A war of extremes over Quran burning
A Florida preacher's acts don't typify Christianity. Mob violence doesn't typify Islam.
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Because Muslims hold their holy book and the founder of their religion in the highest esteem, insults to either -- real or imagined -- have prompted reactions throughout history. This is not new. In 2005, the depiction of the Prophet Muhammed by Danish cartoonists sparked violent protests. Rumors about desecration of a Quran by guards at Guantanamo Bay, the planned depiction of Muhammed in a biographical movie in the 1970s, Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" novel -- all caused an outpouring of anger in the Muslim world.
But perspective is important. There are more than a bilion Muslims on the planet. Most do not take to the streets because of what they consider an insult to their religion. Most quietly honor their faith and have the same concerns over family and livelihood that people everywhere have.
There will always be another perceived slight against Islam out there. Because of the Internet, an obscure event can be rapidly transmitted to the other side of the globe. And that will again trigger a violent reaction. But just as those who provoke are not typical of Christianity or western civilization, those who react are not the whole of the Muslim world.
Note to readers: If you would like to see an early version of this column, plus our selection of the most important stories of the day, click here to subscribe to the Monitor's Daily News Briefing.