With protests flaring around the world, some TV news reports make things look pretty bad right now. But that's TV for you.
If you do the math, about one in every 135,000 Muslims is protesting. The violence is criminal and deplorable, and it deserves a carefully planned response, but it's insane to stereotype Islam by it.
If Islam were a city of 135,000, the protesters would be one angry guy. Maybe a small minority could be talked into actively supporting him, and a few more would also be peeved about the same stuff he's screaming about on his lawn, but the overwhelming majority of people are reasonable, understand that there are hateful idiots in every country, and just want to get on with life.
If you'd like an example, look at Libya: the TV never seems to mention it, but on Wednesday—this week, right in the middle of all this—they just elected a new and remarkably Western-facing prime minister (the guy has a Ph.D from CalTech and used to teach in Huntsville, Alabama, no less), Libyans as a whole rate the U.S. twice as favorably as the Muslim Brotherhood, the bad guys are already being hunted down, and their organization (Ansar Al-Sharia) is tiny and probably about to get Seal Team Sixed into oblivion.
The world is not on fire. Adults know not to feed the trolls. Not escalating, and simply treating criminal behavior as criminal, not as some act of war between civilizations, is the only sane response.
Top of my head, I've been to mosques in 14 countries, and I've been welcomed everywhere I've ever gone in the Muslim world. Hatred is not a Judeo-Christian value, an Islamic value, nor a human value. It is just hatred.
More hatred is never the answer.
Don't miss the History Channel's first annual National History Bee this Friday.
The kids were terrific, and it was a pleasure to be work as the "expert analyst" alongside Al Roker, Brian Unger, Rutledge Wood, and the whole gang.
It's an honor to be part of what is sure to become a great annual event.
PS — If you missed the show, you can get it on iTunes.