Thursday, June 3, 2010

To give offense - or not?

While Westerners are falling all over themselves to censor cartoons and anything else that any Muslim anywhere on the globe might deem offensive, two TV broadcasts to the Muslim world are fearlessly exposing controversial Islamic texts.

Raymond Ibrahim explains that Life TV, an evangelical Arabic satellite station, has two weekly programs, one hosted by Coptic priest Fr. Zakaria Botros, the other by ex-Muslim Rashid. Both programs ask uncomfortable questions about Islam and Mohammed; a number of Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, ban the station and it is frequently condemned on al Jazeera.

The broadcasts, which are viewed by millions of Arabic-speaking Muslims, caused an uproar at the start; Al Qaeda put a $60 million bounty on Zarakia's head. Life TV responded by providing even more anecdotes discrediting Mohammed. So how is all this being received? "Needless to say, Life TV's hosts ... are hated by Muslims around the world. But to the careful observer, the outrage appears to be subsiding, ostensibly replaced by apathy - that is, the default strategy when threats and displays of indignation fail."

Ibrahim concludes that "one need not agree with Life TV's tactics or evangelical mission to appreciate the lesson it imparts: Muslim outrage - as with all human outrage - is predicated on how well it is tolerated. Continuously appeased, it becomes engorged and insistent on more concessions; ignored, it deflates and, ashamed of itself, withers away."

Too bad no one pays any attention to these guys.

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