Enemies and allies
While it's heartening in a way to see so many right-wingers so outraged by an attack on free expression (does this mean they're finally going to stop trying to censor internet porn?), it's illogical to say that a crime is so heinous that it justifies punishing people who had nothing to do with it, or "holding them responsible", as Rupert Murdoch has notoriously demanded:
a good reply to this.) Even if they're peaceful they must be held responsible? What kind of sense does that make?
As long-time readers know, I yield to no one in my revulsion toward the Islamic religion, but this rhetoric is horrifying. An individual, in most cases, is much more than merely their religion. This habit of treating millions of people as a faceless mass and calling for collective punishment is a disgrace to the values of the secular West, and has to stop. By that logic, we should have punished all teabaggers after those gangs of lawless armed thugs threatened BLM officials during the Cliven Bundy incident.
Not only have Muslim leaders and institutions around the world condemned the Charlie Hebdo attack, but the Middle East itself has actually been turning against jihadism for several years, as the jihadists have become steadily more extreme and violent (don't forget that most people killed by jihadists have been other Middle Easterners). Sunni and Shiite extremists in Iraq have been blowing up each other's mosques for years, killing thousands, and then ISIS came along with its beheadings and slavery and massacres, and provoked such revulsion that the Kurds, Shiite Arabs, Iran, and recently even Sunni Arabs are collaborating to defeat it, even though that means also collaborating with the "infidel" West.
The Taliban had some sympathizers in Pakistan -- until the Peshawar school massacre, which seems to have united the country in a determination to eradicate the extremists.
Over the last decade, major terrorist attacks in Europe have grown rarer largely because of cooperation between police and Muslim communities, who often tip off the authorities when they get wind of something nasty being planned. (Those communities, never forget, are increasingly assimilating into mainstream European culture; one of the Charlie Hebdo staffers and one of the policemen who was killed responding to the attack were of Maghribi origin.)
Iranians have had the grinding dreariness of living under a theocracy for a third of a century and they're sick of it, having launched the largest mass street protests in history in 2009 and then elected a President who promised reform and reconciliation with the West.
(Something like that is happening here in the West too, of course. As gay people become more and more accepted by mainstream society, the fundamentalist hatred toward them seems ever more alien and repulsive to the average person. We are winning. We haven't won yet, but from Tehran to Texas, we are winning. Never forget that.)
People like Murdoch don't seem to be keeping up on current events other than those which are rubbed in all our faces every day by the MSM. Millions of Muslims are recognizing that jihadist cancer and fighting to destroy it. Huntingdon was wrong. I admit that his book intrigued me when it came out, and at the time it was a plausible scenario for how the post-Cold-War world might develop, but he was wrong. What's going on now is not a clash of civilizations. It's a clash in which one side consists of a relatively small assortment of violent fanatics, who have no "civilization" worthy of the name, and the other side consists of the broad mass of people and societies in both the West and the Middle East who have for years suffered increasingly insane atrocities at the hands of those violent fanatics and are now working together to defeat them.
That collaboration is an enormously valuable development. To revert to the discredited Huntingdon clash-of-civilizations world-view and indiscriminately treat all Muslims as the enemy would be the most disastrous move we could possibly make on the world stage right now.
[This post is partly adapted from comments I made here and here.]