Two News Stories

This one got a lot of attention: Afghan Muslims rioted in Mazar-e Sharif, storming the United Nations headquarters there and murdering at least seven people:

Thousands of Afghans mobilized after midday sermons and speeches denouncing the actions of Terry Jones, a preacher in Gainesville, Fla., who burned the Islamic holy book on a grill last month.

It is impossible to imagine adherents of any other religion being whipped into a murderous frenzy by a religious service. What the U.N. employees and their guards–there to protect them from Islamic “extremists”–had to do with Terry Jones is anyone’s guess.

Amid a chaotic scene of knife-wielding protestors and policemen shooting wildly, some in the crowd broke into the U.N. office, past high walls and foreign and Afghan security guards, torched guard towers, and attacked and killed members of the U.N. staff, officials said.

This photo was taken in Mazar-e Sharif, apparently before the violence began. The sign says, “Down with America, down with Obama.” Apparently having a President with the middle name “Hussein” isn’t such a big deal after all.
The second story took place in London and got little publicity. An Israeli company called Ahava, which makes skin care products and the like, had a store in Covent Garden. After years of protests by “pro-Palestinians,” the store was finally driven out:

The UK branch of Israeli cosmetics store, Ahava, is moving from its central London shop after years of pro-Palestinian demonstrations. … The owner of the shop, currently in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, is looking for other sites after owners of neighbouring stores complained to the landlord following protests.
Supporters claim it has been “chased out” of its location by regular “noisy and intimidating” demonstrations.

That claim is well founded, evidently.

Pro-Palestinian protesters have been demonstrating fortnightly outside the shop, which opened in April 2007, for more than two years. A counter group of pro-Israeli supporters also demonstrate outside.
Police were drafted in to control the protests and set up a meeting last October between the protesters and other shop managers.
Last week, four demonstrators stood trial for aggravated trespass after they chained themselves to a concrete block inside the store last year.

Such conduct makes it impossible to run a normal business. Unfortunately, neighboring business owners haven’t been very sympathetic:

Colin George, manager of clothes shop The Loft, next door to Ahava, said: “I’m pleased Ahava is leaving. It’s brought the street down. I’ve complained to the landlords, as has everyone here. Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they had left two years ago.
“Protesters are just going to follow them around, wherever they go. Maybe they should be an online business instead.”

Maybe Israel should just disappear. But, of course, the problem is not Israel’s; it is everyone’s. There is a great deal of evidence that Islam is an inherently aggressive, expansionist movement–more a political movement than a religious one.
Can Islam coexist in a diverse world? It has done so in recent centuries, of course, but it is beginning to appear that this period of accommodation may have been an aberration caused by the extreme weakness of Islamic countries and the relative lack of interaction between Islamic and non-Islamic cultures. Whether coexistence is still possible under modern conditions is a question that does not yet have an answer.
UPDATE: A more recent report says the death toll may be 20, and that the Muslims beheaded two of the U.N. guards.


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