...Sistani emerges as a voice of calm and common sense:
Iraq's top Shiite cleric also weighed in on the controversy, condemning the publication of the cartoons, but suggesting Muslims were partly to blame for distorting the image of Islam.Sonia remarks, "It's quite ironic that the only Muslim country where there are no widespread anti-cartoon riots is... Iraq."
"We strongly denounce and condemn this horrific action," Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said.
Mr. al-Sistani's remarks, posted on his website and dated Jan. 31, refrained from any calls for protests against the cartoons. Mr. al-Sistani referred to "misguided and oppressive" segments of the Muslim community and said their actions "projected a distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love and brotherhood."
Ironic, perhaps, but hardly surprising. Given the increasing evidence that this entire "protest" was a ruse to distract Muslims from the failure of their tyrannical rulers, it makes perfect sense that the voice of reason should come from the epicenter of the liberation. Alternatively, you could explain this as a result of the Coalition military presence. Those most likely to protest would be the "insurgents" and they are too busy trying to stay out of American gun-sights to afford a public protest. In either case, I am happier about the war effort than I have been in months. Congratulations Mr. Sistani. You are a credit to your country!
UPDATE: But the French still don't get it! Note the paragraphs after the one cited above:
France's Foreign Minister said Friday he was shocked that Islamic hardliners have burned flags to protest caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed printed in European newspapers.Look, monsieur, the problem isn't the flag burning or the positions that they are adopting that is the problem. Those are perfectly legitimate (if somewhat misguided) expressions of free-speech. The problem is with the arson, death threats and other acts of violence.
However, the minister told LCI television: "I'm shocked and I find it unacceptable that, because there were caricatures in the West, extremists can burn flags or adopt fundamentalist or extremist positions that would suggest the caricaturists were right."