Saturday, April 23, 2011

Abdridged, Bothered, and Bewildered, or, O'Reilly Writes Again

Flush from his victory over yet another very close call in Dearborn with what he refers to as “creeping free speech,” Mayor Jack O’Reilly is back at work on a follow up Open Letter to the one he published in the Press & Guide this past week.

A first draft of the letter has found its way to us here at Dearborn Underground. Naturally we’re happy to pass it along:

Open Letter to Dearborn Residents

People of Dearborn!

The threat has passed! And now, may we of Dearborn’s interfaith community all join hands around our city in a circle of Unity, Diversity, and Gratitude to the deity of your choice -- or no deity at all, we’re totally cool with that here: (did you know that over 40,000 atheists from all over world came to work at Henry Ford's Rouge Plant for $5.00 a day?) -- anyway, Gratitude for giving us this tremendous victory over those two guys in Harley Davison t-shirts.

Return to your homes! Enjoy your freedom to practice your religion without fear of contradiction! Consume in peace a Dearborn sausage! Allahu Akhbar!

This tremendous Good Friday victory could only come about because of the dedicated hard work of several leading notables, what I can only describe as a “Dream Team.”

First and foremost we’ve got Dearborn’s very own Chief of Police, Ronald Haddad. Without Chief Haddad’s courageous act of declaring under oath that he had hard information that Pastor Terry Jones intended to burn a Qu’ran on Friday and provoke a riot, prosecutors would never have been able to hale Pastor Jones into court to answer a trumped-up criminal complaint.

And while it’s true that the Chief had to admit during Friday’s trial that he had never had any such evidence that Jones intended to burn a Qu’ran, everyone who saw him there assures me that the Chief looked as splendid as he always does in his Chief of Police uniform. Lookin’ good, Chief!

Equally valuable was Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s dedicated focus on stopping Jones from speaking before he even got here. Thanks to the Prosecutor’s ingenious

unearthing of an unenforced
1846 law, our Dream Team was able to come up with a plan to put a restraint on what Jones had in mind, prior to his actual appearance at the protest site! What a GREAT Constitution we have! And you go, girl!

And what can I say of our Islamic partners in freedom, such as Imam Hassan Qazwini, of the Islamic Center of America, and Dawud Walid, of CAIR?

Imam Qazwini and Dawud both were constantly showing up in the media, and they both were constantly saying the same thing, which is that of course Pastor Jones has a perfect right to protest here. Meanwhile, they were both doing everything in their power to assist us in preventing it!

Thank you both. My hand is on my heart right now, guys, really.

And Imam Qazwini, I know you’re especially happy to know that the public property in front of your mosque is now a legally recognized “No Permit/No Free Speech Zone.” You know that’s gotta make the Mullahs in Tehran sit up and take notice. And, just as good, no one else will be allowed to spew any hate around the Islamic Center of America. Unless you invite them,

You’re welcome!

And you have to know that Judge Somers has become an indispensable addition to our executive/judicial partnership. Judge Somers has become Dearborn’s wisest jurist on the legal subtleties of “breach of the peace.” (For instance, I never realized before that “free speech” rhymes with “he breach”! Thanks, Judge! I wish I’d paid better attention in law school.)

Anyway, in 2010 Judge Somers had the opportunity to refuse to dismiss another bunch of trumped-up criminal charges against some Christian missionaries in another case that, just coincidentally, alsohad nothing to do with First Amendment Rights; it [had] to do with public safety.”

Of course I’m talking about those crusaders who were breaching the peace at our World Famous Arab International Festival (which by the way gets over 300,000 visitors each year from all over the world). Chief Haddad helped us out on that one too! Along with breaching the peace, Chief Haddad also informed me he had solid intelligence from a local imam that the four missionaries were polytheists, but for some reason the city attorney pooh-poohed charging them with that, too. I guess there’s no ordinance against that in Dearborn at this time. In spite of Judge Somers’s efforts, all four polytheists did end up being acquitted by some dumb jury. But, as any one of the over 18,000 bar flies who visit one or more of Dearborn’s many alcohol licensed bars each month like to say so much, it was “all good”: I still got to go on national TV and explain that there is no Sharia in Dearborn, or anywhere else in the world!

