I heard and read about the recent demonstrations by the Muslim communities in Europe and the Middle East.
What is stirring up the controversy? Abuses at Abu Grahib? High unemployment and racism in Paris? The rising civilian death toll in Iraq?
Nope. All of the recent protests and outrage are the result of a Danish editorial cartoon. The cartoon depicts the Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban with a fuse attached, as if it were a bomb. The caricature was picked up and published by several newspapers throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Of course any reasonable Muslim would be offended, just as Christians are offended when Jesus is depicted in unflattering caricatures.
But the reactions in Europe and the middle east are, how shall I say, extreme. For example, according to the Associated Press, 150 demonstrators in Indonesia hurled eggs at the building housing the Danish Embassy, then stormed in, pushing past security guards.
The problem is that all of this outrage is misplaced. The editorial cartoon is the reflection of a world view that has developed as a result of the actions of extreme element of the religion.
There should be outrage by Muslims, but is should be directed inward (in-rage?) toward the people in their religion who adopt violent and terroristic tactics, thus undermining the message of peace, love and understanding from mainstream Muslims.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top Shiite cleric in Iraq, hit the nail near the head when he said the militant Muslims bore part of the blame for distorting Islam's image.
According to the AP, he referred to "misguided and oppressive" segments of the Muslim community and said their actions "projected a distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love and brotherhood."
What I would like to see is a call by the Muslim leadership, both abroad and in the U.S., for large demonstrations to denounce the militant edges of the Islam. That would go much farther than burning a Danish flag.