I recently heard a TED talk in which a college instructor, Sam Richards, discussed the difficulty and usefulness of empathy for an Iraqi insurgent.  I can't help thinking about the recent riots in the middle east over that horrible video.  Can those of us who are not Muslims understand/empathize with the rioters?  Why do the rioters feel the way they do?  Is this way of thinking completely foreign?  Remember, that empathy does not mean that you agree or even sympathize.  Only that you understand.  And if we can, does it get us any closer to improving relations or solving problems?   And can Muslims empathize with the non-Muslim people in the US and Europe that are standing on the principle of free speech?  Or are the cultures simply incompatible?

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