I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the Cartoon War, and I’ve been thinking about other times the Muslim Street has shown this much spunk. And I think I see a common thread.
1) The Koran In A Toilet story, as dispersed by Newsweek. Wholescale riots swept the world, with demands for apologies and that the offending parties be turned over to Islamic courts for trial.
2) The infamous UK Burger King Ice Cream Lid incident. Burger King sold some ice cream with a lid that featured a stylized drawing of an ice cream cone. Because if you rotated the lid 90 degrees, it had a vague resemblance to the name “Allah” in Arabic, British Muslims were outraged. BK apologized and withdrew the lids.
3) The Muslim obsession with the foot as unclean has led to some interesting stories. For example, I recall one account of a sneaker whose tread left a mark resembling the word Allah that got some Muslims incensed. Or Nike recalling a bunch of shoes because the stylized flames on the toes resembled Allah’s name.
4) Back in 1992, Yokohama had to recall a bunch of tires whose tread — designed to improve traction — also seemed to resemble the name of Allah.
What do all these incidents have in common?
They all provoked outrage over insults that were never intended as such, or incidents that simply didn’t happen.
The most offensive cartoons, the ones that have the rioters most riled up, were never published in the Danish newspapers. In fact, the current line of thought is that they were commissioned by the very same Danish Imams who took the news of the “blasphemy” to the Middle East in the first place.
The Koran in the toilet incident never happened. It was utterly shabby reporting by Newsweek, debunked by anyone who actually thought about the physics involved in flushing a book down a toilet. To use a metaphor from another holy book, it’d be like trying to get a camel through the eye of a needle.
The Burger King logo had only the vaguest resemblance to the Arabic script. That whole incident was less about religion than power — the protesters were wondering how far they could push a huge conglomerate like Burger King, and the answer was “pretty far.”
The shoe incident? Again, much ado about nothing. The resemblance is a little more precise, but it’s STILL a huge silliness.
The Yokohama incident? Again, sheer hype.
So, let’s see. We have a bunch of religious zealots who have a history of getting hysterical over fabrications, exaggerations, and outright lies. Who also tend to see conspiracies against them everywhere.
Is there anything more dangerous than a horde of paranoid, sociopathic whackjobs who will believe whatever they are told as long as it will further fuel their rage?
Yup. That same group, used to getting their own way if they kill enough people, burn enough buildings, and threaten death and destruction unless their demands are met.