Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We Didn’t Start the Fire

Last Wednesday news reports began to surface about the arson of a Muslim community center’s storage garage here in Dearborn on June 12th.  Some graffiti insulting Arabs was also spray-painted on the structure.

By the time first news stories came out, CAIR was already calling it a hate crime and “possible religious intimidation.” (“Police unsure that fire, graffiti at Dearborn Woods was racially motivated”).

Imam Mohamad Mardini, of the adjacent American Muslim Center, called the fire an “isolated incident,” and said it was probably done by teenagers.

"See, this is not something because we're Muslims. I mean, yes, it is serious and we want to find who did it. But this is teenagers misbehaving," Mardini said.

Dearborn police were also skeptical that the motive was bias.

"I don't know that I see anything here to turn this into a racially motivated crime," said Sgt. Ken Muscat as he surveyed the scene Wednesday. Muscat and Detective Michael Moyer both said the phallic graffiti wasn't there when they initially checked out the fire Tuesday.

But CAIR already had its teeth in.

“If a bias motive is revealed in this case, the FBI should add its resources to those of local law enforcement authorities to help bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan.

But Walid didn’t intend to wait until a bias motive was or wasn’t revealed, because he’d already started broadcasting to his constituents that it was a hate crime.  That way, CAIR can just go ahead now and add this to its catalogue of hate crimes – more evidence that America is an Islamophobic country. Listen to how far Walid can run with a thing even without a shred of evidence:

"One person I talked to said, 'I can see this happening in Tennessee, but not in Dearborn, Michigan,' " said Walid, who notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the potentially racist crime. "That's a very bad sign of where we are in America.” (“Anti-Arab vandalism at Dearborn community center a "very bad sign of where we are in America," advocate says”).

It’s always helpful when a guy that every media outlet in America refers to as a “civil-rights advocate” maligns the entire population of Tennessee as bigots.

ACCESS Executive Director Hassan Jaber also couldn’t help describing the vandalism as a “possible hate crime.”

By June 15, only two days after the first news stories about this “hate crime,” the Arab American News was reporting that the police had caught the suspects, and they were “young, and probably high school students.”  (“Police catch youth involved in anti-Arab graffiti near Dearborn mosque”). The students were not identified.

Then the story vanished.

So first a teenage prank becomes a hate crime and probably an effort at “religious intimidation,” and then the FBI sticks its nose in and voila!, CAIR now has another pin to stick in its national map of Islamophobic incidents.

And then, just like in this case and the 99.9% of the time, it all turns out to be nothing after all.  But we all know, and CAIR is banking on, how newspapers never run headlines afterwards saying, “Nothing Happened After All!” or “Never Mind!”

The fact that nothing really happened where most of those CAIR pins are stuck in doesn’t matter at all to CAIR.  The point is that there are lots and lots of them, and that all together they make a very large and very ugly stain on that USA map.  A blotch Walid  and Ibrahim Hooper can then point to as proof of  just how bad things are for you if you’re a Muslim in America.

I’m convinced that Walid knew from the earliest reports that this was going to turn out to be some goofy kids committing vandalism. He never believed the FBI was going to turn up evidence of a Christian militia launching the opening attack in their Islamophobic war against an outbuilding full of lawn mowers and garden rakes. As always, Walid’s demands for federal investigation are a cynical tactic in his own war against free speech about Islam in America.

He didn’t care at all about the culprits who started this fire, because punishing some kids for arson won’t give him what he wants. He didn’t care about the American Muslim Center, either, whose imam wanted nothing to do with the damage Walid was causing with his big mouth. On the very first day of this story cycle, Walid was already looking beyond this petty crime to CAIR’s ultimate goal:

"I think there’s a bigger issue we have to deal with in our country, in relation to anti-Muslim, anti-Arab disccusion that takes place," Walid said today. "Islamaphobia, in my opinion has become somewhat of an accepted form of bigotry in our country. Even if it was children, they were influenced by that discussion."

It’s not the serious crime of arson, not even the less serious crime of graffiti.  It’s not even the teenage vandals who started the fire. It’s the discussions we have to criminalize, says Walid.  We started the fire,  by talking openly, where the little pitchers could hear us, about the dangers of Sharia or the violence built into the religion of peace.  Walid wants to stop that.  He wants to stop the discussion, and he wants to stop the people who are having the discussion.

He wants to stop you and me. 

And he doesn’t care how many times he has to scream for a federal case to do it. 

Don’t look any farther, Mr. FBI Special Agent.  You’ve found your religious intimidation.


1 comment:

Dearborn Citizen said...

I have not heard of Imam Mohamad Mardini before, but this incident seems to mark him as a man of integrity. Perhaps a man to watch, to see if he can be a 'community leader' who doesn't spread false stories of victimhood.