What is your first thought when you see something offensive? It's probably not to get together with a few dozen of your closest friends and burn stuff. As has been the case in similar incidents, the ease of the transition to violence here all but suggests a rampage waiting for an excuse.
Then comes the collective punishment. "Muslim villagers burn houses of Christian family Upper Egypt," from Al Masry Al Youm, December 30:
Dozens of residents of the village of Baheeg in Assiut, Upper Egypt, burnt three houses owned by a Christian family after a Christian villager allegedly published cartoons mocking Islam on his Facebook account.
Cartoon alleged to offend Islam = three houses on fire. This mindset threatens a future of poverty and instability for Egypt, as no one is going to invest in a country where assets can be destroyed in a fit of rage at the drop of a hat.
There can be no prosperous society without stability, and no stability without a sense of priorities and self control on the individual, familial, and societal level. Stable self-government, as Egypt is said to want, depends on the government of the self.
A number of Muslim students attacked their Coptic classmate for posting the cartoons, a Muslim student told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The Muslim students attacked the Coptic student on Thursday at Monqebad Secondary School in Assiut. Eyewitnesses said the military intervened to break up the fight and escorted the Coptic youth and his family away from the village. Later, Muslim villagers set fire to the family’s houses.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze and armed forces and police imposed a security cordon around the site of the incident.
Major General Mohamed Ibrahim, director of security in Assiut, said security forces are attempting to coordinate with Muslim clerics to calm citizens and contain the situation....
The fact that it takes this much to settle the situation speaks volumes.