Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Fake Outrage of the "Muslim Street"

Egyptian Sandmonkey has stumbled upon a very interesting discovery!

It turns out that in October of 2005, an Egyptian publication published those very cartoons that Muslims all over the world are now "outraged" about, but not a single peep emerged from the "Muslim street" back then!

Click here to check out the Sand Monkey's Entry. He has scaned the newspaper, so there is no doubting the authenticity of his claim!

The question we now have to ask ourselves now is WHY?

Why did Muslims decide that it was appropriate to protest and burn embassies these past two weeks, but not in October when the cartoons were first published (in a prominent Egyptian daily mind you)?

I have my suspicions (they're quite obvious), the Sand Monkey has his....

Now while the arab islamic population was going crazy over the outrage created by their government's media over these cartoons, their governments was benifitting from its people's distraction. The Saudi royal Family used it to distract its people from the outrage over the Hajj stampede. The Jordanian government used it to distract its people from their new minimum wage law demanded by their labor unions. The Syrian Government used it to create secterian division in Lebanon and change the focus on the Harriri murder. And, finally, the Egyptian government is using it to distract us while it passes through the new Judiciary reforms and Social Security Bill- which will cut over $300 million dollars in benefits to some of Egypt's poorest families. But, see, the people were not paying attention, because they were too busy defending the prophet by sending out millions of e-mails and SMS-messages, boycotting cheese and Lego and burning Butter and the danish Flag. Let's not even mention the idiots who went the usual route of "It's a jewish conspiracy", spouted the stupid argument about the Holocaust, or went on a diatribe with the old favorite "There is an organized campaign-headed by the west and the jews- to attack and discredit Islam, and we have to defend it". They proved, once again, that the arab world is retarded and deserves no better than its leaders.

Qudos to Sand Monkey for this wonderfull discovery! This type of stuff is what the Blogosphere was made for!

Update: Michael Totten has brought to my attention this article from the Wall Street Journal that documents the Egyptian government's role in fanning the flames of protest. The article will be accessible today only, so I will copy and paste some exerpts.

In this volatile environment, a group of Danish Islamic clerics angered by the cartoons succeeded in enlisting help from Egypt's secular government, which has been struggling to contain a potent Islamist opposition. Secular forces in the Arab world, eager to burnish their image as defenders of Islam, provided an important initial impetus for the protests, but now are scrambling to control the fury.


Mr. Abu-Laban began working closely with Cairo's embassy in Copenhagen, holding several meetings with Egypt's ambassador to Denmark, Mona Omar Attia. "Egypt's embassy played a fundamental role," he says. Egypt and other Arab regimes saw the furor as a good opportunity "to counteract pressure from the West" and "to show people they are good Muslims," he says.


The first delegation left for Cairo in early December. As that nation was about to hold the final round of the first democratic election in modern Egyptian history, the government was battling accusations from some quarters of insufficient piety. Ms. Attia, the ambassador, denies that authorities tried to manipulate the cartoon issue as an electoral ploy.


Ms Levantine said...

As my uncle Karl used to say: Religion is the opiate of the masses. It keeps everyone busy and scared while the rulers can keep fleecing us. I am still waiting for the day where opiate will be the religion of the masses. Peace.

JoseyWales said...

Too easy Ms Lev, with all due respect to all uncles.

Religion is what YOU make of it. It can be spiritual growth, it can be opiate, it can be propaganda and incitement to war and murder etc...Reasonable mature people will handle it.

Fools will always find a reason to hurt themselves and go on a ramapge.

AbdulKarim said...

Thank you for bringing this to our attention Raja.

Lazarus said...

well ... in some circles, opium (and its derivates) are religions ...

anyway, what happened here should be more "evidence" that the outrage wasn't just an islamic outrage, but that the incitement involved (regional, communal, governmental) had a big role.

and i don't understand why the outrage is fake. those who burnt down the embassies, and those protesting peacefully in lebanon in today's ashoura sure as hell aren't acting ...

Raja said...


I should have titled the post "instigated" anger. As in instigated by factors other than the cartoon.

Anonymous said...

On an other somewhat related note,
The fact that drawing the prophet is not allowed which originally sparked this whole fiasco (before the really insulting images started apearing) is a fairly recent addition to islam.
Even in some places it is not such a big deal ...

