Drowning in a Bathtub

It’s been an interesting day on the personal responsibility front at the Beeb.

First, the coverage of the Koran burning protest protests:

President Hamid Karzai said the stunt had been an insult to Islam, while Indonesia’s president said it threatened world peace.

Who’s doing the violence? Who’s threatening world peace? The protesting Muslims. Sure, it’s provocative, but anyone protesting and turning to violence made a choice to do so. Since when are we all robots? Since when are we all victims?

Many of Friday’s protests in Afghanistan were held after worshippers emerged from mosques, following Eid prayers marking the end of Ramadan.

Demonstrators burned a US flag and chanted “Death to Christians”.

They want to kill all Christians because some are burning Korans (or rather, were going to burn them)? Who exactly is being extremist and provocative?

In an Eid message, President Karzai said: “We have heard that in the US, a pastor has decided to insult Korans. Now although we have heard that they are not doing this, we tell them they should not even think of it.

“By burning the Koran, they cannot harm it. The Koran is in the hearts and minds of one-and-a-half billion people. Insulting the Koran is an insult to nations.”

The president of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, warned in a nationally televised address on Friday that Mr Jones’s plan threatened world peace.

In a speech marking the end of Ramadan, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said: “I’m of course aware of the reported cancellation of the deplorable act by Terry Jones. However, none of us can be complacent until such a despicable idea is totally extinguished.”

They shouldn’t even think of it? The idea is problematic? In other words, we’re talking about thought-crime here. Even to consider it is evil.

Now compare this to the reaction of to the Manhattan mosque proposal. Do we have masses protesting and suggesting all Muslims should be killed? Are protesters suggesting that such thinking should be “extinguish”?

And just how are we going to extinguish these thoughts? The most radical way would be to extinguish the thinkers. Surely that’s not what these protesters are thinking. Islam is a religion of peace. They don’t make threats.

In a related story, American Muslims talk of being warned by imams to keep their Eid celebrations low key.

Members throughout the area are being advised to keep their celebrations low-key and private.

Keep a low profile. Don’t offend anyone. With America in the midst of a debate about the literal and figurative place of Islam in society, this seems to be a time for caution.

But not everyone is happy about that.

But with rows over where and when it’s acceptable to build a mosque, and with a pastor threatening to burn the Koran in Florida, some of the worshippers here sound frustrated.

“It’s none of their business.”

“I think they should understand that just like they celebrate Christmas every year, we celebrate our Eid after fasting for a month and praying,” says 15-year-old Mim Sharna.

I think that’s good advice for those suggesting violence in return for the Koran burning protest. America is a free country; it’s none of their business, silly and even offensive as it may be.

Yet lest anyone think I’m suggesting that this “oh, it’s not our fault; they made us do it!” mentality resides only in the Muslim community at the moment, the last quote, also from BBC:

An ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will resign from a top party post after suggesting that Poland may have been as responsible as Hitler for the outbreak of World War II.

Erika Steinbach said Poland had mobilised its troops months before the Nazis invaded in September 1939.

Poland was massing troops, see? We were afraid we were about to be attacked, see? We were worried our panzer divisions would be overrun by the Polish mounted cavalry, see? We weren’t totally responsible…

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