It was believed that the Arab Spring would start a new era of democracy and freedom of speech.
The winds of freedom that blew over the Arab world instead strengthened the most radical Islamist movements, who took advantage of the situation to the detriment of democratic forces.
The West applauded the access of Islamist currents to power. However, the use of Islam in politics is problematic, especially in societies where the illiteracy rate is very high.
There is indeed an anti-Western sentiment among religious extremists who believe that the West is waging war against Islam and Muslims and covering up the atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.
Although Muslims are offended and do not understand why their Prophet is being attacked, most believe that violence cannot stop these unwarranted assaults on their religion.
Many Muslims recognise that agitation by extremists conveys a bad image of Muslims to the world and triggers attacks by ignorant Westerners against Islam and its symbols.
Instead of promoting the true image of Islam through science, literature, film and art, the Muslim world remains ignorant and reacts to attacks in an impulsive way, generally through the most ignorant fringes of society.
This only serves to provide more arguments for those unable to differentiate between Islam and Muslim extremists.
Muslims should fight against illiteracy and entrench a culture of tolerance in order to earn respect.
And if the West must make an effort to avoid playing on the sensitive strings of religion, especially since it witnessed its own dark centuries of intolerance and inquisition, so too must the Muslim world strive to convey the true image of Islam and banish all forms of extremism and intolerance within its societies and against others.
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