I rarely agree with Richard Cohen, the Liberal columnist for the Washington Post, but this is an article that makes a deeply troubling point.
What strikes me about the threat to execute Abdul Rahman, the Afghan who converted to Christianity, is not that Afghanistan remains deeply medieval and not even remotely the democracy that George W. Bush would like it to be, but that with the exception of the (largely) Christian West, the rest of the world has been mostly silent. The Americans have protested, the Brits have protested, the Vatican has protested and so (I assume) have some others. But if there has been a holler of protest from anywhere in the Muslim world, it has not reached my ears. That is appalling.
"The world is too much with us," Wordsworth once wrote. This is certainly the way I feel. To be confronted on an almost daily basis with the horrors of Iraq is profoundly disturbing. The torture and decapitation of huge numbers of people, the casual homicides, the constant suicide bombings -- all of this makes you wonder about your fellow man. It is no longer possible, as it once was, to see the world only from your front porch, being disturbed only by the ringing of the bell on some passing ice cream truck. In Africa, Asia, too much of the world -- it is Joseph Conrad much of the time: "The horror! The horror!"
But you can say that these horrors are usually being inflicted by a minority. You say it is a few crazed terrorists of Iraq who are doing the killing. It is not most Iraqis. You can say the same about suicide bombers and torturers and rogue governments, like the one Saddam Hussein once headed. You can take solace in numbers. Most people are like us.
Then comes the Rahman case and it is not a solitary crazy prosecutor who brings the charge of apostasy but an entire society. It is not a single judge who would condemn the man but a culture. The Taliban are gone at gunpoint, their atrocities supposedly a thing of the past. In our boundless optimism, we consign them to the "too hard" file of horrors we cannot figure out: the Khmer Rouge, the Nazis, the communists of the Stalin period. Now, though, this awful thing returns and it is not just a single country that would kill a man for his beliefs but a huge swath of the world that would not protest. There can be only one conclusion: They were in agreement.
Read the rest.
The groupthink of the Muslim world is frightening.