Saturday, February 18, 2006

The 'bloody' cartoons encore et toujours ?

Each time I say to myself , 'ok that's the end of the story' , but no the ramifications of flames stirred by the Danish caricatures of prophet Muhammad seem to widen once more.

My best friend in the US wakes me up at 8 am Tripoli time "highlander is what Sandmonkey is saying true?" . Me "huh?" I'm still in bed ...Sandmonkey is not on my to do list at 8 am ...Ok I'm thinking in a haze of sleep and remnants of a nightmare in which my mother, a brother and one of his kids are on a bus on some kind of weird pilgrimmage in a country obviously under occupation, and I'm holding a vinyl record ( not CD) of the Pink Floyd album "The Wall" ( any dream interpreters out there?). "Well.." says my best friend " the Libyans seem to have burned the Italian embassy in Libya ? 10 dead". Silence from my side , I'm thinking to myself ..what at 8 am they already demonstrated and torched an embassy in Libya ? that was quick. I'm not registering any surprise really, I'm just wondering what happened ..the story was dying out, it had not been that much of a story here anyway on the street at least. Was someone mad at the provocative Italian minister T-shirt campaign ?I thought that guy's publicity stunt to gain exposure for his political career would stir trouble, yes, but not to go burn an embassy. Anyway, I'm still not thinking clearly and answer in monosyllables. Let me collect my thoughts and check the news. I went to bed last night and all was fine in my world. ..
Well true enough , BBC has Libya on its frontpage, and here I was hoping my country will have a low profile for a few days at least. Not a fat chance I guess. Before reading this I thought it was the embassy in Tripoli, so I told my friend I could go have a look later on in the day..but then I learned that it is the Italian consulate in Benghazi; that's over 1000 km far from Tripoli.

So for those who sent emails (1) yes it's true and it is all over the news here - I just was not watching it Friday night and went to bed before checking the news again , (2) thank you I'm ok and not in any danger - it is very very far from me (3) Yes Sandmonkey has an interesting theory, but Libya is NOT on 'fire' as he suggests ( hopefully it will not be), (4) if any of you care the situation is calm, the people are in hospital or the morgue, and (5) "The Social People's Leadership of Great Jamahiriya asked the Public Prosecutor to investigate the way police dealt with this incident". Please be reminded that live ammunition was fired by Libyan security at Libyans to protect that building and still the police is going to be prosecuted for any shortcoming if their responses was not strong enough. I am so not going again into the debate about demonstrations , the mob etc.... it will be like going back to the 'start' case. I already said attacking diplomatic missions is not the solution, however, what that Italian MP did was not a way to defuse any situation, if Muslims are supposedly uncivilised then the West should lead by example and show how civilized one can be not taunt the others. If I'm in a dark alley with a thug I have 3 choices go for the kill , try to make him more mad or reach and talk my way out...reaching out needs a noble disposition self control and patience ...some have it some don't.

As to why I am not heading the alarmists statements about Libya ? it is because Libya has sacrificed too much to be accepted back into the western fold and America's bossom it is not going to wipe all that in one slash regardless of the histrionics. Please know that we are very very aware of our faults, and only Libyans can solve these problems. Relationships between sovereign countries have a choice of channels , it seems the Italians were willing to use the voice of reason too. Dear Italians attacking the consulate is not how a demonstration should be done and I'm really sorry this happened. So while there should be no excuses for this behaviour I would like to say that this mob separated itself from a larger protest and headed towards the consulate, stopping it required the use of force....again everyone please note that only Muslims have died once more - and this is not newsworthy in the West, the Danish people have nothing to do with this , they are also caught in the middle. I still maintain that this crisis will lead to a dialogue if we are wise enough to seize it.

33 comments:

Non-Blogging Anonymous said...

A great introduction to this topic. Now I've also read that this Italian minister of T-shirts and the Libyan minister of the interior have both resigned. Wasn't it that also the Lebanese minister of the interior resigned due to the inablity of the Lebanese authorities to stop the mob from attacking the embassies in Beirut? Anybody remembers any other ministers resigning because of this anywhere..?

"West" 1 - "East" 2.

I think at least in the West ministers sometimes resign too easily. Heck, they can't be responsible for every single detail in their ministry and all the agencies under the ministerial supervision.

However, I do think it's a healthy development that we have now politicians willing (or forced) to draw conclusions.

By the way, has anyone noticed that (if I'm not right, correct me), all the physical victims (= dead people) during this great cartoon farce have been Muslims killed by other Muslims (not because they're Muslims but because they're Muslims serving in the security forces of their countries) except for the Catholic priest killed in Turkey?

