If Americans stormed the Egyptian embassy and ripped down their flag on a day of national mourning, we’d be globally criticized as disrespectful and insensitive – and rightly so. But there hasn’t been much uproar from the rest of the world since the shoe went on the other foot today.
In fact, it looks like the only response has been a US apology for upsetting the militant population of Cairo.
Here’s the BBC’s report on action in Egypt’s capital this morning:
Protesters have breached the wall of the US embassy in Cairo and torn down a US flag over a US-made film which they say is insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.
The flag, which was flying at half mast to mark the 9/11 attacks, was replaced by an Islamist banner. [The banner’s text? “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger.”]
Thousands of protesters had gathered outside the embassy.
Among the film’s producers is said to be a pastor who burnt copies of the Koran earlier this year.
Among the protesters outside the embassy were hardline Islamists known as Salafists and also members of a football supporters’ club known as Ultras.
They say the film is about to be shown in the US.
The film in question isn’t known, according to CNN, which makes it seem like the protesters just needed a reason to trash the embassy.
The irony, of course, is that these kinds of protest actions feed stereotypes of an “us-against-them” war. It’s remarkably hard for a society so affected by Islamic terrorism to see today’s events as anything but the next chapter of the narrative that began exactly 11 years ago.
If most Muslims want the West and the Middle East to reconcile peacefully, they should be upset by today’s protest. The image of sizable Islamist mob replacing the American flag with the black flag of terrorism on 9/11 is just another reminder of how far away that dream remains.