This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.
At the United Nations on Tuesday, President Obama put it as clearly and well: Freedom isn’t just an American or Western value – it’s a universal value.
That’s the right response to the insanity that’s been raging through the Islamic world since a vulgar anti-Muslim video gave jihadists another opening to whip up anti-American anger.
The video was merely pretext. If it weren’t that, it would have been something else. The same rage has erupted time after time over cartoons and other insults to Muhammad or Islam. The spectacle is getting very, very old.
The Islamists’ dirty little secret is that their own clerics and other leaders have themselves been disseminating the attacks on Islam – by broadcasting them, posting them online, advertising them and otherwise amplifying them.
In fact, nearly all of the casualties – beyond the U.S. ambassador to Libya and several others – have been Muslims. On Friday alone, in Pakistan alone, anti-blasphemy riots left 19 dead and 160 injured. You would think that people with such self-proclaimed devotion to Islam would show more concern for common believers.
This is ultimately a power play. The murderous rampages intimidate the extremists’ political and religious opponents.
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