The Times has shown predictable, though loathsome, cowardice in pandering to the radical Muslims vis a vis the Danish cartoon issue. As we all know by now, the Times decided to not reprint the cartoons out of respect for Islam. Of course, they then went on to reprint a photo of the infamous work consisting of a bastardized version of the Virgin Mary, covered in elephant shit, out of disrespect for Christianity.
So while today's editorial is not surprising, it is amusing in the way that the Times' editors show no hesitation in demanding that others take the risks that the Times refused to take. Here's the editorial:
February 25, 2006
Silenced by Islamist Rage
With every new riot over the Danish cartoons, it becomes clearer that the protests are no longer about the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, but about the demagoguery of Islamic extremists. The demonstrators are undeniably outraged by what they perceive as blasphemy. But radical Islamists are trying to harness that indignation to their political goals and their theocratic ends by fomenting hatred for the West and for moderate regimes in the Muslim world. These are dangerous games, and they require the most resolute response.
It is not the West that is most threatened in this crisis. The voices of moderation in the Muslim world are the ones that are being intimidated and silenced. Those few journalists and leaders who have spoken out against the rioting have been vilified and assailed, and even jailed. According to a report by Michael Slackman and Hassan M. Fattah in The New York Times, 11 journalists in five Islamic countries face prosecution for printing some of the Danish cartoons, even when their purpose was to condemn them.
In most of these cases, the legal action represents attempts by cowed authorities to appease the Islamists. But the effect in Yemen, Jordan and other countries has only been to give extremists a dollop of legitimacy, and to encourage them to turn up the heat. That, in turn, increases the perception of a "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West.
It is time for moderate Muslims to abandon the illusion that they can placate the Islamists by straddling the fence. It is they who must explain to their people that the cartoons were an isolated incident, and not the face of hostile crusaders. It is they who must make it clear to their people that blowing up mosques, beheading hostages and strapping on belts of explosives are far, far greater evils than a few drawings in a distant paper. They must do so because their future is at stake, not Denmark's.
Incredible, isn't it? The Times cowered in the face of radical Islam, going along with the terrorists' agenda of silencing anyone who would dare question Islam, yet the editors now tell the so-called "moderate" Muslims to confront the very radicals that the Times fears so much that it gives up its right of free speech.
Perhaps it would be better for the Times to lead by example, rather than by exhortation, and simply refuse to be silenced by the radical Muslims itself.
Of course, all of this is predicated on the belief that there really is a core of "moderate" Muslims. I'm not so sure they exist. If they do, where were they after 9/11? I didn't see any protests against the Islamic terror attacks on the United States. I didn't see them taking to the streets to protest the beheadings and other executions of Americans and other westerners.
As far as I can tell, the existence of "moderate" Muslims is a fiction created by the Times to avoid having to admit that Islam itself is religion of extremism.