There is something really funny about Thomas Friedman’s latest column. He begins by citing a protester in Cairo, “We never insult any prophet — not Moses, not Jesus — so why can’t we demand that Muhammad be respected?”
Well, Thomas Friedman has a problem with that. Here goes:
[W]e 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.
Mind your manners, Muslims! says, Friedman. That should do it.
Friedman then goes on to list a number of statements made by Muslims who are hot about Christians and Jews. It is the normal kind of rhetoric associated with religion. You can find plenty along the same lines in America if you know where to look.
But where to even begin? The very expression used by the Cairo protestor just demanding a little respect itself assumed that Islam is the one true religion. It isn’t, as Friedman treats it, a kind of longing for Western-style indifference to religion.
And how exactly do we “make clear” what foreign Muslims should think and feel about YouTube videos? How do they absorb this lesson from us? What kind of imperialism works on hearts and minds?
Lamely the only suggestion he arrives at is this: “Our president and major newspapers consistently condemn hate speech against other religions. How about yours?”
Translate that: Our press and president are modern American liberals. Why aren’t yours the same?
I wonder if Friedman felt any better after that whining session.