Anti-western violence gripping the Arab world has little to do with a film

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad writes: The maelstrom of anti-western violence in the Arab world has little to do with an anti-Islam propaganda film released on YouTube.

It has more to do with decades of perceived western imperialism – and the organisational skills of the Salafis, known for their no-compromise, literal interpretation of the faith.

Such rightwing Islamists were wrongfooted by the Arab spring. For years, the jihadis and Salafis thought they had a monopoly on revolution and were the only viable opposition to the Arab dictators.

When the regimes were threatened by popular uprisings, the Salafis took weeks and months to respond. In Libya they initially called for the demonstrators to support the ruler of the land, Muammar Gaddafi. As it became clear that the revolutions would not instantly deliver the brighter future people had marched for, the Salafis began to use that discontent to their advantage.

They are brilliant at agitating on the streets – working on the unemployed, the frustrated, people who feel life should be better. In Tunis, the Salafi agitation began months before the propaganda film – the Innocence of Muslims – surfaced. They attacked cinemas, secularists and artists. In Bahrain and Syria they worked along sectarian lines, and in Egypt they launched vicious confrontations with the Coptic Christians. [Continue reading…]

In Cairo, protests outside the U.S. embassy appear to have lost support from the Salafists and a demonstration at Tahrir Square only drew a few hundred.

The Wall Street Journal reports: “Egyptians don’t like to protest this way,” said Hisham Al Ashry, a self-identified adherent to hardline Salafi Islam and one of the main speakers at the Salafi-led protest outside the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday. “They want to protest against America, they want to protest against the embassy, but not this way. They want a peaceful protest to express their opinions.”

Many self-identified Islamists in Tahrir Square distanced themselves Thursday from the scene at the U.S. Embassy. They said it was the work of nonpolitical hooligans who are often in their young teens and in several instances have joined in violent clashes with police after what started as peaceful protests.

“Egyptians refuse this,” said one of the protesters in Tahrir Square who called himself Abu Safiyan. He invoked from memory the Prophet Muhammed’s invocation to protect foreign emissaries.

Most of the crowd that could be seen throwing rocks at police officers along the Nile River a block from the U.S. Embassy appeared to be in their teens. Few were dressed like Mr. Abu Safiyan, whose long beard and starched white gown characterizes many adherents to Salafi Islam.

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2 thoughts on “Anti-western violence gripping the Arab world has little to do with a film

  1. Leslie Garrett

    The Americans have killed how many Iraqi children in the last two decades? Go visit an American university campus. Look at those who control the college or university, then ask yourself why that institution, almost to a “man” is complicit with this orchestrated attack upon Islam. Go see if you can find faculty questioning the present course. This whole gig is for the sole purpose of stimulating the feeding frenzies of an insatiable military, industrial, aid complex, and the American clergy and academia are totally complicit. Why do you think it is that no press ever covers the whore houses and bars that the Americans have opened in Kabul, where such things did not exist before? Do you not think that bringing in Russian and Chinese hookers into such a place is a war crime, at a time when AIDS still stalks Asia? Would any military commander who really wanted to bring peace allow that to happen. Not on your life. Afghanistan was chosen because they had shown that they would fight back; this is the forth Anglo-Afghan war. What possible business has it been of England’s to determine the politics of Afghanistan, a nation thousands of miles away with a totally different culture and few economic connections? It is all a business scam based upon public credulity, and it has had nothing whatever to do with the poor Afghans.

  2. Norman

    Adding to the above comment, “Opium”. The politics behind it & who controls the flow, is another of the not reported in-depth items from Afghanistan. Distractions, this is what the world is seeing today in all the various uprisings taking place. Deter the attention from one issue to another, but in the meantime, follow the money. Politics are money, just as drugs are. As long as the vast majority of the people are distracted from the real issue[s], the easier it is to get away with the looting. Food for thought.

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