Breaking news two weeks ago was that a $100,000 bounty is being offered for the head of the producer of "Innocence of Muslims". Tom Hussain reported in the Telegraph that the federal minister for railways, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, told a press conference in the northern city of Peshawar, where the worst of Friday's riots took place, that "Whomsoever can kill the blasphemer will be covered in dollar bills by me". Apparently, he was speaking personally and putting the money up himself.
This came on the heals of news of the new violence in Libya and further violence in Pakistan. The firestorm was originally lit by the controversial anti-Islam film trailer “Innocence of Muslims” thought to have been written and produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, using the pseudonym of "Sam Bacile". Videos of the trailer dubbed in the Arabic language were apparently uploaded during early September 2012 and were redistributed by Morris Sadek, a Coptic Egyptian-American blogger.
This week, we have witnessed the back and forth of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in dueling speeches at the United Nations. All of it ratching up the rhetoric and the symbolism. Although Bibi's "bomb" diagram was rather cartoonish, it still amounts to drawing a line in the sand, so to speak. In this case, a "red line" and in my estimation it shall be red from the blood these two men seek to spill of their own men, women and children in Israel and Iran; in the lands of God.
Osama's hand is reaching from his watery grave! He is smiling out on the fierce battles and killing we are witnessing overseas. He would like the instability, and the foment of words and ill feelings, running together in rivers of hate and trailing into pools of blood. May the Gods have mercy on all of us and calm things down? Is this another test for America? Indeed, for the global community too?
The Benghazi, Libya violence appears to be a backlash in support of the United States against extremists there thought to be behind the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. The Pakistani violence comes despite an ad on Pakistani TV featuring President Obama and Secretary of State who denounce the video. The video and its creators are just a couple of the current torches burning for Osama bin Laden and a living testament to his goals to incite religious war; pitting Christians against Muslims. The flames have spread to pockets of the globe far and wide as so deftly reported by Nina Rai in her recent post. This is a ruse when the real war is actually extremists and terrorists against the multi-denominational civilized world.
Whoever is behind this video is working with mal intent, and looking to light the fuse of a powder keg, in a giant cauldron of rocket fuel. As many already know, the video intentionally makes a mockery of, and pours ridicule and scorn on, the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. It seems intentionally placed for the destructive impact. Right in front of those who are most insulted and maddened to violence by it; and it's as if the perpetrators are rubbing their noses in it too, to get things going.
I fear we may be on the brink of an expanding, possibly explosive, religious war. As I said earlier, Osama's finger prints are on this; right from his watery grave. He is smiling, despite the barometric pressure many leagues beneath the sea. His hate lingers with us here; regardless of his death. We risk inadvertently succumbing to it, being enveloped by it and joining Osama in a religious war like the Dark Ages except with mass media, and more massive weapons.
America heightens its own danger by replying with a “no apologies”, no consideration, and a just “stand your ground” mentality. Shoot, reload, shoot again and then aim. Perhaps this is a test coming in the heat of this election season in America; or a reminder, or even a clarion call!
A call to remember America still fights the real and present danger of not just ghost of Osama bin Laden, but of the hate he fomented and the seeds of war he planted in his infernal lifetime. His followers, his pretenders, and those who seek to harm the United States or other countries and their people need to be repelled; nay headed off at the path. With means that are more than the conventional ones; not solely with a blind brute force and firepower reply.
The real enemies are the terrorists and the radical extremists of all religious persuasions. Osama simply brought the ragtag bands of ne'er do wells into a loving fold of hate and aggression. Yet; there are also the accomplices, the willing and gullible and naive. I would refer to Rush Limbaugh as a prime example. These are those easy to say an eye for an eye, the ignorant, the bellicose, the opportunists looking for ways to politically or socially exploit religious divides. To exploit the lack of trust and understanding between the peoples of the world's great religions, including the Christians and Muslims. We know who these people are; people like , the Pastor of Dove World Outreach Centre, in Florida. This man or the people behind this Innocence of Muslims Project seems another.
Perhaps the biggest enemy and the greatest risk lies in ignorance and fear. Ignorance leads to stupid actions by people who actually formally represent the United States. There is more than one case of desecration of the Koran by people who serve in the forces. These people maybe did not understand the repercussions of their actions, but the damage was done. Ignorance has a cost. Fear can cause people to behave with prejudice and disrespect. It can also cause over blown reactions. Such as we are seeing by the Muslim crowds now in Libya and Pakistan and indeed other parts of the world, and such as we saw on a more limited scale in the United States following 9/11. Actions against Muslims, and people thought to be Muslim, but who were actually Sheiks etc. It also happened to the Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians in the Second World War.
The defensive weapons for fighting back include a vigorous physical defence but sharply focused against defined enemies; being principally armed terrorists. Drones, CIA, FBI etc. are the weapons. Physically protecting Americans at home and abroad with troops and physical and safety barriers and safe houses. Another is separation of church and state, which is a topic the needs a separate article to do it justice.
The offensive weapon, is to not be offensive. It is to stamp out ignorance, it is to take cool and careful consideration before speaking, and before acting. To thereby stamp out prejudice and replace it with warmth and mutual respect. This is not for the terrorists and such of course; it is for real people; whether they happen to be Muslims, Christians or other denominations, or atheists or agnostics for that matter. In short for all good people; the vast majority of humanity on the face of the earth. We are mostly made of the same stuff with the same basic goals in life and we must build common bonds in our humanity, with mutual respect, and mutual understanding.
Osama bin Laden would love to see, as the fruit of his life's efforts, a full-blown religious war. With Americans dying in droves, American Embassies in flames; and her people at each others throats about it. Of late, some Americans and others abroad, have poured fuel on this hateful Osama-flame. I say that some people have already fallen precisely into Osama's trap of fomenting global religious war.
America needs leadership that understands this and can drive an agenda that refuses this game and douses this flame. That has the skills to build the bridges between peoples, rather than focusing solely on armies that separate and annihilate them. This requires not only the investment in and wise use of force, and power, but its surgical and careful use, coupled with intelligent and thougthful diplomacy. And sometimes, yes sometimes, at the right time; an apology. When it is honestly owed.
I say to those who call America's current leadership “apologist” for sympathizing with the Muslim people against the ignoramuses at best, or terrorists, at worst who created this hateful film, that they are wrong. On two counts; one, sympathy is not an apology, it is the understanding of some one else's view. Who would not be upset if their most sacred religious persona is wilfully and thoroughly desecrated and their nose rubbed in it? And two, realizing and acknowledging this is not traitorous or apologist. It is simply being human and helpful to express understanding of their good religion's importance to them. Just as ours is important to us; yours to you and mine to me. This will reduce the Osama-flame and then extinguish it.
Muslim people and the Muslim religion did not kill Ambassador Stephens and the others who have so tragically died. The killers were the militants and terrorists; and the rabble rousing crowd; fueled by Osama's flaming hate. And the people that started and enabled that, are the makers of that sorry video.
Some who read this may say, well these people, whoever they are, have a right to free speech in this country. I say, yes they do have that right; yet with this right also comes responsibilities. In this case, particularly grave ones.
I believe that free speech is never “free”. What you say has consequences, good and bad. You must take responsibility, here and now to your fellow man, and ultimately later too, to your maker wherever she may be.
So it is critical to vote in this election. There is much at stake. And Lord knows America can't afford a mistake.