Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, February 10, 2006

Europe Ground Zero For Future Of Muslim-West Relations

Those who argue that European media erred in how they handled the Kartoonistan matter find strong support for their view in a Der Speigel interview with a leading European Muslim moderate, Tariq Ramadan.

Ramadan airs common complaints -- the media focus on the few, the loud, the radical that make interesting news, and ignore the masses of moderates; the totalitarian Islamic regimes exploit the West by whipping up Kartoonistan-style emotion orgies to keep their oppressed people from turning against them -- and he does it in the context of the condition of Muslims in Europe:
[W]hat we Muslims experience in Europe will have a tremendous impact on Islamic majority countries. We now have experience with living in democracy and living in free societies. But there is a danger.

If Muslims and Europeans, as equal citizens living together in a democracy, are not able to trust each other, if we are not able to talk to each other, if we are not able to come to a reasonable agreement about how to live together, we are sending a signal to Islamic majority countries that there is no way for Muslims and Westerners to trust each other.

We in Europe have a great, great, great responsibility. It's important that European citizens understand that if mutual knowledge and mutual respect are improved, then we are sending the signal that it is possible. Right now, though, we are sending exactly the opposite message.
It's an insightful interview and should make your reading list for today. [Thanks Matthew and Bookworm for catching my inadvertent pun, "inciteful."]