Saturday, September 16, 2006

Letter to the Palestinians who firebombed two churches in the West Bank because they were angered by a perceived insult by the Pope:

Dear Muslim neighbors,

During the Israel-Hezballah war over the summer, I'm sure you called Israel's actions disproportionate. Maybe they were, and maybe they weren't, but as long as we're on the topic, want to give you a tip about proportionality.

If the leader of another religion, say, the Pope, verbally offends your religious sensibilities by, say, quoting an anti-Muslim Byzantine Emperor in the context of a broader speech to academics, there are many proportionate ways to respond.

You could, for example, have your own religious leaders issue statements of condemnation to the Pope and to the press.

You could schedule meetings with Catholic leaders to make sure they understand how offended you are.

You could approach the religious leaders of your local churches in the West Bank and request that they publicly distance themselves from the insulting words.

And if you are really, really offended, you could stage mass protests in which hundreds or thousands of people demand that the Pope apologize.

See, among rational, mature human beings, a verbal attack produces a verbal response.

But, if you are going to get upset because in a very indirect way someone called your religion "inhuman," or you thought that he did, then firebombing places of worship is not a great way to go. Because, see, firebombing places of worship because someone called you names is a pretty animalistic thing to do. Pretty inhuman, you know.

Yeah, I just compared you (not all Muslims, just you and your friends) to animals. So what are you going to do now? Condemn my blog? Or firebomb a synagogue on another continent?

If you want anyone to take you, Islam, Muslims, and/or Palestinians seriously, I recommend that you take a chill pill. Because starting riots or setting fire to churches when someone has hurt your feelings is not cool.


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