News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Picking up Bin Laden’s mantle

Osama Bin Laden’s goal for the 9-11 attacks was no secret. He wanted to drive a wedge between the West and Muslims to foment international jihad. The end result would be to drive the West out of Muslim areas.

Bin Laden’s mission failed. Instead of rising against the West, the Arab spring movement helped drive several Middle Eastern autocrats from power. For the first time, it seemed the area might become fertile ground for democratic reform.

Then another group of hate mongers stepped into the picture.

Exploiting freedom of speech in the U.S., the makers of an absurdly cheesy film using an inflammatory depiction of the prophet Mohammed has managed to do what Bin Laden could not.

How far the current Islamic unrest will go is anyone’s guess. But it only underscores the ignorance and pent up animosity beneath the surface in the Islamic world – and the West as well. The misplaced hatred on the streets of Cairo may beget equally misplaced hate on Main Street USA. In that case, only the Bin Ladens of the world win. 

Our leaders will need to steer a course of reason. We must resist the urge to answer hate with hate. The extremists cannot continue to control the dialog. 

Raul Ramos y Sanchez 

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