Karzai’s Incitement

by Andrew Stuttaford

This, from a New York Times account of the riots in Afghanistan, caught my eye:  

The latest protests were set off by sermons at Friday Prayer last week over the Koran burning. The previous week’s Friday Prayer had not provoked such reactions, even though the Koran burning had already taken place.


Both Afghan and international news media had initially played down or ignored the actions of Mr. Jones, the Florida pastor. On Thursday, however, President Karzai made a speech and issued statements condemning the Koran burning and calling for the arrest of Mr. Jones for his actions. On Friday, that theme was picked up in mosques throughout Afghanistan.

 Karzai’s behavior raises some interesting questions. As he almost certainly knew that Mr. Jones had broken no American law, he must just have been playing to the gallery. That Karzai chose to do so in that way says a great deal about him, none of it good.

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