Saturday, February 04, 2006

Losing control

If there is a culture war right now, it is between Western and Islamic values.
Thousands of Syrians enraged by caricatures of Islam's revered prophet torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus on Saturday - the most violent in days of furious protests by Muslims in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

In Gaza, Palestinians marched through the streets, storming European buildings and burning German and Danish flags. Protesters smashed the windows of the German cultural center and threw stones at the European Commission building, police said.

Iraqis rallying by the hundreds demanded an apology from the European Union, and the leader of the Palestinian group Hamas called the cartoons "an unforgivable insult" that merited punishment by death.

Pakistan summoned the envoys of nine Western countries in protest, and even Europeans took to the streets in Denmark and Britain to voice their anger.

I think the Islamic world is much more aware of the clash of values than the West-or less willingly ignorant of it. Ignoring it won't make it go away, though.

Even as politically correct as some areas of the West have become, free speech is still a cherished idea, placed on a pedestal. Westerners have developed a thick skin to that which can be considered blasphemous, even the faithful. Yes, blasphemous images may anger religious Westerners, but free speech is so culturally ingrained that violence is a taboo response to such things. In the Islamic world, the only values that matter are those of the Koran, and there is no such taboo against violence. The two cultures are not easily compatible, and we are going to see more and more of this. If we really do cherish our Western values, we are going to have no choice but to stand up for them.

Further Reading
Mark Noonan at Blogs for Bush has some very sensible words on this topic in an update to this post. I will make a clarifying statement in regards to the post above. The fact that our two cultures are colliding does not mean that one or the other must go. We (the West) does risk fading out in the face of this collision if we do not stand up for our values. It is not an either or (Islamic v. Western values) proposition, but it will be if we give up our values for accomodation.

Christopher Hitchens
Hugh Hewitt
Michelle Malkin
Marquette Warrior
Right Wing News
Captain's Quarters

Final Word
On the surface, this all seems silly-so much being made of some bad cartoons. It is a very important battleground of ideas, though, and needs to be taken seriously as such.

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