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Who is Going to Stop the Fanatics?

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An avalanche of violence and terror is rolling across the Islamic world. A brief, insignificant movie that dares to caricature the prophet Mohammed in a slightly critical fashion has triggered murder, arson and street battles. Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel condemn the film, but the jihadists continue to murder in Pakistan, Libya and Central Africa. Aided by the Internet the mobilisation of militant fanatics has now become a routine.

The author Salman Rushdie expects a second fatwa from Iran and the bounty on his head has been raised from $2.8 million to 3.3 million. Things are simmering in Egypt, the largest Arab country. The Sinai Peninsula is in danger of becoming a "Wild East". In spite of the anti-American outbursts of rage in Cairo the Egyptian President Mursi appeals to President Obama to empathise more with the bitterness and wrath of the Arab Street. This is a somewhat bizarre reproach if one remembers his genuflexion before the Muslim world in his famous Cairo speech at the beginning of his presidency.

A Europe, which is withdrawn into itself, and a policy of withdrawal on the part of the American President, in view of the whole world, facilitate foreign-policy adventures and claims of hegemony of various players in the region and its surroundings.

There are hardly any reactions from the West: where are the protests against the persecution of Christians in the Arab world? A Coptic academic from Egypt, who asked to remain anonymous, talks of horrible atrocities in the Egyptian provinces. There is only superficial coverage of the burning down of churches, the beating of prelates, the hate propaganda against the Catholic Church in the West Bank and the persecution of missionary orders in North Africa, and there is only scant admonition from the state chancelleries of the "Christian occident".

Where are the official protests against the bloodthirsty propaganda against the Jewish religion of the state and the media in Arab countries? The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", originating in Tsarist Russia, that hate literature in which the drinking of blood of Christian children is described as a secret Easter ritual, enjoys a wide circulation. Not so long ago I saw in a bookshop in Amman not one but two new translations of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and anti-Semitic books of fiction. All this is permitted and tolerated.