When people are indoctrinated to believe that certain dimensions of religion are off-limits to questions, it doesn’t take much to incite violence — or to withhold forgiveness. In the Nigerian case, even though the offending newspaper apologised three times, Muslim protesters set its offices ablaze. Weeks earlier, the same columnist had scolded Christians and invoked the name of Christ along the way. Nobody died.
Muslims worldwide are organising demonstrations for the end of this month against those who insult Islam. They will peacefully protest against not just the possibility of the Koran’s desecration at Guantanamo, but also proven torture at Abu Ghraib and civil rights violations suffered by Muslims in the United States. They have every right to condemn these injuries.
Will they also speak out against the bloody, fiery riots that, in the name of honouring Islam, are killing an increasing number of Muslims and non-Muslims? It’s a question worth asking.