Not that it really matters much anyway,


ghassan said...

Raja, Readers,
If the authenticity of this item can be conclusively verified then it is incumbent on each of us to do whatever is in our power to give this issue major exposure , not in an effort to embarres, but in order to get a serious investigation of the outrageous facts that have led to this behaviour. I am not in a position to pass judgement on the pig squealing contest photo either but it seems to me that if both of these allegations are tru then the Saudi, Jordanian, Iranian, Kuwaiti and Egyptian governments amongst others have some explaining to do. Obviously one must not forget also the role of all the clerics who asked for violence and incited crowds.
Is the Sandmonkey in a position to give this matter the exposure that it deserves, provided that the allegations are accurate.

ghassan said...

I am of the opinion that Ms. Lev's uncle Karl was right on the money.
I honestly don't believe that uncle Karl's views were simplistic. Instead I would argue that the apologetics for the horrors of religion dtand on shaky grounds:-)
May I also suggest that reason and enlightenment do not mix with faith. Actually they demand and end to faith. Secularism however is another religion to replace the heavenly ones. One can only hope that an enlightened ISM will not create havoc , war, and misery when others disagree with it.

JoseyWales said...


it's too easy to say: people do bad things in the name of religion therefore religion should be set aside or abolished or whatever.

To adapt a slogan: people kill people, religions don't.

Religion has been around forever for good (and bad) reason.

We have yet to encounter a sustainably successful society/culture where religion plays no role. That alone ought to make us think for a while.

PS You could say that secularism is the new "religion" of the EU: not looking bright down the road.
Atheist USSR?: RIP. Of course that does not mean that ANY religion will do. However, be careful what you wish for....

JoseyWales said...


Would we rather Marxism be the opiate of the people? That only killed 100 million last century.

ghassan said...

Individuals should be allowed to believe in whatever they choose but I am suggesting that to have faithin any kind of monotheism is irrational. Are people free to be irrational? Sure they are. But if we are to learn from the past two millenia then it would become amply clear that monotheism has been a bane.
BTW, Marxism has never been the dominant ideology anywhere in the world at any point in time. Anyway although Marxists are aetheists this does not imply that all aetheists are Marxists. Actually one can easily visualize a Smithian capitalist society that prays at the altar of materialism. Central planning is not a prerequisite for rational thinking, history and theory has shown that it is exactly the opposite of that.

Lazarus said...

i have to agree with JW on this. maybe we should come to terms that one of the reasons of secularism failing is secularism itself. we can place all the blame on corrupt leaders, but is that completely fair? an analogy would be to claim that communism failed only because the leaders it had were corrupt ...

ideally, we should have no "isms". but how realistic is that? what JW has said is right: people do the killing. i may be off the mark, but maybe we should come to terms with the possible reality that ethnic tensions, religious strife, etc. never harmed anyone, but that it was people who did the harm. then again, maybe not ...

Raja said...

Lazarus, secularism... fail???

wow dude! That's the Islamist rhetoric right there.

I'm sorry, but when you have people like Hosni Mubarak, Hafez el Assad, Saddam Hussein and all their ilks "representing the secular alternative" in the Middle East, then you have a real problem.

The Iranian clerics and the Salafis have scored a historic coup by successfuly selling to the public that what was in essense a failure of regimes (and elites) is a failure of "paradigms".

This is where we as members of the "secular elite" continue to fail. We cannot sell our message to the public effectively. What's more: the problem is not so much limited to discourse and dialogue, as it is STRUCTURAL! And OIL is at the root of all this.


I need to go... but, Ghassan, rest assured... Sand Monkey's revelations have been picked up by some major European publications. They're doing good things with it.

c u all soon!

JoseyWales said...


You are mixing a bunch of things together central planning and religion etc..

I should have avoided my swipe at Marxism which confused the issue.

Anyway this a BIG topic for another time,

Is it rational for you to say monotheism is irrational? Are polytheism or atheism rational? On what basis?

My 2 cents: Rational people understand the need and place for the "irrational" in our lives.

