If They Can’t Handle a Cartoon

by James Glaser
February 9, 2006

If Muslims in the Middle East can not handle a satiric cartoon about their religion, how can we expect them to handle something as complex as democracy?

George Bush and most politicians in Washington keep talking about bringing democracy to the Middle East, and they believe that some how that will bring freedom with it. The people in the Middle East are not ready for freedom, because they do not understand the concept.

Not only have these people been under the thumb of one ruler or another their whole life, but their Islamic religion is filled with hard and fast rules that must be obeyed from birth to death, in order to attain paradise.

Sure we can go over there and defeat one dictator or another and hold elections. We can then tell the Muslim people that they are free now, but these people still don't get it. The people in the Middle East were not thirsting for freedom. Heck, I don't think they understand the concept. The people of Iraq and Afghanistan were not begging us to attack their countries so we could set them free. George Bush chose to do that.

These people need a bit of education and time to understand what we are trying to do for them, and even if they do attain secular freedom, the Islamic religion is still going to control their life. Even when they get the vote, they still want to be ruled by their church law.

We can tell the world that we are bringing freedom to the people of the Middle East, but we have to ask ourselves if that is what these people want. Separation of church and state is not working for these people. Their religion is so intertwined with their daily life, that even a cartoon can upset whole nations. Muslims are dying because they feel their religion was insulted with a cartoon. The Muslim people do not understand that people are free to say what they want and draw what they want. In the land of blood feuds and honor killings, freedom doesn't mean that much.

We have to understand that the people of the Middle East are not like us. Their value system, their belief system, and their culture are nothing like what we have here in the West, and just maybe our way of government and our concept of freedom will not transfer to that part of the world, at least right now.

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