Please Offend Me
By Daniel Muniz
After decades of practicing political correctness, diversity training, tolerance, and multiculturalism, Western Europe is facing escalating confrontations with radical Islam. The result has been either violent altercations or living under the threat of violence. So how can Westerners expect to cope with the extremists of a religion that actually relishes the thought of chopping off your head for just about anything they deem offensive?
In fact, radical Muslims almost savor the confrontations. It is like they want to be offended so that they can have their demonstrations on television with the world watching them express their anger over perceived injustices. Overall, they want the publicity and worldwide coverage and unfortunately, the media happily obliges.
And this is nothing new.
The Carter administration faced the same problem with the hostages in the American embassy in Tehran Iran. The radical students who were holding our embassy personnel captive spent untold hours each day toiling around in boredom except when the press was ready to shoot footage. And then as if on cue, the students exploded in anger when the cameras were rolling. The media wanted to catch all the inflammatory epithets and incendiary invectives on tape but the moment that the story was over, the students resumed their wretched boredom.
The same thing is happening all over the world.
Whatever the offense may be (perceived or otherwise), Muslim extremists want the world to see their indignant anger about how they have been victimized by the West. And instead of reporting the news, the press gives us the sensationalism. The media has always loved extremes and Islamic fury fits the bill perfectly.
Not surprisingly, the extremists also love the Western press because of the worldwide coverage they can exploit. It is intoxicating to them when they see Westerners tremble in fear and governmental leaders acting like a dog with its tail between its legs.
As a result, the press and radical Islam are exploiting each other for their own benefit.
And its not as if most Muslims living outside the United States actually read Newsweek magazine or the New York Times newspaper to obtain their information. Instead, religious arsonists scour all the major media outlets in hopes of finding any tidbit of news to instigate another riot. Sometimes they can find it even in obscure settings like with a quote by Pope Benedict taken out of context that triggered global outrage even though it was a non-issue.
However, it doesnt matter if the anger gets out of hand in which someone gets murdered like Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh or an elderly nun in Somalia or the burning down of Christian churches. Apparently, Muslim outrage justifies any type of bad behavior regardless of who gets killed or what gets torched.
Simply put, these confrontations just show what the radical Islamist actually think about political correctness, diversity, tolerance, and multiculturalism.
So what is Europe going to do about this?
The first step is to recognize that there actually is a double standard. The extremists want to be offended from any grievance regardless if its yesterday or several hundred years ago. However, they dont want to be criticized for their own bad behavior. In fact, they consider such criticism to be offensive to them. Sadly, it is exactly this kind of hypocrisy, especially by the press, that allows the double standard to exist.
It is time for Europeans to put aside their political correctness and actually criticize the bad behavior of these radicals. And the press must be willing to actually report it in its entirety. For instance, Muslim extremists have a religious bigotry but hardly any of that discrimination ever gets reported in the news wires. Somehow, political correctness only allows for the condemnation of Americans and Europeans for their past misdeeds but it forbids being critical of everyone else. That nonsense has to stop.
The European and American media outlets have to be willing to show the complete perspective of the Muslim extremists instead of just broadcasting the sensationalism. The press and popular culture has absolutely no problem bashing Christianity and criticizing Western society and history but they are reluctant to mete out any harsh criticism towards the adherents of radical Islam even though it is enveloped with plenty of bigotry and hatred. If you dont believe me, then tell me what will happen if a Muslim in an Islamic country converts to another religion.
Incidentally, radical Muslims want to have it both ways in that they want to continue with their worldwide threats and violence yet they are offended if they are criticized for it. Westerners are not fearful of their ideas but they are scared of their threats. As a result, fear and panic is what the radicals have gained and they will continue to exploit that. Personal liberties and freedoms in Europe have already begun to erode because of that fear and it wont be long until a certain defining moment occurs as is the case of the 9-11 tragedy in America.
And finally, the press needs to ditch their sensationalism. Yes, they love footage of angry Muslims trashing America and Europe but they also need to bring attention to the Muslims who deplore violence and desire peaceful coexistence. Muslim anger is simply one facet instead of being the only one. There are plenty of Muslims of goodwill who do not agree with the Islamic radicals but the media doesnt care about them because it is not part of the extremes that they like to show on television.
That is a huge mistake on the part of the press. It is time to balance the perspective and hear the voices of the Muslims who oppose the radicals. And yes, there are plenty of them but we dont hear much of what they say because the media isnt paying attention. That is unfortunate because only these peaceful Muslims can topple the aims of the radicals.
Overall, the Muslim extremists have an inherent desire for Western societies to someday abdicate their personal freedoms and liberties so that a strict form of Islam can eventually be imposed on Europe. That objective will never be accomplished but unless Westerners begin to address the problem now, more bloodshed and terror will begin to occur on a frequent basis until it is properly dealt with.