OPINION

Poor excuses in the clash of civilizations

Despite the blunders of the administration of George W. Bush and Washington’s attempt to export democracy in the Middle East, the war of civilizations has in fact been turned on its head. The «mad mullahs» want to export the Islamic revolution at any cost. Their god says they must impose their anti-modernist system on the world. One only has to look at the murder of Dutch director Theo van Gogh, the fatwas against authors and the turmoil over the publication of the Muhammad cartoons. After centuries of holy wars and despite its various shortcomings, the West has learned to tolerate different religions and their idiosyncrasies. The USA and Europe accept women wearing the chador and the burka. Although the Islamic code degrades women and has never been part of the Western tradition, people are free to wear what they want. Things are different in countries where Shariah law is implemented. Here even guests are forced to degrade themselves and follow the local dress standards. To be sure, people in the West would never burn down embassies if a foreign newspaper, for example an Afghani daily, published sketches of Jesus that some would find insulting. Two crimes are being committed in the Middle East at the moment. One is Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory (a crime according to the Western moral code). The other is the crimes by the Islamo-fascists who are merely using the Israeli occupation as an excuse. The first must be stopped because this is demanded by our own moral code – but we should shed hopes that ending one crime will also stop the other. Initial al-Qaida statements made no reference to the Palestine issue. Osama bin Laden’s ambition was to kick American missionaries out of Saudi Arabia. Then the Palestinian crisis was discovered as an example of «Western aggression» similar to the way dead children are now propped up for the television cameras in the wake of Israeli raids.