If I were a Muslim offended by the publication of the cartoons, I would be very, very angry at the security forces of Islamic countries who shoot me because I want to burn a diplomatic mission to show the evil infidels what I think of their media.

The Sandmonkey said...

I was waiting for your take on this. I agree with you, but again, wearing a t-shirt is not equal to attacking and burning down an embassy. reaction has to be equal to the action. Makes me wonder if they ever attacked our embassies, what would be do exactly!?

programmer craig said...

Hi Highlander,

What's being reported in the news here in the US is that the Linyan Minister of the Interior resigned because of excessive force being used against the demonstrators, not for failure to protect the Italian consulate. Not treally sure if that makes a difference, but it seems like an attempt to calm things in Libya, not as a gesture of contrition to Italy?

The Italian minister who resigned is teh one who wore the T-Shirt, and he is being called a minister in an "anti-immigration" political party... If that's true, his motivations for wearing teh T-Shirt were probably to exacerbate the situation.

Still... I wish western countries would stop apologizing and stop resigning for things that are not illegal! It makes it look as if the violence is working, which will undoubtedly make the violence worse. Look at the photo of those Pakistani's burning and beating poor Ronald McDonald. Do those look like outraged muslims? Those look like people having a good time, to me.

programmer craig said...

Oh, one more thing to add, Highlander...

"I still maintain that this crisis will lead to a dialogue if we are wise enough to seize it."

I don't think there can be a dialog when violence has been used, and more violence is threatened. Not between the perpetrators and the victims.

An internal dialog between Arabs, and muslims, perhaps. But I don't have high hopes. The US has been waiting years for Radical Islam to be discredited, and it hasn't happened. There's more militancy, more hate, and more violence than ever.

Non-Blogging Anonymous said...

By the way, another comment, my dear Highlander, why do you think this wouldn't be 'newsworthy in the West'? You yourself refer to BBC, and at least me and Craig surely have learnt about the incidents in Western media. Yes, it is in the news in the West (however you define it).

I need to stress that diplomatic missions are protected by international law and agreements and everybody who has been reading my earlier comments knows how much I'm against violence and stupidity in general. However, had this protest been non-violent, which unfortunately isn't the case, it would have been a step forward from the earlier idiocies when various mobs and thugs burnt embassies of countries where independent media published the cartoons.

Of course Italian consular officials are not personally responsible for the deeds of their government, at least they are government offcials. They are then the right people to turn to to protest, I need to stress again, without any violence or threats whatsoever, for anything some Libyans think is done wrongly by anobody in the Italian government. A step forward because the Italian consulate in Benghazi does have a connection to the Italian government and its ministers unlike all the earlier diplomatic missions attacked by idiots which simply have no connection to the independent media in their respective countries.

However, I'm definitely not saying that those demonstrators saw the things as I do see them. I have my doubts as always.

NBA

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for my killed opponents in Benghazi and elsewhere.
It is true that with few exceptions (check Nigeria), the victims of the cartoon crisis are Muslims. This even makes me ask whether some Muslims have a message for us, "Stop insulting our religion, or we'll keep getting killed!" This would be at least a starting point for negotiations and compromise, though not the best one.
My opinion about how should such riots be handled is: If there are people in the embassy, the security forces should protect it at all costs. However, if the embassy has been evacuated, police should abstain from lethal force even if it means letting the building burn. It can always be rebuilt.
Maya

smokey spice said...

Highlander... that was a beautifully written, wonderfully thoughtful post. Even in your sleepy state, you seemed to be thinking more clearly than a lot of supposedly enlightened people. Thank you! I plan on sitting down at the computer a little more tomorrow and as of next week, my internet connection issues will be gone, so I can post whenever I want.

Oh, and YES, I'm completely open to a visit. I'd love, love, love it.

Salamat--ss

Non-Blogging Anonymous said...

Maya,

I only heard about the Nigerian incidents after my latest post. I simply don't understand anymore what the starting point for negotiations should be here... Nigerian Christians haven't in my best knowledge insulted anyone and have absolutely nothing to do with the drawings. How come killing innocents doesn't get a percentage of the amount of regrets and apologies that were expressed by bunches of people for the cartoons they had nothing to do with?

Regarding what should be done if a mob threatens an empty diplomatic mission (in Benghazi, however, there were people inside, it wasn't empty), I don't support lethal force except for when nothing else can be used. However, the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations Libya also has signed under states the following:

Article 22

1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

2. The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.

3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.


