In “Wrong,” a guy is chastised by his co-workers for being a source of misinformation. “Steely Dan is not one person,” berates one guy. “We get fringe benefits, not French benefits, it’s not the Leaning Tower of Pizza, and James Dean was an actor—Jimmy Dean makes sausages.” The guy is then told that he’s wrong by thinking that FedEx ground is too expensive. “So we don’t get French benefits?” he replies.Speaking of French benefits, but much less funny, is a recent newspaper exchange between MI-CAIR’s Dawud Walid and Detroit News editor, Nolan Finley. Walid, ungrateful for the cozy chair by the hearth the Detroit News has prepared for him these days, wrote an angry letter responding to Nolan Finley’s plea of a couple weeks ago that Muslims try harder to obey the Sermon on the Mount. Both of them embrace the “fringe” defense of jihadist violence. Writes Walid:
Nolan Finley's column, "Islam must turn the other cheek," (Sept. 12), was contradictory and short sighted, to say the least.Walid fails to address the way Finley’s headline about Islam “turning the other cheek” clumsily confuses two utterly dissimilar religions. Not that I’m going to attempt a digression explaining how Christianity is the only faith that actually counsels “turning the other cheek.” I simply can’t bear labeling the Gospel with that insipid and empty prattle about a “religion of peace.” Christianity may bring peace, or it might bring the sword. Either way, it’s true. Anyhow, I think peacefulness as a religious attribute is overrated. As Mr. Beaver replied when asked if Narnia’s Lion ruler, Aslan, was safe: “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
Islam is not responsible for the "lunatic fringe" that is protesting our nation because of the now canceled Quran burning of Terry Jones. A fringe by definition anyway means outside of the majority mainstream.
American Muslims have overwhelmingly acted responsibly in the face of hatred spewed against us on cable television programs and radio talk shows and by bigots who desecrate our mosques and the Quran.
When I complain that Islam isn’t a religion of peace, it’s not the violence I’m objecting to. I abhor it, but I understand it. When you worship a god with as many insecurities as Allah, and who keeps commanding you to be violent too if you want to make it to Paradise, violence is going to result. It’s not the logic of violence that bothers me, but the lying about the nature of Islam. As Robert Spencer has pointed out, if any nonMuslim dares deny that Islam is a religion of peace, “they rain down the charges of "Islamophobia," "hate," "bigotry" and the like. But when a Muslim says it, they utter nary a peep.”
Nolan Finley still believes that at the heart of Islam beats the sincere Christian message of overcoming evil with good. From, the sound of it, and like so many journalists, (among the worst of whom is Bill O’Reilly), Finley has absorbed the secularist myth that all religions share the same values and the same goals, i.e., that all religions, underneath, are some form of Christianity. Get this wrong, and all the other errors follow as a matter of course.
Accordingly, as Finley sees it, all Muslims need is to “grow up” and learn to accept “antagonism.” After all, didn’t Christ teach his disciples to “turn the other cheek?” Christ, Mohammed. Eh! Same difference. Regardless of Finley’s training in Christianity, he clearly is not a student of the Prophet if he imagines Allah’s spokesman had any intention of tolerating antagonism.
Finley at least started out on the right track when he probed the false “fringe” logic usually deployed to neutralize Islam's violence: “But the lunatic fringe is apparently wide enough to trigger an extreme overreaction from our nation's top offices to a silly little publicity stunt.” Then Finley dropped it. Too bad.
Because I think he was wrong about how wide that so-called “fringe” is. It’s a whole lot wider than just something that triggers overreaction from U.S. security officials. It’s wide enough to knock down the World Trade Center, draw us into two wars, enslave hundreds of millions of people, dominate the news cycle for going on a decade, keep every Western power on a permanent state of alert, and will soon offer the world the first atomic attack since 1945.
The problem with conceding CAIR and the rest of the world’s Islamist front men the false premise that supporters of violent jihadism are just a tiny fringe is that the whole argument about Islam falls right along with it. Consider how, after scapegoating 16,000-plus terrorist attacks onto an Islamic “lunatic fringe,” Walid can bypass that gorilla and get on the with the serious business of blaming the whole thing on “intolerance” and “bigotry” in the USA.
Don’t look now, but he’s just completely removed Islam from the whole discussion of the problem of Islamic violence. That’s why, in response to Finley’s condemnation of “a worldwide wave of bloodshed at the hands of offended radicals” in response to the Terry Jones kerfuffle, Walid can say that “Islam is not responsible for the ‘lunatic fringe’ that is protesting our nation.”
Obviously Islam is responsible. He may as well say the sun has nothing to do with sunburn. Even the most conservative estimates place worldwide support for violent jihad amongst the world’s Muslims at ten percent, which, as has been pointed out, of “1.4 billion Muslims is a lot of people.”
If you want to see a real fringe, a genuine insignificance of lunatic kooks, consider that Terry Jones’s church has only 50 members (and you can bet fewer than that active members). The recent vandalized mosques, and the Qu’ran burned in Lansing, were truly unrepresentative of anything like the American mainstream, and were almost certainly acts committed by individuals acting alone.
You can bet that the Lansing Qu’ran burner was not getting Internet guidance (and financing) from a well-funded and well-protected spiritual advisor in a foreign country (such as al-Awlaki) controlled by a government constituted along the same lunatic principles the arsonist happens to hold. There are no lunatic mosque-defacing graffiti artists who have like-minded counterparts ruling modern nations running three shifts to complete atomic bombs so they can destroy all the Jews in Israel.
Our lunatics may be deplorably ignorant, but they don’t control nuclear programs, Middle Eastern oil, or genocidal armies with long-range missiles.
Most important, when these minor intolerant outbursts take place in America, historically, no one dies. Yet Walid wants us to believe that American intolerance and bigotry, not that Muslim “lunatic fringe,” are the bigger threat on which we should focus.
There are fringes of 30 or 40 people, then there are fringes that form a crescent of 300 million around the eastern Mediterranean.
I can’t see why any thinking American goes along with the pretense that Islamic violence is the product of a small fringe of “hijackers” of a peaceful religion.