Michael Totten

Muslims Against Terror

Chan’ad Bahraini, blogging from Bahrain, posted a photo gallery of a demonstration against terrorism in front of the British Embassy. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
A few photos jumped out at me:
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When I visited Rafik Hariri’s grave site in downtown Beirut a local man explained to me how moving it was to see candles placed in front of his coffin. The reason was because candles, at least in Lebanon, are explicitly Christian. They are not a part of the Muslim tradition. Rafik Hariri was a Sunni Muslim. And so it was shocking in a good way, or so I was told, for Muslims to see Christians lighting candles for him.
I don’t know if it means anything in particular that Muslims in Bahrain specifically used candles to show their solidarity with the people of Britain. Perhaps candles don’t mean the same thing in Bahrain as they do in Lebanon. I really don’t know. In any case, it obviously means a great deal that Bahraini Muslims feel a sense of solidarity with Christian victims of Islamic terrorism.
We owe it to them to take note and not shrug our shoulders. We are obligated for the same reason Muslims in the Middle East ought to note that the United States took the side of the Muslims — not the Christians — in the sectarian civil war that tore the former Yugoslavia to pieces. (We didn’t take their side because they are Muslims. We took their side because the Orthodox Christian regime of Slobodan Milosovic was unspeakably barbarous.)
Only 100 or so people attended the event in Bahrain. That isn’t very many, and I do wish the number were higher — a lot higher. It is worth pointing out, though, that Bahrain is a miniscule country and that only 453,237 people who live there are Bahraini nationals. That’s roughtly the size of the metro area of Des Moines, Iowa. If you want to see a million people march against terrorism, you aren’t going to see it in that little country.
This reminds me of something a military friend of mine told me a couple of years ago. He was briefly stationed in Bahrain. One day he went shopping in one of the downtown malls wearing his uniform. An elderly Arab man – a total stranger – wearing traditional flowing white clothing approached him unbidden, gave him a hug, and said “I am so so sorry about September 11.” It was all my friend could do not to break down in tears. He has only the kindest sweetest things to say about the people who live in that country.