I'm not a lawyer but in my layman's interpretation even lethal force must by used by security forces if even an empty diplomatic mission is threatened, if we see the convention. I'm not sure myself if killing someone to protect walls and furniture is OK (I really do have doubts) but it seems that this is what the convention demands ("all appropriate steps").

Now, various receiving states have failed to do what the convention they've signed under demands. Even a Molotov cocktail across the fence is a violation, let alone burnings.

The same convention of course protects Libyan dilomats abroad, among others in Italy.

Hannu said...

I don't know what to think or how to think! I am mad at too many people to start off with. But mostly at those who don't see things the way they are. The protests in the Arab countries, especially the one in Benghazi, were orchestrated by the governments. Hell, no one can protest in Libya... they kill their own children and they don't raise a voice! Why do people agree to be puppets in the hands of such a regime and play along with them? Did those lives need to be lost?

What I heard and saw on the short video clips is that the firing was not done by police. It's common knowledge that police don't carry armed weapons in Libya. The firing was by people in civilian clothing. The demo was orchestrated and was blesses by the government but then got out of hand when people started chanting national slognas, not just religious! The demo was not anywhere near the Italian consulate, but when things heated up, a group headed there and the armed thugs didn't know better but to shoot. Now the government is at loss and trying their best to contain the situation. The resignation of the minister in Libya means deadly! He probably didn't know that he resigned till he heard it in the news. He's just another puppet for the government.

Hannu said...

NBA,

Adding to what you said about the independent media in the west. This is a point of confusion for lots of Arabs, at least the ones I have been talking to. Because of the way things are done in that part of the world, they don't know the difference or distinguish between a news outlet and a government. They believe whatever is written in the media is the view of the government of that country and that the government is responsible for it and has to apologize for it. I gave up explaining that governments and media are two different entities in most western countries. Sometimes I wonder if they are really to blame when they've known no different for all their lives.

Mad Canuck said...

Hi Highlander,

I wrote a post on this last night too. A key question in my mind is how much of the anger that was vented at the Italian consulate was about the cartoons, and how much of it was pent-up anger over Italy's colonial legacy in Libya? If it was a Japanese or perhaps a Brazilian politician who had pulled the same stunt, would they have burned their consulate? I think not.

Likewise, in northern Nigeria (where churches were torched and over a dozen Christians were beaten to death in the streets), there has been simmering violence between these two groups for over two hundred years. How much of the anger we saw vented over the past two days was really the result of the cartoons, and how much of it was pent-up anger that had existed since before they were ever drawn?

highlander said...

Hanu illi gulti nafs ilgulta. Notice I said part of the people split and went towards the consulate. Update coming up soon.

I agree with you about people in these parts not differentiating between the media .

highlander said...

MC you do have a point about the pent up anger , in this case it was not about Italy's colonial past though. As for Nigeria, they do have their own domestic issues as well to deal with . Will go and check your post now.

Sandmonkey, thanks for seeing eye to eye... there are things though that one can only know about by living in a place.

programmer craig said...

As Mad Canuck will tell you, Canadians feel no need to defend foreign embassies with lethal force, or with any force at all, I guess.

It's different when a US embassys is attacked in an allied country than in a hostile country though. The seizure of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 has never been forgiven, and resulted ina permanent and unilateral severing of diplomatic and economic relations between the US and Iran.

Non-Blogging Anonymous said...

Hanu and Highlander, yes, I agree with you. We can't directly blame people just because they've grown up in another system and never been able or allowed to see that things can be different (better or worse) elsewhere. It may well be that some Western reactions wouldn't have been that angry if they had known how rare independent media in the Arab world is.

A good thing is that the main victims are trying to 'educate' the masses (sounds very elitist, sorry). Jyllands-Posten (www.jp.dk) and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.um.dk) both have good FAQ's. I hope visitors to those sites read them, too, not just push a button and send hate mail to the editors or ministry officials.

And, in this era of the Internet, more and more people at least have a chance to learn how things are on the other side. The real blame begins if people for example read these FAQ's and still don't even try to get it.

It works in the opposite direction as well. Bloggers like Highlander, Sandmonkey and dozens of other sane people, you're doing a great job to show the world that the Arab world is not just bigots and rioters (myself, I've never thought so). If then someone reads your sites and yet keeps on talking BS like 'all Muslims are terrorists', 'primitive, medieval Arabs' etc., they should be ashamed (to put it as politely as I could).

