Remember the Mohamad cartoon controversy? Muslims around the world rioted when a Danish paper dared to publish cartoon depictions of the Prophet. As a quick review, pictures like these-...caused all of this-
-1000 protested in Afghanistan, leading to 6 deaths
-A man was killed in Beirut when he had to jump from the Danish consulate as it was torched
-5000 protested in Peshawar
-The government of Chechnya announced a travel ban for Danish citizens
-Iran cut all trading ties with Denmark, and shortly after that the Danish embassy in Iran was firebombed
-Saudi Arabia announces a boycott with Denmark and recalled its ambassador
-50,000 protest in Gaza
-Iran recalls its ambassador
A worldwide series of violent protests, stoked by fundamental Muslim leaders in the Middle East, over a series of cartoons.
And yet, over the last two weeks, these same Muslim leaders and the Arab media have been strangely silent as the Chinese government cracked down on ethnic Uighurs Muslims. At least 180 were killed, and hundreds more arrested. Chinese authorities even took the extraordinary step of closing area mosques on Friday, the Islamic holy day. The reaction from those same reactionary Middle East countries?
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has compared the situation to genocide. And Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, has said Muslim countries are concerned.Concerned? Since when have the leaders of Iran used calm diplomatic language to describe atrocities committed against Muslims? Why the lack of outrage?
Mohammed says the reason is this-
The conflicting reactions (to act or not to act) within the Muslim to these cases demonstrate the issue is not between a religion and its rivals but between systems; freedom and human rights on one side and totalitarian oppression actors on the other. The Uighrs are at a disadvantage because in their case the oppressive enemy, Government of China, happen to be an aligned with oppressive state and non-state actors in the Muslim world. This is why the regimes and media in Muslim countries have largely turned a blind eye to the Uighurs’ plight.So what was the Arab media focused on while the Uighurs were being oppressed?
A week or so ago, Egyptian Marwa Shirbini was killed in Germany by an individual representing rightwing extremists. The killer supposedly targeted Marwa because she was veiled. This story dominated headlines and comment forums in most Arab media outlets. This solitary case received unprecedented attention that overshadowed the death of hundreds of Muslims in China at the hands of “communist infidels”. Saudi Arabia did not summon the Chinese ambassador, nor did Iran lift a finger or utter a word to support those fellow Muslims in China. Nor even when Chinese authorities shut down mosques for Friday prayers did anyone representing the Muslim world condemn the order. By contrast, I have no doubt that if the United States banned Friday prayers in one mosque there would be shockwaves of anger and condemnation throughout the world, just like when Sarkozy said the chador is unwelcome in France.So the interesting lesson here is that fundamentalist Muslims protest violence against Muslims only at the hands of freedom loving countries. Dictatorships, Muslim or otherwise, seem to be exempt from criticism.
Which is why the isolated cases of abuse by US military forces (such as Abu Ghraib) and the never proven charges of abuse at Guantanamo create such dramatic stories in the Arab media, while actual Muslims being killed on the streets of Tehran are glossed over.