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February 11, 2006

Clash of Civilizations or Canard?

Today's WSJ has a lead editorial discussing the larger context for the "Toon Wars" roiling the Muslim world. (Links: for WSJ subscribers | temporary (until 2/19/06) | local copy) They argue that the conflict is not -- as many would have it -- a conflict between civilizations, but rather a conflict within the Islamic world between authoritarian dictatorships using religious extremism to protect their power and the forces for democratic reform. In their view, the fulminating demonstrators calling for the heads of anyone who disrespects Islam are not representative of the Muslim majority. However, the "silent majority" of Islamic moderates is effectively repressed by the mukhabarat states that control all political expression in their societies.

I don't know if they are correct or merely being pollyannaish. But it is clear that these demonstrations and violent protests are being orchestrated by repressive regimes in Iran, Syria and Egypt, with the willing connivance of the Arab media.

February 11, 2006 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

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