Everywhere in the world there are people whose instinct on being upset is to smash or burn whatever or whoever it is that has upset them. Political maturity tempers their influence in two ways, first by creating a surrounding awareness that other strategies of opposition (such as campaigning, law or simply not caring) might be more effective and second by creating a fairly high threshold for the sorts of sins people have to have committed for smashing or burning to feel like a proportional response.

After the riots sparked by controversial film The Innocence of Muslims, Hugo Rifkind ponders the political maturity of Muslims in the Middle East


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