Unfortunately we do have people like those and unfortunately I guess their numbers haven't diminished during the past few weeks.

NBA

Non-Blogging Anonymous said...

Craig, regarding attacks on US embassies. Your government can also have true double standards. The Tehran siege is of course a famous case many have read about but you should also read the account in Steve Coll's Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 on the attack on the US Embassy in Islamabad just some weeks after the beginning of the Tehran hostage crisis.

It's interesting and I guess not that well-known - myself, I'd never heard about the case before Coll's book. To put a complicated story short, the mob that burnt down the embassy, leading to several casualties and evacuations, was basically Saudi-financed and at least partly Pakistani government backed, it took Pakistani troops hours to do really something and so on. And had things turned a little bit worse, the number of casulaties could have exceeded one hundred embassy officials and locally employed Pakistanis.

Interestingly, we didn't see any US sanctions or embargo after that. Regional strategic interests were deemed more important.

That a country like Pakistan can make the world's sole superpower to bow and not only once is contrary to the theory that the USA only backs despotic regimes when it needs their oil ;-).

programmer craig said...

Hi NBA,

"Craig, regarding attacks on US embassies. Your government can also have true double standards."

You don't have to tell me that. The US government supports a dictator in Pakistan right now, because the alternative is a Taliban style government there, with nuclar weapons. Double standards mean nothing to me. Given a choice of the lesser of two evils, I make a choice. And I expect my government to, as well.

(snipped the part about the book)

"It's interesting and I guess not that well-known - myself, I'd never heard about the case before Coll's book."

Neither have I, and I was 16 years old in 1979. That's why I snipped the part about the book :)

"Interestingly, we didn't see any US sanctions or embargo after that. Regional strategic interests were deemed more important."

I'm not going to try and explain Jimmy Carter's behavior. Worst US President in history, in my opinion. And I certainly won't try to eplain it in regards to an incident I know nothing about.

"That a country like Pakistan can make the world's sole superpower to bow and not only once"

The US was not the world's sole superpower, then. In fact, teh USSR was considerably more powerful than the United States, in 1979.

"is contrary to the theory that the USA only backs despotic regimes when it needs their oil ;-)."

That's a stupid theory. I've personally helped keep dictators in power in several countries, none of which had any oil.

Can we get back on topic now, please? If embassy guards have to use lethal force to defend embassies, the fault will be with the host countries, for not providing sufficient protection. And yes, the embassy guards should use whatever force is necessary to defend those embassies. That's what they are there for.

Non-Blogging Anonymous said...

Craig, what I wanted to say and what is not out of topic here is:

Not all offences are treated equally. The Tehran hostage crisis received a lot of attention, yet a more or less similar case (without a prolonged hostage crisis) practically nothing. Both happened more or less at the same time, same region of the world and driven by same greater goals. In both cases the host country deliberately skipped their responsibility to protect foreign diplomatic missions which resulted in damage and deaths. In the Iranian case, the reasult was severing diplomatic ties and trade embargo, in the Pakistani case even closer ties with the then military dictatorship. That's really double standards. Military dictatorship in Pakistan might be the lesser of two evils (we can only speculate, not know what would happen in Pakistan if the people really had their say) but in my opinion, only good can be rewarded, not evil, even if it might be less evil than the alternative.

programmer craig said...

"but in my opinion, only good can be rewarded, not evil, even if it might be less evil than the alternative."

I disagree with you. The USSR would still be alive and well if the US (and NATO allies) had not excercised those double standards you scorn. Enemies should be opposed, even if it means supporting unsavory characters and repressive regimes. Musharref may be a dictator, but he's not an enemy of the United States. His opponents (those who would seize power if he was deposed) are THE SAME RADICAL ISLAMISTS that the US is at war with! Osama bin Ladin, Mullah Omar, Zawahiri and what's left of teh Taliban and Al Qaeda are IN PAKISTAN. Over 60% if the population in Pakistan are militant Islamists. It doens't seem like it takes a world class diplomat to figure out what's going to happen in Pakistan if teh current Dictatorship falls.

(I'm not a neocon, by the way)

About the embassy thing. Attacking a diplomatic mission is an act of war. It's up to the sending country to determine how to react to such an event. Even under teh UN charter, a declaration of war by the sending country would be justified, in self defense. This is serious stuff, and just because everyone who has gotten an embassy attacked or burned up to this point has treated it as a diplomatic snafu doesn't mean it will continue that way.

Barnita said...

