Newsweek Cover Controversy: Why Muslim Rage Headline Gets It Right


Newsweek is presently enduring a barrage of criticism for its latest cover, which shows Islamic zealots protesting the mere existence of an anti-Islam film, and features the headline, “Muslim Rage.” The movie, Innocence of Muslims, is an atrociously fatuous exercise in both cinematography and religious ridicule that portrays the so-called Prophet Muhammad as a murderous sexual deviant. In Islam, it is considered blasphemous to depict him at all, let alone negatively, making this movie very haraam indeed.

In the wake of the self-righteous castigations Newsweek has received from the agents of political correctness, it behooves us to ask just what is so erroneous about the cover, which heralds a feature article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Unless I am under a severe misapprehension, last week a mob of Islamic extremists — angered by the depiction of Muhammad in the aforementioned obscure film — fired what was possibly a rocket-propelled grenade onto the sovereign territory of the United States that slammed into its consulate in Benghazi, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others. The building was stormed, looted, and set ablaze. Several Libyans attempted to save the mortally wounded Stevens by bringing him to a hospital, but to no avail.

It has already been pointed out, as it ought to be, that the violent faction responsible for this heinous act, as well as their contemptible apologists, represent only a minority of Muslims. However, this hardly discredits the Newsweek cover. As we have seen, there exists a vocal and sometimes dangerous assortment of Islamic extremists who not only insist that theocracy reigns in their home countries, but violently demand that those in other countries never commit blasphemy against Islam. Whether some can ever bring themselves to admit it, “Muslim rage” is a serious problem. 

In August, an 11 year old Pakistani girl was jailed because she allegedly defaced a Quran. Her house was besieged by Muslim fanatics who threatened to burn her and her parents alive.

In April 2011, 12 United Nations workers were murdered — and two were beheaded — in Afghanistan by a mob in response to the burning of a Quran by a pastor… in Florida.

In September 2005 the Danish daily, Jyllands-Posten, published a dozen unflattering cartoons of Muhammad, including one that depicted him with a bomb in his turban. Rabble-rousing clerics circulated the cartoons in subsequent months until the chaos they desired materialized. That chaos brought more than 100 deaths around the world, including at least six who died in the bombing of the Danish embassy in Islamabad. Its embassies in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria, were also torched, as was the Norwegian in Damascus, just for good measure.

In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered because he made a movie called Submission, which criticized the harsh treatment of many women in Islam. (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the Newsweek piece, worked with Van Gogh on the film.)

And in 1988, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses was published. Once again, many Muslims cried blasphemy, with the Ayatollah Khomeini issuing a fatwa against him. Even though he lived in the United Kingdom, Rushdie required round-the-clock protection for more than a decade.

One could go on in this fashion seemingly ad infinitum, as there is no shortage of instances of ghastly behavior by depraved Islamic fanatics. These are only a few of the examples that come to the author’s mind. Those wishing to find equally horrifying episodes of Muslim rage may Google any number of terms that will assuredly yield stunningly grim results: “honor killing,” “Islam and blasphemy,” “Islam and apostasy,” among others.

Again, it should be observed that the vast majority of Muslims did not take to the streets to engage in murderous violence in response to the production of a film, but this does not make “Muslim rage” any less of a menace. While it would be folly to define all practitioners of a given faith by the harmful actions of a minority subgroup of extremists, it would be a grave mistake to ignore the dangerous inclinations of those who burst into violent fits of rage simply because their religious sensitivities were offended.