2011 Stranger Genius in Literature Lesley Hazleton was flown to an Al Jazeera studio this week for a discussion about Innocence of Muslims, the anti-Muslim video protested round the world. She's a precisely targeted weapon as a thinker and talker, and it comes right through from the start of this conversation. She's calling for the rising up of the reasonable majority over extremists:
"We can call them out. We can call them out. We can call their bluff. We can marginalize them. We can take the piss out of them. We can make fun of them. We can we can show just what idiotic tinpot little bigots they are, until all the world knows it."
I get chills. It's passionate rationalism.
Another guest of interest is Michael Muhammad Knight, of the recent essay The Innocence of White People on VICE.com. He's a white, straight, Muslim American, who writes:
Journalists ask me about Islam’s “crisis” as though it’s a private demon with whom I must personally wrestle every day; meanwhile, my whiteness remains untouched and unchallenged by the decade of hate crimes that have followed 9/11. Journalists don’t often ask whether “white tradition” can be reconciled to modern ideals of equality and pluralism, or whether the “straight male community” is capable of living peacefully in America. When it comes to my participation in America, my whiteness and maleness are far more likely than my Islam to wound others, and thus perhaps more urgently in need of “reform” or “enlightenment” or whatever you say that Islam needs. Again, this is only if numbers matter.
Yes, there’s something that we, the self-identified “West,” don’t understand: ourselves. We see the violence that we want to see. We ignore our legacy of hatred and destruction, always wondering how they can even look themselves in the mirror.