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MENAFN - Jordan Times - 17/09/2012

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(MENAFN - Jordan Times) There has been universal condemnation of the brutal attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and the "outrageous" killing of ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The trigger for the violent protests was a movie made on a shoestring budget in five days, with mediocre actors and of poor production standards. Considering the substandard, amateur nature of the film, it is still not quite clear why these outbreaks of rage erupted so suddenly.

It would not be possible to analyse the whole issue in just a few lines. However, it is important to remember how the offensive portrayal of Prophet Mohammad has been an ongoing problem since Mediaeval times.

A couple of weeks before the film incident, Israeli settlers burnt a copy of the Koran while attacking a mosque. Viewing the reaction to the movie, it is strange to see that there was no reaction at all from the Muslim and Arab world to this blatant sacrilege.

This begs the question whether criticism is highly selective or if people are unconsciously being driven to protest.

It is obvious that there was political exploitation of the movie. It gave an easy excuse to attack the US and its politics.

It does not take much effort to realise that the American authorities had no direct involvement in the production of the movie, which was the work of a handful of right-wing religious extremists.

The political implications of choosing the anniversary of September 11 to spread the video clip are plain. However, many protesters have turned a deaf ear to the official American voices who condemn the film.

Could it still be said that the reaction was spontaneous?

In recent years, the US broke tradition by taking a different stand from its "historical allies" on various international issues, like, for example, when the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told British reporters he did not want the US to be "complicit" in an Israeli attack on Iran.

Moreover, the recent American policy of attempting to achieve a political settlement in Syria provoked the anger of those pushing for military intervention there. The US might now have to pay the price of this political shift.

Building democracies has never been easy. There are so many different elements to consider, such as the level of consciousness, cultural background and values of the individual being.

It would be a big mistake to apply the elevated concept of democracy and liberty in places that have yet to commence their human development process.

In order to succeed, wise local partners are needed. Trying to build democracy on religious and ethnic bases is like preparing an arena for civil war, always ready to erupt.

In the current situation, Islamists could never be relied on as partners in the democratic process.

Their ideology is based on eliminating other theologies and on the belief that legitimacy comes from God. Therefore, the last advice to give to those who believe in building a better future for people would be the proverb that says: "A wise enemy is better than a foolish friend."

The writer, political analyst and expert in intercultural studies, is lecturer at the University of Jordan. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.


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