Lazarus said...

raja - :)

i am just throwing out a thought. if it was up to me, lebanon - and the rest of the world - would have been secular in order to guarantee fundamental civil rights.

but my question still holds. why do you think communism failed? if there is something inherently wrong with communism, then maybe there is something wrong with secularism. its something we do have to think about. if it turns out that secularism is extremely feasible with the right set of rulers, then i would not say no to that!

that said - which countries have there been feasible secular alternatives? in the US? in Europe's various nation states? many of them feel that secularism should be accompanied by a set of values ... and with values seemingly connected to religious morality ...

one more note ... before i overstay my welcome :) ... maybe, just maybe, us secularist have failed to "sell our message to the public" because the public doesn't want a secular existence. maybe it wants an existence infused with religion ...

yalla, i'm off for now ... i'll be back to check what you think.

ghassan said...

Josey, Laz
May I highlight a couple of issues that, in my view, have not been dealt with clearly.
Secularism is an acceptable solution for what I have been proposing. Without it democracy,liberty, respect for the other... will not work. Howevr, I have suggested in the earlier posts that it would be even better if we reject faith in all its forms but especially its monotheistic form.
Josey, you have commited a major logical fallacy when you concluded that since I accuse monotheism of being irrational then that implies that I think that polytheism is rational. Then would be similar to saying that if I dont like SUV's then I must like cars!!!!
I wish that I could claim credit for what I am going to say but unfortunately, for me, this idea was expressed by Lynn White a major historian in an article in 1968 that is one of the most powerful and influential six pages written on the subject. It is a classic. He states that one of the biggest tragedies was the triumph of Christanity over animism because that ushered in the idea of duality. Yes, Josey I am convinced that creation and the idea that we were created in the image of God is a most irrational idea. (As we all know earth is over 4 billion years old but humans are less than 2 million years old!!!!!)
Now I must sign off so that I do not overstay my welcomelol.

Anonymous said...

For those interested in some background to the origin of the cartoons and their editor Flemming Rose and his connection to the neocon Daniel Pipes see "Rotten in Denmark: Flemming Rose and the clash of civilizations" by Justin Raimondo at

and Flemming Rose's the Threat from Islamism at

These are not innocent cartoons published in the name of "free speech" but part of the neocon " clash of civilizations".

We are being set up. Watch and weep.


Anonymous said...

we don't live in denmark, we don't read danish, we are not going to denmark and the newspaper is not going to be distributed in the Middle East, so why bother and create a big fuss out of it????
If you are living in denmark and you are bothered, move to belgium or to Germany and spare us from those expressions that show us as bedoins who are instigated with anything.
1/2 if not more of the people rioting have not even heard of denmark or have not seen the cartoons.
Let us show them a proper way of dealing with this issue by doing a proper request of appology, not a riot in egypt or a burning of embassies.
I am a muslim but I believe my God and my prophet can defend themselves. We still say Allaho Akbar for a many reasons, who are we joking with to pretend we are here to defend him from cartoons.

JoseyWales said...

Ghassan, Laz and last Anon.

Long suject for another time.

2 quickies:
No fallacy or assumption on my part. I just asked you why is one of three possibilities is less "rational" than the others. (Ok I tried to needle you too a tad).

And of course secularism and religion are totally different subjects. You can have religion and advocate secularism. But you guys know that.

Last Anon is right, I'll post someday on why Arabs and Lebanese can't solve anything. If you are more concerned with Danish cartoons, Guantanamo Bay, and Palestine than with your own house and life, NOTHING will ever get solved.

Comte Almaviva said...

quickies indeed. You just compared a silly issue like the danish cartoons to one of the biggest human rights crimes in history: Palestine. If so, then there is even less reason to be concerned with lebanon, you know, since the criminal/victim, oppressor/oppressed, occupier/occupied are far more ill defined than for palestine.

duc de la Vega said...

Yes my dear count, you are so right, as usual. I would kiss you if I could.

ghassan said...

