Fascio Islamism

It seems that most Muslims are not as pathetic as they are caricatured in US news:

[T]he original narrative fit so nicely into some common stereotypes–about crazy Muslims who get whipped into a death frenzy at the drop of a hat . . . it looks from afar as if ongoing demonstrations and disturbances are all about this film, and as if they’re therefore a reminder of how touchy those darn Muslims are. Well, it’s true that many Muslims in not-very-cosmopolitan, not-very-diverse, and historically authoritarian countries don’t yet share our commitment to free speech and pluralism, and react accordingly to offensive films. But it’s also true that these disturbances are about a lot more than this film.

However, they have been lulled into statist catatonia by tradition.

The right to freedom of speech is not as settled a matter in either country as it is here, and some Egyptians and Libyans think that any products of the U.S. media that make it to their countries have at least tacit U.S. government approval.

The counter-narrative is found in Libya itself, which is actually less “Islamist” than most Muslim countries:

Even though [ultra-religious, authoritarian groups] appear to be well funded from abroad and capable of ruthless acts of violence against Libyans and foreigners, these groups have so far failed to gain widespread support. In fact, the opposite: their actions have alienated most Libyans.

Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was a popular figure in Libya, and nowhere more than in Benghazi. Friends and relatives there tell me that the city is mournful. There have been spontaneous demonstrations denouncing the attack. Popular Libyan Web sites are full of condemnations of those who carried out the assault.

In fact, Libya currently resembles a libertarian paradise:

They have said nothing, for example, about the widespread consumption of drugs and alcohol among Libya’s youth, about the young men who fill Tripoli’s coastal cafés late into the night, descending into hopeless states of intoxication before every weekend. This is not an oversight but intentional. Infringing on the freedoms and fun of young people would provoke too much anger and, more crucially, lose the extreme right the support of their main target audience: young men.

Eventually, those young men will either get married or become “True Believers“:

If they are not engaged, if their energies and grievances are not attended to, then the road ahead might prove very difficult indeed. And a Libyan version of Milan fascio might yet take hold. [Hisham Matar]

UPDATE:

OK, Muslims are really pathetic.

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