Anti-Film Riots in Middle East Much Smaller than Arab Spring Protests

by John Sides on September 16, 2012 · 2 comments

in Comparative Politics,Protest,Violence

While media reports on the Arab uprisings discussed the difficulty of estimating crowd size and pondered what percentage of the population they represented, much of the current media coverage of the recent riots that erupted throughout the Muslim world on September 11, 2012 in response to the anti-Islam film, “Innocence of Muslim,” has described the events as “days of rage” and violence “sweeping” the entirety of almost a quarter of the world’s population.
A simple comparison of the smallest estimates of the crowds that turned out in the early days of the socalled “Arab Spring” in late 2010 and 2011 in the Middle East and North Africa shows that those crowds were much larger than the ones that have formed in the past few days, except in Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, and Qatar.

That is political scientist Megan Reif, writing here (link via Jay Ulfelder).  Further discussion and data at the link.

{ 2 comments }

RobC September 17, 2012 at 1:24 am

Professor Reif writes, “[T]he incredulity with which the media and commentators respond to the expression of anti-American sentiment in light of ongoing drone strikes alone, not to mention the history of American policy in the region, further undermines our image. Muslims will increasingly view Americans as naive, if not hypocritical, if we think that selective support of the Libyan opposition and a few other pro-democracy movements makes us the new champion of freedom in the Muslim world while we avoid decisive action in Syria and ignore demands for freedom in places like Bahrain, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, as well as the results of free and fair elections when we do not like the winners.”

Professor Reif doesn’t seem to have been persuaded that we have embarked on a new beginning in the Middle East. Such criticisms of American military strategy and foreign policy are perhaps what we can expect after America elects a black, Democratic president.

Phil Mason September 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

I don’t find that information the least bit surprising.

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