Newsweek Muslim Rage Story Has Great Potential, But Destructive Writing

When Newsweek published a cover story entitled “Muslim Rage” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the public erupted in disgust and mockery. A story that had a few good points and attempted to effect positive change was clouded by over generalizations and lack of understanding, summarily negating any progressive messages the author was trying to send.

At its core, the current protests in the Middle East are undoubtedly about “Muslim Rage”; the anger many Muslims feel toward the crass, racist anti-Islam video mocking the Prophet Muhammed. Christians would be angry if someone created a video mocking Jesus, just as Hindus would be angry if a video mocked Vishnu. Any religious mockery is not only unkind, but bound to bring up resentment and contempt. The anger is justified; the actions, however, are not. Some Muslims have decided to exacerbate the issue unnecessarily and have initiated a foreign crisis in the Middle East. Extremists have unjustly murdered a U.S. ambassador and destroyed U.S. flags in several countries.

This is the point Ali is trying to make; these riots are unjustified and that people are blinded by rage. In fact, most of what Ali states is correct. The riots were motivated by angry Muslims and a few extremists seek out provocation as a way to start fights. But where Ali goes wrong is generalizing. She seems to claim that Muslims in general are an angry bunch filled with violent instincts and oppressive natures. Interestingly enough, many Muslims were the ones who tried rescuing Ambassador Stevens during the attacks in Libya, and many Muslims have openly condemned the violence. Further, Ali seems to believe that all governments based on Islam will reign with terror and repressive stances, searching for fights with Western countries like the U.S. Ali even condemns the religion itself. Perhaps the worst line of the article is when she states that, “it is foolish to derive laws for human affairs from gods and prophets,” clearly attacking Islam.

Without the derogative, over-generalizing comments about Muslims, Ali’s article would have been a great piece that highlighted the issues with a touching personal story. As such, the blanket condemnation of Muslims overshadows the piece and renders the message irrelevant.  

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Neha Nigam

I am currently studying Political Science and History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and am extremely interested in the mind of the American voter. After graduating, I hope to attend law school to study international law.

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