa Claus inside the bear costume, not Muhammad, thus exposing the ridiculousness of the argument against the show.
But the damage had already been done.
A group of rather vocal self christened Islamic militants insinuated that if Comedy Central (the network on which the show airs) showed Muhammad then there would be serious repurcutions. They published addresses of Comedy Central offices, as well as the home addresses of Parker and Stone (South Park's creators), and warned that they could not be held accountable for what might happen.
The stunt worked, they got airtime on all the major news networks, and Comedy Central bowed its head and heavily censored the following episode (it was a 2 parter), to the point where they bleeped every utterance of Muhammad's name (way to stand up for those freedoms you believe in by the way). The bullies won. Again.
Fast forward to now, with Burn A Qur'an Day fast approaching. Where are the voices of dissent? Where are the threats of violence? Where is the publishing of home addresses? Nowhere to be seen. What Burn A Qur'an Day - for all its bigoted ugliness - has done, is expose the true face of Western Islamic militancy.
They're attention seeking media whores. Nothing more.
Burn A Qur'an Day is something - it's safe to say - that is deeply offensive to Muslims and non Muslims alike (hence the pre sure from various religious leaders and the White House to call it off) and something that is far more reactionary and provocative than showing a cartoon of Santa, who's pretending to be Muhammad, in a bear suit. But it is not being jump on by Islamic militants to claim to fight for Allah. Why is that?
Because, quite frankly, there is no news story attached to it. Attacking - verbally or otherwise - the organisers of a small church in Florida would not garner headiness like threatening celebrities and major media networks would. Attacking those participating in the event, an event that most sane people agree is ugly and wrong, will not galvanise public opinion against you, your motives could be understood. And - unlike Liberals - attacking these people involved in Burn. A Qur'an Day would not stop them; they wouldn't back down and they wouldn't give up.
Muslim militants like to fight battles that they know they can win, that will galvanise opinion against them and that will give them a lot of media coverage. Starting a fight with the organisers of Burn A Qur'an would accomplish none of these things.
Media outlets are not really interested in the event. Glenn Beck is holding a mega rally in Alaska on the same day, purported to be the event where Sarah Palin will announce her 2012 presidential bid. Compared to that, a bunch of racist, intolerant Southern Christians are not exactly newsworthy (they're hardly doing anything different than usual).
For the same reason - the fact that they're racist, intolerant, Southern Christians - a fight is unwinnable. The usual suspects of Islamic militancy know that they won't be able to get the organisers and supporters to back down, so it isn't a battle they could crow about winning in the name of Islam; in fact it would only prove that the resolve of the Christians was greater than that of the Muslims, as they refused to back down in the face of threatened violence because of their faith in their God. So our Islamic friends are 0 for 2.
The final point is that it doesn't turn people against them. This is very important. The heart of Islamic Fundamentalism is not about 'winning should for Allah' it's about killing everyone who isn't a believer, and subjugating the survivors to the iron rule of the Islamic caliphate. They are a lot like the Westboro Baptist Church (the God Hates Fags crew) in this respect.
The WBC originally started picketing abortion clinics, but this did not set them out from the crowd. Then they started attacking homosexuals. This was a bit better, but still didn't net them the notoriety they craved. In attacking dead soldiers they were able to galvanise everyone against them. They're finally hated the way they want to be.
Islamic fundamentalists are the same. They need to be hated. They need to be loathed. Attacking something like a mass Qur'an burning is somewhat understandable. Threatening to attack a cartoon show isn't. One will get people on your side, the other won't. And it's the won't that they crave.
The won't gets them more airtime, the won't gets them more angst, the won't confirms that they are the righteous few in their fight against the unbelievers. It's the need to be seen, be hated and be heard. All the time. If you can't get on the air with something, it's not worth the battle. For this reason it proves that the actual cause of these people has nothing to do with their faith. What offends their faith is not what motivates them, it's what offends everyone else and how publicity they can get for it that drives them.
Offend the unbelievers, get the news headlines, win the battles, and when Allah sees the papers, he'll know how good a Muslim you are.
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