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Anger in the Muslim world

As I make my way to the other side of the Wardroom to put my name on the pool board, I find myself in a conversation about the recent protests in the Muslim world. The conversation is fairly short, but there is one question that sticks with me: “Why is it that Muslims always have this reaction?”

It’s a Monday night and I’m in the Wardroom. Just relaxing, kicking back and chatting it up with a few familiar faces. As I make my way to the other side of the room to put my name on the pool board, I find myself in a conversation about the recent protests in the Muslim world. The conversation is fairly short, but there’s one question that sticks with me: “Why is it that Muslims always have this reaction?”
Before I go any further, let me explain. The protests I’m referring to are the ones that occurred in the Muslim world over a YouTube video titled “Innocence of Muslims.” This horribly-made short film resulted in many angry protests across the Middle East and other areas of the Muslim world. The US ambassador to Libya and three of his aides tragically died as a result of those demonstrations.
Now back to the question: why is it that Muslims always have this reaction? This question may be on a lot of people’s minds. Some ask it out of curiosity, and some may think it but are too careful not to say it out loud in fear of offending any neighbouring bystanders. I personally can’t answer that question. But I can tell you this: not all Muslims always have this reaction, which may be hard to believe with everything that has been posted online or shown on television. But that’s exactly how some of us may formulate our opinions, through what we read or see online, newspapers or television.
A little lesson they teach us in journalism when we first start is that you’re more likely to hear a story about “a man biting a dog than a dog biting a man.” It’s the same case here; we are always going to hear about an angry Muslim (or non-Westerners in general) who riots, protests and yells offensive and hateful remarks towards the West. But we’re never going to hear about the ones who wake up in the morning, pick up a grande Caramel Macchiatto, drive to work and come back to have supper with their family. If we take away the cultural barrier, we’ll find that a day in the life in the Muslim world is just as normal as ours. I’ve visited a few countries in the Muslim world and witnessed this first-hand. But we’re never going to be exposed to that, because who wants to hear about a Muslim family in Kuwait (or Egypt or Lebanon, etc.) who went to Pizza Hut and then made it home safely without any riots, protests or anger? That would be boring.
As for the individuals who released that low-budget short film, I will neither defend nor criticize their actions. I’ve just been curious about the way they thought about it. Sure, you’re free to do it, but what does it mean to do it? Even if the consequences might not hurt you directly, did you take time to think about the outcomes? Was there a bigger message that you were trying to draw attention to? Or was it just for the sake of provocation?
It’s pretty difficult not to sound biased towards one side or the other (especially with a name like Mohamed Hashem). However, I’m only trying to give you some food for thought. And as Jay-Z once said, “You do the dishes.”

By David J. Shuman

David is a second-year journalism student at King's, is engagement/news editor of The Watch, and a copy editor of The Pigeon. He writes on student politics, campus happenings, and school news. 

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