Struggle for Ideological Upper Hand in Muslim World Seen in Attacks

(New York Times) Robert F. Worth - As in earlier riots that followed the burning of Korans in Afghanistan and the publication of anti-Islamic cartoons in Denmark, once again many in the West found themselves asking why Islam seems to routinely answer perceived blasphemies with violence. Bernard Haykel, a professor of Middle East studies at Princeton University, said, "It's true that there are sanctions against insulting the Prophet, but this is really about political or symbolic opportunists, who use religious symbols to advance their own power or prestige against other groups." Libya and Egypt are especially vulnerable to this kind of contest over symbols and power, where newly empowered ultraconservative religious groups known as Salafis are keen to assert their visibility and influence.

2012-09-13 00:00:00

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