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Off with your head if you offend the Arab world

Monday, 17 September, 2012

For many Australians these demands for capital punishment of the most drastic kind must have come as a shock, especially since the last execution Down Under took place in 1967, and that was the state-sanctioned hanging of Ronald Ryan. His crime was not that of insulting any prophet, however. Instead, he had been found guilty of killing a prison officer during an escape from Pentridge Prison in Victoria.

Off with their heads! How did it come to this? Luckily for us, Fouad Ajami, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is well positioned to tackle the issue and he rose to the task in yesterday’s Washington Post in an article that asked, “Why is the Arab world so easily offended?” Snippets:

“A vast chasm separates the poor standing of Arabs in the world today from their history of greatness. In this context, their injured pride is easy to understand…

…The coming of the West to their world brought superior military, administrative and intellectual achievement into their midst — and the outsiders were unsparing in their judgments. They belittled the military prowess of the Arabs, and they were scandalized by the traditional treatment of women and the separation of the sexes that crippled Arab society…

…The ambivalence toward modernity that torments Muslims is unlikely to abate. The temptations of the West have alienated a younger generation from its elders. Men and women insist that they revere the faith as they seek to break out of its restrictions.”

Tragically, for them and us, the Arab rage against the modern and the senseless hatred of freedom, with all its rewards and perils, is unlikely to abate. Fouad Ajami is particularly astute about the “Dish cities” in the Muslim diasporas of Western Europe and North America. “You can live in Stockholm and be sustained by a diet of al-Jazeera television,” he notes and there can be little doubt that this diet is an extremely unhealthy one.


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