In the wake of the al-Qaeda attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, the seizure of the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and the ensuing anti-American protests and riots throughout the Middle East—the latter ostensibly over an anti-Islam YouTube film trailer that originated in the U.S. months earlier—what do Middle East scholars have to say about the turmoil in the region?The article in Front Page, which I don't really visit frequently, does a laudable job of mostly refraining from comments. And the comments are really unnecessary. Read this collection of gems in its entirety, I will copy just two examples:
John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University:
Indeed, it’s important to remember that, for Muslims, Mohammed is the ideal Muslim, as it was. He’s the living Quran. You know, he’s the model, you know. And so to go after him, OK, is to be the ultimate form, you know, the ultimate form of disrespect. It would be the ultimate blasphemy. . . . I think there’s a recognition of the freedom of speech, but you know, you still get into freedom of speech and then what are the consequences of it? . . . And so what you really have is a situation where this belongs to the genre of Islam-aphobia, which is just like [sic] anti-Semitic.
As’ad AbuKhalil, professor of political science, California State University, Stanislaus:
U.S. officials have been really insulting my intelligence all week with talk of the ‘freedom of speech’ that we have here in the U.S. that Muslims don’t understand. . . . They understand that the U.S. government has made it illegal for anyone to express support for Hamas and Hizbullah in the U.S. Muslim[s] do understand that the U.S. has banned TV channels [Hezbollah’s Al-Manar and Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV] from the U.S. because they deemed them offensive to Israel. . . . We remember that the Bush administration asked all U.S. news media after Sept. 11 to refrain from airing any Bin Laden tapes.