Category: Muslim

Predictable consequences

Rev. Terry Jones

Reportedly as many as 20 U.N. workers were killed today in Afghanistan during a protest turned violent, and at least two of the dead were beheaded. Demonstrators were protesting the March 20 burning of a Koran by controversial Gainesville, Fla., preacher Terry Jones.

Jones had threatened to burn Korans last September 11 to mark the anniversary of the attacks on America by a group of Muslim extremists. He was pressured, talked, or bribed out of doing it, to the great relief of an anxious nation. But apparently he was determined to carry out his threat sooner or later; on March 20 — “International Judge the Koran Day” — he conducted a mock trial of the Muslim holy book. The book was found guilty of causing murder, rape, and terrorism and was burned.

There was no way under American law to stop Jones’ actions last September, and while he was eventually dissuaded, it was not until after he’d been given far more than his 15 minutes of fame by our ogling media. To the media’s credit, they stayed relatively quiet about the recent book burning. Still, word reached Afghanistan, with deadly results.

An Islamophobic Christian preacher, protected by our Constitution, deliberately desecrates the holy book of more than a billion Muslims. Outraged Muslims half a world away in Afghanistan react violently and kill U.N. workers, none of whom were American.

So who’s to blame for this tragedy? Where does the responsibility lie?

Are you sure?


Update: A later story in the New York Times gives more details of the incident.

Let’s hope Rep. King doesn’t channel Joe McCarthy

Many American Muslims are fearful about today’s hearing with Congressman Peter T. King (R-NY) presiding. But New York Times op/ed contributor Akbar Akmed, in “Fair to Muslims?, feels the hearings are a great opportunity to educate Americans about his community’s diversity and faith.

We all can hope fervently that Akmed’s vision comes about. But there are a great many people, including myself, who sense that Rep. King intends to conduct a witch hunt and seize every opportunity to portray American Muslims as both hiding and supporting Islamist extremism.

I agree that the King hearing could be a great educational opportunity. But I don’t think that’s the plan. I’m in the camp that thinks the hearings will be more like the witch hunts Joseph McCarthy conducted. Yes, it’s an educational opportunity, but the students have to have open minds and be ready and willing to learn. And I don’t see that happening. I fear the hearings will further divide the Muslim community from the rest of America, and there’s been too much of that already. Bigotry, racism, and xenophobia toward Muslims has become dangerously widespread, and I don’t expect these hearings to improve the situation in any way. At best, we can hope the hearings do no harm.

Back off, TSA

In the wake of public outrage over its security measures at US airports, the Transportation Security Administration has come out with all sorts of defensive statements about how thoroughly its screeners are vetted and trained. As if that were the issue.

The outrage is over intrusive pat-downs of women’s breasts and everyone’s inner thighs (supposedly not touching the genitals), and scanning machines that yield images verging on nude photos (images supposedly destroyed right away, even though some have already made it onto the Internet). What’s next? Cavity searches?

There are rumors of sex offenders hiring on as agents so they can get paid to pursue their avocation, accusations that Michael Chertoff encourages the measures because his client sells the scanning machines, concerns about too much radiation exposure for frequent fliers, and knowledgeable assertions that the screening procedures violate our Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

Meantime, all sorts of numbers are being circulated that show how low the odds are that an individual will die on a plane crashed by terrorists. You’re in more danger when you drive on the interstate. You’re in more danger from criminals on the street. People who have given any thought to the matter realize how ridiculous, illogical, and unconscionable — not to mention unconstitutional — it is for our own government to victimize and violate us at airports. The chances of actually catching a terrorist there are slim now, and there are so many other ways and places determined terrorists could strike. Assuming they even try. After all, their job is done; look what we’re doing to each other.

If that weren’t enough, President Obama has given a pass to Muslim women wearing hijabs. Their religion forbids their submitting to the revealing electronic scans, and the president has agreed they shall only be patted down on the head and neck. Political correctness run amok. Reverse profiling. Lunacy. Why bother when you make exceptions like this?

Back off, TSA. Until you have a marriage license, a medical license, or a warrant, you’re not entitled to treat me like your spouse, your patient, or your suspect. As the now-famous John Tyner said, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” Meantime, don’t be surprised if I kick you in the groin or gouge your eyes. Nothing personal, you understand. It’s just a reflex. It’s what my parents, family, school, church, workplace, friends, and society taught me to do if assaulted.

Afterthought: I wonder how long these procedures would remain in place if all our Washington lawmakers and their families were forced to go through such searches. They all fly privately, of course, so they don’t have to endure such “inconveniences” at public airports.