Christopher Hitchens has taken a brief break from being an apologist for the Bush administration's Iraq war, and penned a powerful piece about the Islamic world's violent reaction to a series of Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammad. It's nice to see the old contrarian back in fine form, and his take on the subject is one I wholly endorse.
Click here to read Hitchens' column.
BTW, European governments continue to shrink in fear from the wrath of extremist Muslims -- as does the U.S. government. The Bush administration issued this rather disturbing statement:
"Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images, as anti-Christian images, or any other religious belief."
As Hitchens points out, not only does this equate religious criticism with racism, it also completely abrogates the concept of freedom of speech. Our government (and its equally cowardly European counterparts) wants to muzzle any speech critical of certain religions. Is this political correctness taken to its illogical extreme, or is it simply fear of how offended religious fanatics might react? Given how un-PC the Bush administration usually is, I think it's cowardice, a sign of how afraid our weak-willed leaders truly are of reactionary extremists. (And Muslim extremists are even more extreme than their Christian or Jewish brethren; does anyone remember the fatwa issued when Salman Rushdie published The Satanic Verses?)
It's time for religious moderates of all stripes to stand up to these vocal and violent extremists. Religious fervor, in the wrong hands, can be a very dangerous thing.
But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.