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In Praise of “Disrespect”

At Al Arabiya today, John Esposito–co-author of Who Speaks for Islam?, a book based on a study of 50,000 people in 35 Muslim countries–says

When we asked Muslims around the world what the West can do to improve relations with the Muslim world, the most frequent responses were for the West to demonstrate more respect for Islam and to regard Muslims as equals, not as inferior.

Respect, huh? Well, it’s good to keep an open mind about these things, and genuinely consider the nature of the complaint. This survey is being touted as a landmark event in Muslim opinion. So, here’s what Al Arabiya adduces as a sign of Western disrespect:

A recent example was the 2006 election in the Palestinian territories, which the Islamist movement Hamas won in a free and fair poll. The United States and Israel have since done much to ignore the result and try to push Hamas out of office.

If rejecting an organization sworn to destroy you is a sign of disrespect, it’s probably best the West remain impudent and graceless for the time-being. We can’t all be so cordial to “the other” as they manage to be in so many Muslim nations.



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