We have had an epidemic problem of violence directed at people perceived as insulting Islam stretching back over 30 years.  That violence is part of a greater Islamist and Jihadist struggle against the West, and encompasses attacks on Christians, Jews and other religious minorities throughout the Middle East.

Sometimes the violence does not even require an insult, as in the case of Daniel Pearl.

That truth is an uncomfortable narrative for the left wing in America, which generally is allied with Islamists against Israel and the West, notwithstanding the obvious ironies.

So how should a left-wing blog react to the wave of violence across the Middle East on the flimsy pretext of a YouTube video few people ever saw produced by some guy no one ever heard of?

Find examples of similar Christian violence driven by a film.

Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars blog found one example, some group which threw a molotov cocktail at a movie theater in France in 1988:

While listening to all the outraged right wing rantings about free speech and how Muslims were a separate, primitive class of religion for their outraged and violent response in Libya to the deliberately provocative work of a California porn director, I kept thinking to myself, “Why does this all seem so familiar?”

And then, last night I watched Martin Scorcese’s 1988 film, “The Last Temptation of Christ”, and it all came flooding back. From Wikipedia:

On October 22, 1988, a French Christian fundamentalist group launched Molotov cocktails inside the Parisian Saint Michel movie theater while it was showing the film. This attack injured thirteen people, four of whom were severely burned ….

Lesson of the day: No religion has a monopoly on irrational violence.

Well, it is a truism that no religion has a “monopoly on irrational violence.”   That hardly makes the two situations equivalent.

Presumably if one searched hard enough there might be other examples of Christian violence over a movie or book in the last 30 years, but you will have to do some searching.   To find Islamist violence, one only need pick up the newspaper.

Here’s an easy test.

Where would you feel more safe in 2012, at a screening of The Last Temptation of Christ, or a public reading of the Satanic Verses or a showing of that video no one had heard about until a few days ago?

(image via Blazing Cat Fur, related story at Twitchy)