Saturday, 22 September 2012

'Muslim rage'

Avaaz has put up a charming sequence of pictures to counteract Newsweek's inflammatory front page, showing ordinary Muslims going about their daily work and play. It is important to remember that the number of violent protesters is very small. However, that does not mean that most Muslims are indifferent to Western attitudes; on the contrary, quiet resentment is very common, and has been ever since 1959, when I first visited an Arab country. The question I have been asked over and over again is 'Why can't you treat us as equals?' For fourteen centuries Christians have looked down on Muslims and disparaged their Prophet, and now atheists do the same. This leaves them with a deep sense of injustice, and they point out that they revere Jesus and the Jewish prophets and that they accept Christians and Jews as 'People of the Book'. In one respect they are more Christian than most Christians, for they accept the story of the Virgin Birth as literally true. A peaceful future can only be built on mutual respect between all cultures.

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