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'Muslim Rage' Becomes 'Muslim Irony'

A young protester during the antigovernment demonstrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square in February 2011: "Enough already, my arms hurt!"
After the U.S. magazine "Newsweek" issued a cover featuring the blaring banner "Muslim Rage" to headline an article by well-known anti-Islam activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it asked readers to use the Twitter hashtag #MuslimRage to give their opinions.

#MuslimRage was soon inundated with responses by Muslims. But the hijacking was probably not exactly what the originators had in mind.

So far, the most popular retweet seems to be along the lines of: "Lost kid at the airport but can't call his name, Jihad." Or: "The waiter didn't tell me the meat I was eating was pork; I was so angry I dropped my glass of wine."

For its part, the tabloid website Gawker has lampooned the "Newsweek" story by presenting images of Muslim "rage" from across the Middle East.

Indeed, as everyone knows, Muslims, and especially Arab Muslims, have no lives, feelings or thoughts external to constant, violent rage, directed at old white people living in the Midwest (due to their freedoms). Sure, only a few thousand people out of populations of millions turned out to protest this goofy anti-Muhammad movie from YouTube, and sure, there was loud outcry against the violence across the Muslim world. But have you seen this photo? Those guys are mad.

As the "Los Angeles Times" observes, the irony of the privately made U.S. film ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad has now come full circle:

Many Muslims in the Middle East were unaware that hardly any Americans had seen the video and that the U.S. government doesn’t preapprove movie releases. In the United States, few Americans know about the hard-line Islamic power players who, in an effort to whip up the base, helped stoke protests that were relatively small by Middle Eastern standards.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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