06 February 2006

Juan Cole takes a sober look at the Mohammad cartoon crisis, which led this weekend to the burning of Danish and Norwegian embassies, and attacks on Iraqi and Turkish Christian churches, and sees more politics than pure religion in the outcry. Country by country, he explains the extra-religious influences on the protests or riots: anti-war, anti-imperialist flyers circulating in Beirut prior to the attacks on the Danish embassy; an Egyptian foreign minister deflecting attention from a secular domestic government “by wrapping it in the mantle of defender of the Prophet abroad”; rising sectarian tensions in Syria, which may have led to militants crashing a Sunni-led nonviolent protest…