The Muslim response to the Pope’s - anti-Islamic - remarks was swift unlike the Danish cartoons. There were demonstrations around the Muslims world and Muslim leaders quickly seized the opportunity to take a popular position. Muslim media have also responded strongly to the remarks.
The Muslim reaction (public, media and leadership) highlights a deeper change in public action in the Muslim world. The public are increasing believing in their ability to bring about change and force their governments to act – i.e. Danish cartoons. This public action is already being used for domestic issues such as the Egyptian election. Muslim media - particularly in the Mid East - is giving the public a chance to be heard by their governments and the rest of the world which is increasingly forcing governments to do something. The media pressure and the serious internal problems in many Muslim countries - corruption, unemployment and lack of freedom – is forcing Muslim leaders to act quickly. In the recent Israel-Lebanon war Arab leaders were slow to respond – and blamed Hezbollah - but then they quickly changed their positions and condemned and rallied for ceasefire – only because of the growing domestic anger of their inaction.
Muslim leaders quickly responded to the Pope’s remarks in fear of missing out. This isn't such a big issue and it was somewhat diffused by the Pope’s “apology” – if we can call it that. But there might be bigger issues in the future – similar to the recent Lebanon war – where Arab leaders can do very little and the media continues to empower the public to speak out.
Update: Abuaardvark has a post on the fast response in Arab world and has a long post on the danish cartoons.
Note: the cartoon is from Emad Hajjaj, a famous Jordanian cartoonist.
Technocrati Tags: Public Opinion, Islam