Opinion: What really enrages Muslims? Twitter knows

by Richard Allen Greene

What really enrages Muslims?

Having a really good hair day – but no one knows because you wear a hijab.

Not being able to say “Hi” to your friend Jack in a plane – or to call out for your nephew when he gets lost in an airport because his name is “Jihad.”

The 72 virgins all turn out to be male.

The tongue-in-cheek answers are part of an explosion of sharply satirical responses on Twitter to a Newsweek magazine cover showing Muslim men in turbans and keffiyahs, apparently rioting, under the banner all caps headline “MUSLIM RAGE.”

Thousands of Muslims have made fun of the magazine headline since Monday, when it published a long article by the Somali-born writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who describes herself as a “combatant in the clash of civilizations.”

She links this month’s protests against an online film making fun of the Muslim prophet Mohammed – which have resulted in several deaths around the world, including that of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens – to the reaction in 1989 against Salman Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses.”

“In 23 years not much has changed,” Ali argues. “Islam’s rage reared its ugly head again last week.

“The American ambassador to Libya and three of his staff members were murdered by a raging mob in Benghazi, Libya, possibly under the cover of protests against a film mocking the Muslim Prophet Muhammad,” Ali writes.

Newsweek’s cover puts Ali herself at the heart of the story about “Muslim rage,” with the sub-heading: “How I survived it. How we can end it.”

Ali, a sharp critic of Islamist violence and of what she sees as Europe’s limp response to it, claims that the rioters represent mainstream Muslim views.

“The Muslim men and women (and yes, there are plenty of women) who support – whether actively or passively – the idea that blasphemers deserve to suffer punishment are not a fringe group. On the contrary, they represent the mainstream of contemporary Islam,” she argues.

The “many Muslims and ex-Muslims” who “unambiguously condemn” the murders and riots “are marginalized and all too often indirectly held responsible for the very provocation.”

But by Tuesday morning, on Twitter at least, far from being marginalized, those Muslims were relentlessly making fun of Newsweek and Ali.

One tweet showed the magazine cover doctored to make the rioting Muslim men look like glam rockers, replacing the headline with “Muslim Rave.”

Remi Kanzai riffed on the same theme: “Just add nighttime & glow sticks. It goes from #MuslimRage to #MuslimRave.”

Some of the more serious tweets dealt with the discrimination Muslims feel at airports: “When a ‘female assist’ is called before I even walk through the metal detector.”

But many kept the mood light, complaining about work, family, Islamic restrictions on eating pork and drinking wine, or fasting during Ramadan.

“The Dark Knight Rises came out in Ramadan,” one complained.

And some aimed their barbs directly at the writer of the provocative piece.

“Whaaaaat?!” Megh demanded. “Ayaan Hirsi Ali doesn’t have an active Twitter account?!”

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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