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Point of view: The Agents of Outrage | TIME


The deadly attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Egypt and Libya raise the question, Did the Arab Spring make the Middle East more dangerous?

Photo credit: AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: TIME | Middle East
By Bobby Ghosh | September 13, 2012

[Excerpt] 

The Egyptian government’s almost insouciant response, hardly in keeping with the country’s status as the second largest recipient of U.S. aid, will rankle both President Obama and his domestic critics. In the hours after the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi, Republicans piled on the President, questioning the wisdom of his outreach to Islamist political forces like the Brotherhood. Even political allies were moved to wonder whether Egypt could really be a reliable friend.

Morsy’s silence has been interpreted by Egyptian analysts as a reluctance to prod the Salafists, whose help he may need to get anything done in parliament. But other political figures were equally pusillanimous. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent liberal secular leader, tweeted, “Humanity can only live in harmony when sacred beliefs and the prophets are respected.” That kind of timidity empowers not only the Salafists but also instigators like Abdallah and his American counterparts.

For an understanding of what can happen when the industry of outrage is allowed to function without check, look at Pakistan, where hatemongers continually stoke anger not only against faraway foreigners but just as frequently — and with more deadly results — against their own people. Minorities like the Ahmadiyya sect are an easy target for extremist TV hosts like Aamir Liaquat Hussain, a former Minister of Religious Affairs. On his show broadcast by Geo TV in 2008, guest scholars declared the Ahmadiyyas “deserving to be murdered for blasphemy.” Soon after, two members of the sect were killed. Hussain was forced to apologize and leave Geo but has since returned to the station.

Other Pakistani provocateurs target the Shi‘ite community, which makes up 10% to 20% of the population. Militant groups with links to political parties as well as the country’s all-powerful military are frequently behind violent attacks against Shi‘ites. Criticism of such groups is often denounced by extremist preachers as blasphemy, which is punishable by death under Pakistani law.

When Salman Taseer, the governor of the country’s largest province and an outspoken critic of the blasphemy law, was killed by his bodyguard last year, the murderer was declared a hero by many. Munir Ahmed Shakir, the influential imam of Karachi’s giant Sultan Mosque, is just one of many who have pronounced as “non-Muslims” all those seeking to amend the blasphemy laws.

 —  Follow author on Twitter: @ghoshworld
 —  Courtesy: Nusrat Qadir

Read original post here: Point of view: The Agents of Outrage

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