Comte Almaviva/Vic,
If you get a chance to read this brief post please keep in mind that the author has spent decades lecturing writting presenting papaers and demonstrating on behalf of the Palestinian cause.
My strong disagreement with the Comte is the implication that the Palestinian tragedy is sort of unique and therefore all our (Arab/Palestinian) positions is support of the cause are justified. Human history is nothing else but a tragic story of conquest, miser , imperialism and exploitation. How do you think the native Americans feel about the hand that history dealt them? What about the indigenous inhabitants of Canada, Australia and New Zealand? Did you ever stop to think about why is North Africa Arab and Moslem. What is the reason for the spread of Islam? I raise these issues not in an effort to excuse or justify the Palestinian tragedy but only to highlight that we do not hold a monoploy on being hurt and conquered. We , as Arabs and Moslems, did lots of conquering , created lots of misery and forced many to adopt our views or else.
This is important to remember because it might lead to a more reasoned responce to a tragedy that has already occured. Organized civil disobedience a la Gandhi , Martin Luther King Jr. and South Africa's Mandela would have been much more productive than the random violence and philosophy of hatred based on the exclusivity of Palestinian hurt.

Anonymous said...

civil disobedience against cluster bombs!

ghassan said...

Anon 3:20
Our love for hyperbole always gets us in trouble. If we wish to be taken seriously then our statements must be measured and responsible. They definitely must be verifiable. When was the last time that a Palestinian demonstration was broken up by cluster bombs? I am not aware of such an event and I would like to know if such an event did occur.

Furthermore I wish that a response to a post would not be limited to only one word whose use in this case was not essential to the original argument.

Comte Almaviva said...


I totally agree, the palestinian tragedy is not a special case, it is simply another manifestation of colonialism and ethnic cleansing. But it's here, it's next to us and we can do something about it. We should condemn violence, hatred and crimes against humanity wherever they occur, but there is nothing wrong in focusing our efforts where we can help most.

Palestine will always be a human rights issue to me: It's not religious and it's not ethnic. When we start using different moral compasses for different people, then something is definitly wrong.

But to say "where is the palestinian Ghandi?" Now that is the typical orientalist rhetoric that you hear so often in the west. It's a way of trashing the palestinian struggle. As if a palestinian ghandi would have changed things: Where was the world between 1948 and 1967, when the palestinians were not fighting? Didn't MTF and the PFLP show the world that palestinians exist, through what is commonly referred to now as "terrorist actions?"

Where there was an Indian Ghandi, there's a Palestinian George Habash. Where there was a Mandella, there's Abu Maher el Yamani. Nothing wrong, or right about that. It's just the way things are. To start preaching "how wrong it was" is down right patronizing.

JoseyWales said...

see what I mean,

we're always back to the OBSESSION: Palestine. For non-Palestinians: How about cleaning our own house first? then we can worry about Palestine and Denmark.

And no I am not equating the two issues in seriousness.

I am just saying clean our OWN house first. Then get to those issues, but without destroying Lebanon in the process.

Comte Almaviva, Ou est Rosine? said...

Human rights transencd borders; that is by definition. When that happens, it becomes an obsession to you. Fair enough, that is your opinion, but not mine. Besides, remember that 'cleaning the lebanese house', can not be decoupled from helping the palestinians, unless you suggest throwing the refugees into another country. Canada might suit your way of thinking, but that is only a suggestion

JoseyWales said...


And of course, the boycott of Danish cocktail sausages bring us back to Palestine!! Surprise! No, no obsession there.

Besides, remember that 'cleaning the lebanese house', can not be decoupled from helping the palestinians,

Why not, use your imagination. (Also, what does "helping" mean? They define it? the Syrians define it? Or the Lebanese define it?)

The refugees could be integrated, sent away, to other "brotherly-eager-to-help" countries or to wherever or a combination of all these things.

Your rethoric feeds into the paralysis of the Arab world: we'll change nothing before the Israeli problem is solved, AND we'll do nothing to solve it, other than kill Palestinians and Lebanese and destroy Lebanon, yet again.

Now if you'll excuse me, I got to go open a can of Plumrose weenies.

ghassan said...

Comte Almaviva,
I am sorry to disapoint you but it was not Habash or any of the groups that practised random violence against civilians that made the world aware of the Palestinian question. It was the reasoned,measured, well constructed and articulate advocacy by the Palestinian intellectuals that told the Palestinian story to the world. Violence has not achieved a thing for the Palestinians except to increase their pain and to set their cause back.

That a great injustice has been perpetrated on the Palestinian people is an issue that is not open to debate. What separates the advocates of a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem are two issues. (1) Ultimate goal. Is it the total destruction of the state of Israel or is it to find an accomodation based on the original UN plan of dividing the land. (2) What are the means to achieve (1).

