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Not all Muslims are extremists

Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism

Submitted by Aidan Maconachy (Canada), Feb 11, 2006 at 23:07

I read with interest some of the comments on this thread relating to this cartoon affair, and I was disappointed to find a lot of generalizations about Muslims. Islam is not a monolithic entity and it is a mistake to see it in this context, because you risk losing the diversity that characterizes Islam - especially with respect to its regional characteristics.

Many Muslims in the West are second and third generation European or American, and have adapted to the secular ways of Western society. These demonstrations over the cartoons represented a radical core and those who wished to peacefully protest. The majority of Muslims in the UK were not burning flags or attacking embassies. In fact some who I spoke with online were frankly embarrassed by the global displays of rage that followed revelations about the cartoons.

The cartoons by these Danish artists had been around for some time, and even though some in the Danish Islamic community were aware of them, the drawings did not stir up any major opposition. It was only when radical Muslims became involved and decided to show the cartoons to Muslim leaders in the Middle East that the fire storm ignited.

It is crucially important to recognize these disinctions, otherwise we risk demonizing an entire people.


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