Charles C. Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum in Washington, has published an opinion column in The Tennessean that exemplifies the jarring dishonesty of the anti-anti-jihad mentality. (“In 2012, we must work to stem tide of Islamophobia”).
Disguised as a defense of religious freedom, Haynes’s article condemns the Lowe’s controversy as capping “a very successful year for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States,” successful, that is, “for its anti-mosque protests, anti-Shariah laws and anti-Muslim hate crimes.”
We’ve long since recognized citation to “anti-Muslim hate crimes” as a shibboleth for anti-anti-jihadists, unsupported by the facts.
Haynes’s sloppiness is telling, because he bolster his other points with appeals to unidentified “studies” and “scholarship.” For example, Haynes writes that “studies show high levels of opposition to radical Islam and extreme interpretations of Shariah law among Muslim Americans,” and “Muslim leaders and institutions in the U.S. help in the fight against extremism.”
Help? Such as in the form of this poster that CAIR created, the one Corey Saylor had to try to explain away later as “not consistent with CAIR’s policy of constitutionally informed cooperation with law enforcement.”
Studies and scholarship aside, Haynes summarizes the message of counterjihadists this way: “Portraying Muslims as ordinary Americans is problematic, if not wrong and dangerous, because it may lull the rest of us into ignoring the stealth threat of Islam and Muslims to the freedom and security of the United States.”
He’s wrong again. Yes, we do want to raise the alarm about the stealth threat of Islam, but we couldn’t care less about portraying Muslims in America, especially if they’re ordinary. Ordinary Americans aren’t our focus. And if there are American Muslims who do catch our eye, you can be sure it’s not for behaving like ordinary Americans. Ordinary Americans don’t belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, they don’t chant in front of Dearborn City Hall that Hezbollah’s Secretary-General is “our leader!”, and they don’t preach that “The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."
As Orwell said once about what’s necessary in degraded times, “restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” So here it is. We were attacked on 9/11, and that attack was waged by Muslim jihadists who couldn’t have been any clearer that they and Allah are at war with us. Many Muslims in America, citizens and otherwise, are sympathetic with that war. Many are not sympathetic, but they’re not our subject. We don’t pull the fire alarm for the houses that aren’t bellowing smoke. Notwithstanding Haynes and his allies’ tiresome libels, the statement of the plain fact that there’s a jihad being waged against us does not “paint all Muslims with the terrorist brush.” All we’re doing is restating the obvious, just like Orwell said we should.
But Haynes objects that stating the obvious diverts “Americans from our shared goal of fighting extremism (of all varieties) and securing our safety and freedom.”
Why in hell would it? Haynes never explains how we can all fight extremism “(of all varieties)”, when he and his friends shout down as bigotry anyone’s attempt to shed light on a particular variety of extremism.
Haynes likes the idea that we’re fighting an extremism with no name – or many names. But even he can’t keep from mentioning the name that sticks out, admitting himself that the world is “plagued by extremists acting in the name of Islam.” Yes, I suppose a “pile of studies” makes that conclusion unavoidable even to Haynes. But while that part of the story is obvious to most Americans already, (even without a pile of studies to make it so), ever since 9/11 the country has been too afraid to have the perfectly reasonable discussion about why it is all these extremists are acting in the name of Islam.
That fear is the work product of a wrecking crew of jihadists, dhimmis, and liberal anti-anti-jihadists who’ve absolutely forbidden -- under pain of banishment from polite society -- the rest of us to examine the Religion of the Prophet any closer than we can make out in the embroidery of Karen Armstrong’s “Islam Is Peace” tea towel. The thousands of terror attacks, plots, and threats carried out by jihadists as acts of their Islamic devotion have been a deadly Muzak piping into the nation’s historical consciousness, reaching on some level even the country’s most resolutely uninformed Pollyanas. But if anyone dares to act as a clearinghouse for that data, or draw logical inferences from it, he’s condemned for engaging in the lowest form of immorality on one side, and threatened with legal action on the other.
Haynes describes “All-American Muslim” as “an innocuous television show created to fight stereotypes.” The Florida Family Association (who Lowe’s said anyway was not responsible for the decision to pull their ads), believed that the show wasn’t so innocuous, because it wasn’t so much fighting stereotypes as creating a partial – and dishonest -- picture of reality. For their concerns, the people at FFA (and anyone caught agreeing with them) have been condemned as bigots spreading hate speech and intolerance and, of course, “Islamophobia.” Haynes sounds determined to keep that hackneyed crutch-word term on life support for yet one more year.