A headline at Tom Dispatch reads Where Did All the Fatwas Go? James Carroll, author of House of War, an extraordinary history of the Pentagon, and a new book, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, writes of the recent Arab uprisings:
. . . jihadists who think nothing of slaughtering innocents in the name of Allah have been nowhere in sight, as millions of ordinary Arabs launched demonstration after demonstration with a non-violent discipline worthy of Mohandas Gandhi. True, rebels in Libya took up arms, but defensively, in order to throw back the murderous assaults of Muammar Qaddafi’s men. . . . The demonizing of Israel, anti-Semitic sloganeering . . . all have been absent from nearly every instance of revolt. . . . Perhaps the two biggest surprises of all here: out of a culture that has notoriously disempowered women has sprung a protest movement rife with female leadership, while a religion regarded as inherently incompatible with democratic ideals has been the context from which comes an unprecedented outbreak of democratic hope.
So what? The movement is secular, right? Carroll:
It’s an irony, then, that Western journalists, always so quick to tie bad Muslim behavior to religion, have rushed to term this good Muslim behavior “secular.” In a word wielded by the New York Times, Islam is now considered little but an “afterthought” to the revolution. In this, the media is simply wrong. The protests, demonstrations, and uprisings that have swept across the Middle East have visibly built their foundations on the irreducible sense of self-worth that, for believers, comes from a felt closeness to God.
Curses. Muslims are taking all the fun out of hating them. Still, for those of us who insist on scapegoating somebody, there’s always that old standby, Mexicans.