Today’s best reads on why Westerners deserve to die over editorial cartoons

Read all of both of these.

Rage Against the Western Machine
We’re at war. But only one side seems to get that.
By Claudia Rosett

This is more of the same rage that for years — decades, actually — has brought us parades of masked gunmen, along with bombings, beheadings, the murder of aid workers, tourists, and journalists, the assaults on resorts in Kenya and Bali, on the trains and subways of Madrid and London, on the weddings, funerals, and religious ceremonies of Israel and post-Baathist Iraq. This is more of the same rage — inspired one may presume by factors other than Danish political satire — that produced that act of war known as September 11.

With each step, we have looked for ways to defuse the anger by understanding the grievances. Bookshops have filled with volumes on the history of Islam, the wounded pride, the regional distinctions, the contending forces within Islam itself. Our political leaders, who have relatively little to say — and just as well — about Buddhism, Hinduism, or for that matter Animism, have taken to celebrating the end of Ramadan, invited Islamic moderates to their state dinner tables and told us over and over that Islam is a religion of peace. We have debated whether to describe those who deviate from this serene vision as Islamic radicals, Islamo-fascists, militant Islamists, or plain old evil-doers, terrorists, fascists, and thugs who happen to be Muslims.

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Strange New Respect
By Thomas Lifson

It is hard for us Westerners to understand the deep reverence so many overseas have for this man. He was, after all, human, not a god in the eyes of even his most devout believers. But his followers regard him as a special and different kind of human being, one whose life was a story of miracles and triumphs inexplicable in ordinary mortal terms, and a man who brought enlightenment and a vision of a perfect world to all of humanity.

Having created a comprehensive guide for all aspects of life for all time, his adherents venerate him with a passion that sometimes seems oddly fierce to those of us who are not believers. They feel a mixture of pity, anger, and contempt for those of us who have not yet understood the beauty, wisdom, and eternal truth of his message, and who dare to criticize his actions during his lifetime.

Sometimes, those of us who live in societies with a tradition of freedom of speech callously castigate his historic deeds and are tempted to regard him as brutal, cruel, and bloodthirsty toward his enemies. We note his history of aggression and his slaughter of those who dared oppose him during his lifetime.

Sometimes, a few such Westerners even dare to mock him. They cannot imagine the pain such outright insensitivity brings to those whose entire lives are organized around following his teachings. Where his doctrines have been codified into law, such behavior is punished very severely.

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