WELL, HELLO TOM – AT 8:37 A.M. ET: It isn't often that we quote approvingly an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. The paper – on which I labored many years ago – has become hopelessly left-wing, and its editorial pages are a journalistic disgrace – strident, sometimes bigoted, usually shallow.
So we note with pleasant surprise a new column by Tom Friedman, who may be realizing that the party-line clowns around him are making a mockery of a once-great newspaper. Friedman, with unusual bluntless, and without the Times's pro-forma attack on Israel, takes on the hypocrisy of the Muslim world. It's worth reading:
On Monday, David D. Kirkpatrick, the Cairo bureau chief for The Times, quoted one of the Egyptian demonstrators outside the American Embassy, Khaled Ali, as justifying last week’s violent protests by declaring: “We never insult any prophet — not Moses, not Jesus — so why can’t we demand that Muhammad be respected?” Mr. Ali, a 39-year-old textile worker, was holding up a handwritten sign in English that read: “Shut Up America.” “Obama is the president, so he should have to apologize!”
I read several such comments from the rioters in the press last week, and I have a big problem with them. I don’t like to see anyone’s faith insulted, but we need to make two things very clear — more clear than President Obama’s team has made them. One is that an insult — even one as stupid and ugly as the anti-Islam video on YouTube that started all of this — does not entitle people to go out and attack embassies and kill innocent diplomats. That is not how a proper self-governing people behave. There is no excuse for it. It is shameful. And, second, before demanding an apology from our president, Mr. Ali and the young Egyptians, Tunisians, Libyans, Yemenis, Pakistanis, Afghans and Sudanese who have been taking to the streets might want to look in the mirror — or just turn on their own televisions. They might want to look at the chauvinistic bile that is pumped out by some of their own media — on satellite television stations and Web sites or sold in sidewalk bookstores outside of mosques — insulting Shiites, Jews, Christians, Sufis and anyone else who is not a Sunni, or fundamentalist, Muslim. There are people in their countries for whom hating “the other” has become a source of identity and a collective excuse for failing to realize their own potential.
COMMENT: Very well said. And Friedman provides the meat – giving examples of the vile stuff published in the Muslim world every day. And his source, praise to Tom, is the Israeli organization MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute), which provides superb translations from Arabic every day. They give us not only the ugly from the Arab world, but the thoughtful and positive.
This is the best column on the recent attacks that I've read.
September 19, 2012