EDITORIAL: Islamist explosion not over film

There is no rational justification for irrational mob violence

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is emphatic that the anti-Islam video “Innocence of Muslims” is “disgusting.” This happens to be what most Americans feel about our flag being desecrated. For some reason, foreign governments don’t heap praise on the United States and its traditions every time their people commit acts of disrespect toward us. U.S. politicians could learn from their example.

In belated remarks Thursday marking the end of Ramadan, Mrs. Clinton expressed official disapproval of the film which has been blamed for the latest wave of anti-U.S. violence in the Muslim world. She made a reasonable point that people shouldn’t respond with violence when their religion is denigrated. Unfortunately, though, we aren’t dealing with reasonable people. Islamists don’t care about the Western tradition of tolerance, to them, it is one of our country’s many faults.

Mrs. Clinton has stressed that the U.S. government had nothing to do with the film, but this point is irrelevant. It didn’t matter to the extremists that the four Americans slain in Libya probably never heard of the movie clip. To the bloodthirsty mob, an American is an American. All are equally guilty; the four in Libya were simply available.

Wissam Buhmeid, commander of Libyan security forces in Benghazi, admitted his men abandoned the Americans to their fate because of the supposed insult to Muhammad. “There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film,” he said. “They would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet.” Remember, this is one of the supposedly good guys talking.

Focusing on the film as the cause of the anti-American outburst plays into the hands of the radicals. The attacks in Benghazi and Cairo were pre-planned, not spontaneous acts of mob violence to a film that had been available on the Internet for months. More to the point is that the “day of rage” was set for the anniversary of al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America.

Recent violence in the Muslim world reiterates the failure of President Obama’s obsequious outreach to the peoples of the Mideast. In June, the Pew Global Attitudes Project showed that between 2009 and 2012, confidence in Mr. Obama has declined in every region of the world they surveyed. His lowest ratings are in Muslim countries, where his approval is 24 percent and approval of his policies is a scant 15 percent. Mr. Obama can praise the religion of his fathers all he wants, but Muslims just don’t like him.

No amount of pandering to Islam or commiserating with Muslim mobs locked in their latest bout of faux outrage will stop tragedies like the Benghazi murders from happening. Radicals will always find a pretext for violence, whether literature like “The Satanic Verses,” Koran burnings, a cartoon or some innocent, offhand reference to Muhammad. The United States is a free country; at any given time, some American might do something hotheaded radicals can use to push their hateful agenda. What will happen when Islamists find out there is a bas-relief sculpture of Muhammad on the north frieze of the Supreme Court building? Demand it be taken down? With Shariah on the march, perhaps putting distance between the high court and Islam is a good idea.

The Washington Times

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