Hi. The violence is spreading and not abating. And thanks to a few over-zealous fundamentalists, even those countries which have so far not seen violence over the cartoons are now following.

I was surprised to learn about the 10 deaths in Libya.

Lets just pray it ends.

programmer craig said...

A quick visit to your blog reveals you are working pretty hard at finding things to be offended about over there in India as well, Barnita. Are you so sure it's the fault of "over-zealous fundamentalists" and not hyper-sensitive political activists?

smokey spice said...

Hey PC... calm down.

I have a topical point: I've begun to wonder whether the protests are even meant for the west or the original publishers of the cartoons. It's not unlikely that Muslims in certain countries are making a statement to their own governments.

Anyone remember some predictions just before the invasion of Iraq that it would be the final blow? There was fear of the 'Arab Street'? Well, what if this is it?
What if Muslims are saying to their own governments that they've had enough and they can and will use violence, even if they have been cooperative so far?

What if? Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

I do not think "appropriate steps" necessarily means all possible steps, up to shooting. The convention is subject to interpretation with regard to other international laws, e.g. human rights conventions. But even if it was explicitly written, I still think people are above walls, furniture and documents. I liked the way Lebanon dealt with the same problem. Westerners who have never experienced living under absurd laws are often obsessed with law. Remember that US was eager to use UN resolutions about WMDs as a ground for Iraq invasion, which brought disaster when no WMDs were found. "Papers above all" is a deadly trap.
And then, the practical question: One of the problems we have with Muslims is about human life. We say we cherish human life, and accuse them for not doing the same. But if we approve killings of humans in order to protect buildings, how could we expect our opponents to believe us, let alone agree with us?
Because they do not believe us. They think we are ready to infect their children with AIDS for virtually no reason. I am referring to a case with several Bulgarians in Libya. Highlander can confirm I am not exaggerating, and Hanu seems to mention the same case. By the way, the combination of these 2 events puzzled me again. We know now that there are a few Libyans ready, if enraged enough, to torch an embassy. Libyans were (mis)led to believe Bulgarians killed their children. Why didn't Bulgarian embassy burn? Not that I wish it, but is a damn cartoon more important than life?
Maya

programmer craig said...

Smokey, I can't calm down. I'm sorry. These events have changed my world view. I no longer believe Islam, in any (current) form, is capable of co-existance with the west.

Maya,

I do not think "appropriate steps" necessarily means all possible steps, up to shooting.

What do you think it means, then?

The convention is subject to interpretation with regard to other international laws, e.g. human rights conventions.

It's not subject to interpretation. The host country is responsible for protecting the diplomatic missions.

But even if it was explicitly written, I still think people are above walls, furniture and documents.

Would you still believe that, if the documents cantained state secrets that were vital to the national security of the sending mission?

That's why it isn't open to interpretation. To allow a foreign mission to be violated is an act of war against the sending country, by the host country.

I'm not sure how we got off on this tangent, though. The Italian consulate that was attacked in Libya was occupied.

DWMF said...

Pah. Nobody's telling it like it really is. The Libyan police were protecting a bank. This mob was whipped up to cover for a bank robbery. The police successfully repelled the robbery. End of story. Any other hoo-hah is purely political chaff. Flim-flam to try to be seen as victims. Rationalization after the fact. Again I say, pah.

programmer craig said...

NIGERIA: Militants seize 9 foreigners in new attack, cause cut in oil exports

In an email, the militant group which claims to be fighting for local control of oil wealth in the impoverished oil region, gave the names and nationalities of the hostages including three U.S. nationals, a Briton, two Thai nationals, two Egyptians and a Filipino.

Highlander said...

Hi Programmer_Craig,

As interesting as the link you posted above is, and as much as I think we all feel sorry for the kidnapped oil workers, I fail to see what is its relevance with regards to the 'cartoon' business.

Let us recall that this is not the first time this happens in Nigeria which is experiencing a protracted on/off civil war for domination of resources and fertile soil. Foreigners of all types whether Western , Arab or Asian are unfortunately caught in the middle, this is the risk they take by signing up for this job in these unsecure countries and that is why they get paid exorbitant prices.

Non-Blogging Anonymous said...

Hi guys, promise this will be my last post on this topic unless something new and dramatic happens. Have to calm myself down ;-).

Craig,

This debate on double standards is quite interesting. But anyway, even the US government has a history of actually supporting governments that do deliberately allow harm on them. The case of the 1979 attack on the Islamabad embassy is one - the radicals behind the attack were Saudi-backed and supported by the Pakistani government who also intentionally postponed counter measures and didn't act as soon as they could have. The rewards was more support, not a declaration of war.

