Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe writes about Islam:
This time it was a 14th-century quote from a Byzantine ruler that set off — or rather, was exploited by Islamist firebrands to ignite — the international demonstrations, death threats, and violence. Earlier this year it was cartoons about Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. Last year it was a Newsweek report, later debunked, that a Koran had been descecrated by a US interrogator in Guantanamo. Before that it was Jerry Falwell’s comment on “60 Minutes” that Mohammed was a “terrorist.” Back in 1989 it was the publication of Salman Rushdie’s satirical novel, “The Satanic Verses.”
In every case, the pretext for the Muslim rage was the claim that Islam had been insulted. Freedom of speech was irrelevant: While the rioters and those inciting them routinely insult Christianity, Judaism, and other religions, they demand that no one be allowed to denigrate Islam or its prophet. It is a staggering double standard, and too many in the West seem willing to go along with it. Witness the editorials in US newspapers this week scolding the pope for his speech. Recall the State Department’s condemnation of the Danish cartoons last winter.
Of course nobody’s faith should be gratuitously affronted. But the real insult to Islam is not a line from a papal speech or a cartoon about Mohammed. It is the violence, terror, and bloodshed that Islamist fanatics unleash in the name of their religion — and the unwillingness of most of the world’s Muslims to say or do anything to stop them.