IN THE EXCELLENT epic movie, Gandhi, a reporter is talking to Gandhi just as he was beginning his famous Salt March to the sea. The reporter asks Gandhi what he will do if the British don't respond. Gandhi said that the purpose of a campaign is to provoke a response, and if there is no response, to continue to provoke until you get a response or until they change the law.
I was just thinking about that as I was listening to Robert Spencer talk about how ridiculous it is when orthodox Muslims push for the right to have a woman's driver's license picture taken in a burka, with only her eyes showing. This has apparently been tried here in the United States in more than one state.
Another example is the taxi cab drivers in Minnesota refusing to drive someone carrying liquor.
These protests seem petty and even stupid on the face of them. Why go to all that trouble over something so small? But it allows Muslims to provoke responses from non-Muslims. The chance of gaining something is good, and the chance of losing something is very small.
First of all, the move could provoke an overreaction by someone — racist remarks, for example, or some kind of hostile response (or even violence), which would allow the orthodox Muslims to portray themselves as the abused victim, as the persecuted ones, as the oppressed minority. If this portrayal is successful, it gives them leverage in negotiations and public opinion.
Mohammad often portrayed himself and his followers as the persecuted, oppressed people, and Muslims are following his example today (as they are told to do repeatedly in the Quran). This position as the "persecuted ones" justifies hostilities against the persecutors.
Provoking a response, even with something petty, also allows the Muslims involved to make statements in the media. Any kind of event like this is newsworthy. And most journalists want to cover both sides of a grievance, so it allows Muslims a public forum. They can influence the minds of the gullible and gain sympathy.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, if the Muslims in question can successfully portray themselves as "the injured party," they can elicit pity (at least from the non-Muslims who haven't yet read the Quran), and pity disarms good people better than anything.
Whenever you're in a negotiation, if you can appear to be harmed by your opponent, you can often gain a concession from them out of pity, and orthodox Muslims exploit this. They try to make their opponents feel guilty or look bad in the press, and to make things right (or at least to look better), non-Muslims will often concede something to the Muslims. But as you can see, the Muslims didn't give anything. They've gained a free concession. They stired up a little trouble and gained a concession.
And each concession is one inch closer to Sharia law. Each concession is Sharia law. Provoking a response is well worth the time for an orthodox Muslim whose prime directive is to strive to subjugate the world to Sharia law.
These attempts to provoke a response don't seem so stupid now. Sneaky and underhanded maybe. But not stupid.