In my opinion, you also exaggerate the role of the US and NATO in the end of communism in Europe. My claim is that if you hadn't imposed those doubles standards in Hungary in 1956 when people there were cynically made believe by Radio Free Europe that the so-called West would come and help them and if the USA and NATO really would have gone and delivered what they promised, it's not unlikely that a successful revolution there would have led to the end of communism decades earlier than it finally did (in Europe).

Also, resistance movements in the Baltic states after World War II were made believe the West would come and help them even after the West had already abandoned that policy. Although the last guerrillas managed to survive in the forests up to the 60s and 70s (which is incredible!), the resistance actually became lame after people saw in 1956 that the West is not going to support them but instead uses them cynically.

Maya,

Neither do I support killing people over walls and furniture but this is what I think the protocol might even need. But I don't know.

Does anyone know about a case when the host government has protected a diplomatic mission with means that according to some are exaggerated and been brought to court because of that? It'd be interesting to know about that!

And, Maya, I'm very interested in how this matter has been dealt with in Bulgaria. Am I right that at least one paper over there has published those cartoons? You have any opinion polls? Does this cause any tension between the majority and the Turkish minority? And how are the political parties reacting, especially the Turkish one?

My last comment on this has ended.

NBA

programmer craig said...

Hi Highlander... the protracted "civil war" is actually a religious war. Not really the same thing.

The hostage takers are muslim terrorists. This is a terrorist attack, and the foreigners were not "caught in the middle" - they were taken hostage, deliberately. The demands of this terror group are the release of their leader from prison.

Maybe not realated to the cartoons. Maybe it was just an opportunistic attack. Maybe the Christians who got raped and/or beaten to death, and/or burned alive would have been victimized anyway, irregardless of the cartoons.

If the cartoons were not a mitigating factor in these violent acts, that makes the acts worse, not better. Right?

Anonymous said...

Programmer Craig, you have the useful habit of asking difficult questions :), last time about teaching children, now about the balance between security and human rights. Your arguments make much, much sense. Still, I propose a new concize formulation of human rights documents:
"People should not be tortured and killed without a reason."
I admit I have no strong arguments here, it's more my intuition.
About your remark that violence seems to work - of course it does, and that's the problem.
NBA, I am amazed that you know so much about Bulgaria. Our Prime Minister said we must respect the feeling of Muslims. (No wonder, he is a Communist and rules in a coalition with the Turkish party.) At least 3 our newspapers have published some of the cartoons. Our ambassador in Tehran was called to explain about it, and Arab ambassadors in Sofia warned us not to publish, the usual intimidation story. Our Muslim minority has been calm. The Grand Mufti tried to summon them to protest, without much success. They are an old European population and our fears that they could be radicalized by newcomers from Mideast have been in vain so far.
Maya

highlander said...

Craig re. the Nigerian attacks I would like to refer to this comment by Mad Canuck on his blog :

http://www.haloscan.com/comments/madcanuck/114039790382649168/#99173

I will also copy paste the comment for everyone's information again

The BBC did a profile on Dokubo-Asari, here is a link
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3713664.stm

He converted to Islam in the 1990s and adopted the name "Mujahid" for himself at that time, over 10 years before he started armed struggle against the oil companies operating in his region of Nigeria. Mujahid is his name, not any sort of job title.

Dokubo-Asari may be Muslim, but the group he leads (Ijaw Youths Council) is fighting for the interests of the Ijaw ethnic group in Nigeria (who are mostly Christian and animist). IYC is not a religious group, it is a group fighting for a greater share of oil profits for the indigenous people living in the area from which the oil was taken.

programmer craig said...

Highlander, this comment you quoted seems to be lacking in fact. It's not a rebel group fighting for a larger share of the oil, it's a seperatist group, fighting for ALL the oil, and an independent country.

I won't comment on the rest. I flatly do not believe that in a country involved in a 15 year old religious war between Christians and muslims, that a muslim jihadi would recruit Christian followers.

Non-Blogging Anonymous said...

Yes, I promised not to post on this anymore but just needed to as long as the point is not the C word anymore... I'm turning into to hypocrite perhaps...

Maya, interesting... I was interested in the Bulgarian perspective because you're one of the few European countries with a sizeable, old Muslim minority. And I even remember the 1989 Exodus to Turkey from the news of the time...

Wheer have all those years ever since gone...

I've even visited a mosque in Bulgaria myself :-).