I am in the camp that argues that (1) has already been answered by the official representatives of the Palestinian people as far back as 1993 and by the Arab states who have either signed a peace treaty and recognised Israel or thru the plan of the Arab League.

This implies that it is the means that is the only issue that needs to be resolved. History has shown that random violence against civilians , besides being immoral and unethical, just does not work. It nevr did and it never would. As a result one has to agree that civil disobedience as suggested by Henry David Thoreau has enjoyed a string of successes on three different continents under three completely different circumstances. I am convinced that the moral highroad is the best and most effective way of bringing about change whether the issue is purely domestic, regional or international. The PLO learned this lesson well and I predict that Hamas will eventually learn it too. Meanwhile the misery, poverty and squalor go on.

Comte Almaviva said...

Funny, I thought layla Khaled clutching her AK-47 was a popular photo, guess I was wrong.

Those intellectuals that showed the palestinian struggle to the world were part of the armed groups. Usually they were under the wings of MTF and Markaz al Bo7ooth al falastiniyya. They themselves didn't consider themselves to be above the armed struggle.

The PA that accepted the oslo accords only represents a fraction of the palestinians, certainly not the refugees. Justice for the refugees implies the end of the 'jewish state' as we know it today. which camp are you in: The camp of pragmatism or the camp of justice? Don't use vague words like "total destruction" vs. "UN resolutions". It is a very simple premise: Justice to the palestinians means the end of the zionist project. You pick and choose as you want, you are certainly free to do so.

But one thing for sure: You don't get to tell the palestinians how to fight their fight. You either support them or you don't.

ghassan said...

Comte Almaviva,
I hope that our host will put up with us for a while longer :-)
Don't use the phrase armed struggle in order to justify the murder of school children at a bus stop. I though that I made my position very clear, armed struggle against combatants is one thing and random violence is another.
I do not know of a single reputable Palestinian intellectual at any time who did not oppose either directly or implicitly the random violence against non combatants.
I had mentioned earlier that the Palestinian question is nothing short of a major injustice but I also reminded you that we do not have a monopoly on grievances either. The history of humanity for thousands of years is the history of plunder. This in itself does not mean that we have to accept injustice. But it does mean that the realities on the ground, so to speak, demand to be taken into consideration. I do not imagine that you would approve of the Berbers of Morroco kicking out all the Arabs and renouncing Islam. Neither would you allow the Copts of egypt to say that Arabs and Moslems in Egypt are an allien culture that needs to be cleansed. What is authentic after all? The authentic my freind, does not exist. It is a figment of the imagination.
Like it or not we have no choice but to seek a settlement of sorts that will recognise the rights of two people to live side by side. If ties between the two neighbours develop over time as to have the borders between them disappear then that would be the ultimate solution, two people in one state.
A thousand mile journey starts with a first step. That step is a Palestinian state within the pre 1967 bordersof the West Bank and Gaza. If you are being serious when you say that the only solution is to end the zionist project then I have only one thing to say to you. It is such misguided policies that have increased the misery for the Palestinians. Reap what you sow.

JoseyWales said...

Whether the intellecuals, or the terrorists, or the Arab-farts supporting the Palestinians from the safety of Euro-capitals, they have all done a wonderful job, as witnessed by the "results" seen on the GROUND (the only thing to judge by).

Re Overstaying welcome: why are we still, and always, and on any thread talking about the CAUSE? Maybe the old joke about the elephant and the Palestinian cause is true.

SelflessWit said...

I see we have turned to the issue of the Palestinians' struggle to secure a nation to live in . My 2 cents comes in the form of 2 questions :
Why can't the Isrealis and the Palestinians live together peacefully ? (Their leaders , religious and secular , keep teaching a message of intolerance and hate . This can be applied elsewhere in the world : the Balkans for instance .)
Why haven't the Arabic countries simply given the Palestinians a state to live in ? (The issue isn't really a Palestinian state , the issue is control of Jerusalem and the expulsion of Isreal from 'Arabic lands'.)
Once again organized extremist monotheism is the root of the problem (my opinion). A pertinent quote , "Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them" .