You’re welcome!

What I want to say is, let’s just all remember what Abraham Lincoln said about our freedoms: “Constitution yesterday, Constitution today, Constitution forever!”

And I want to emphasize again that here in Dearborn everyone can rest assured that your freedom of speech will not be abridged, ever, unless, just like the First Amendment also says, letting you speak is going to violate someone’s right not to hear what you have to say.

So I’m hoping to see each and every one of you somewhere this Summer. Maybe at the world famous Henry Ford, (where over 1.5 million people visit each year), or at Dearborn Sausage, (where over 1.2 million sausages are purchased each year) or even at B.T.’s, (where over 14,000 lap -- well, never mind that. Just say where many hard-working autoworkers of every race, creed, and religion have been enjoying Sharia-free adult entertainment for over 30 years).

Yours in Keeping Dearborn Safe,

Mayor Jack (“Constitution”) O’Reilly

Now What, Dearborn?

Now what, Dearborn? We let Jack O’Reilly, a mob of lefty stooges, and a posse of unicorn-herding “interfaith leaders” drive Terry Jones -- and the First Amendment--out of Dearborn.

Do you think you’re more free, today. Or less free?

The American flag outside my house is flying upside-down. For me this is not a sign of disrespect, but of national distress.

It was the least I could do.

McCarthy on Zakat

From the indispensable Andrew McCarthy at NRO:


Zakat is not about charity, but jihad.

‘In the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to
fulfill their religious obligation,” President Obama claimed during his 2009 Cairo speech. “That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.”

This statement contained two falsehoods. One, as I’ve previously detailed, was obvious: There are, in fact, no American laws or rules that make it harder for Muslims to give to charity. What we have are laws against material support of terrorism — against using devices like charitable fronts to channel money to jihadists. Those laws are not directed at Muslims. They apply to everyone but are applied most often to Muslims, because Muslims carry out most anti-American terrorism.

The other falsehood was more subtle: the president’s suggestion that the religious obligation of zakat — one of the “five pillars of Islam” — is the equivalent of “charitable giving.” It is not. Zakat is every Muslim’s obligation to contribute to the fortification of the ummah, the notional worldwide Islamic nation. And that very much includes the funding of violent jihad against non-Muslims.

When an earthquake devastated Haiti last year, the West, led as always by the Great Satan, instantly opened its heart and pocketbook. Within days, as the Foundation for Defense of Democracy’s Claudia Rosett reported, the U.S. government had pledged $90 million in public funds, 44 percent of the total anted up by governments worldwide. That was just a fraction of the true American contribution.

Despite a deep recession and widespread unemployment, private citizens contributed tens of millions of dollars to the relief efforts. In addition, our armed forces mobilized to provide food, medical treatment, and other humanitarian aid. Untold additional millions in American aid backed relief efforts by the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the World Bank. The economic downturn was global, but still European, Canadian, Japanese, and South American governments and citizens also donated millions.

What of the world’s Muslims? Over the same period of time, they accounted for a whopping 0.1 percent of the total donations committed by governments — basically, a rounding error for a Saudi sheikh’s weekend in Vegas. Drawing a telling contrast, Ms. Rosett noted that the House of Saud’s annual contribution to ICRC operations in 2008 came to a grand total of $216,460 — less than a penny per Saudi, though quite generous compared with the $50,000 kicked in by Iran, whose population is three times larger. By contrast, the United States gave $237.8 million.

How could it be that the oil-drenched realm of zakat – of what we are to believe is obligatory benevolence — lags so embarrassingly behind Dar al-Greed? Very simple: Zakat is not “charity” as we understand that term.

Muslims are taught that charity means Muslims aiding Muslims, for the purpose of fortifying and extending the ummah until all the world is Islam’s domain. “Of their wealth, take alms,” instructs Allah in the Koran (9:103), “that so thou mightest purify and sanctify them.” Thus, zakat may be given only to Muslims.

Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Umdat al-Salik) was compiled by the renowned Muslim jurisprudent Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri in the 14th century. It is the most authoritative source on the subject of sharia (Islamic law), having been certified by al-Azhar University in Cairo — the font of Sunni learning — as conforming “to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community.” In fact, when an English edition of Reliance (now available through was published in 1994, it won gushing praise from the government of Saudi Arabia (where sharia is the only law), as well as the governments of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, all of which incorporate sharia in their legal systems. Reliance is quite blunt on the matter: “It is not permissible to give zakat to a non-Muslim.”

That is mainstream Islam, as the Haiti earthquake-relief effort reaffirms. In Social Justice in Islam, the late but still highly influential Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb explained that zakat is the “share taken by the [Islamic] state and spent on the welfare of Muslims to supply their bodily needs, to preserve their dignity, and to protect their power of conscience.”

More recently, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani at Sunni Path, the “Islamic Academy” that has become popular among Muslim web-surfers, observed that in all major schools of Islamic jurisprudence “there is consensus . . . that a non-Muslim (dhimmi) cannot be given any zakat.” We grubby capitalists may see Haitians as suffering beyond calculation, but for Muslims there is a calculation: The Haitians are infidels. The families of Palestinian suicide bombers and imprisoned al-Qaeda terrorists
rate a brotherly helping hand, and the Haitians don’t.

In fact an essential purpose of zakat is to underwrite jihad. Americans see it as a dangerous fraud when Islamic charities are used as fronts for terrorist organizations. In mainstream Islam, however, there is no fraud at all — not if your understanding of “charity” is zakat.

“It is obligatory,” according to Reliance of the Traveller, “to distribute one’s zakat among eight categories of recipients, one-eighth of the zakat to each category.” The manual goes on to describe these categories, the seventh of which is “those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster.”

Al-Misri, the 14th-century scholar, did not dream that one up — and there was no al-Qaeda around to “hijack” Islam from him. He pulled it right out of the Koran. Sura 9:60, the verse most often associated with zakat, directs that “alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the funds; for those whose hearts have recently reconciled to Truth [i.e., to Islam]; for those in bondage [like those imprisoned terrorists] and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer. Thus is it ordained by Allah.” Echoing Reliance, the official Saudi version of the Koran annotates this verse with the clarification that “in the cause of Allah” refers to “those who are struggling and striving in Allah’s cause by teaching or fighting . . . [and] who are thus unable to earn their ordinary living.”

The stark fact is that the Islamic conception of alms unabashedly embraces what the brilliant scholar of Islam Raymond Ibrahim describes as “the money jihad” (jihad al-mal). A canonical hadith quotes Mohammed’s sentiments: “He who equips a raider so he can wage jihad in Allah’s path . . . is himself a raider.” That is, he achieves the same status as those Mohammed said would be most richly rewarded in the afterlife for having done the greatest service to Allah. Indeed, the Koran actually prioritizes the need to fund violent jihad over the need to fight it. Sura 9:41 declares: “Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if you but knew.” As Ibrahim elaborates, several other verses “make the same assertion and, more importantly, in the same order: striving with one’s wealth almost always precedes striving with one’s life, thereby prioritizing the former over the latter.”

Ibrahim is quite right when he says the West’s tireless portrayal of Islamic charities as akin to “the Salvation Army, a Christian charity organization whose ‘ministry extends to all, regardless of age, sex, color, or creed,’” is flatly false. In Islam, it’s all about Islam. Zakat, like all Islamic tenets, serves the overarching cause of elevating Islam, to the exclusion and at the expense of nonbelievers. When President Obama proclaims his determination to ensure that Muslims “can fulfill zakat,” and when his Justice Department follows up that proclamation by relaxing the enforcement of federal laws against material support of terrorism, this is the system they are abetting.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Announcing Dearborn's Official 'No Free Speech' Zone

From Reuters:

Terry Jones, 59, was sent to the county jail in Detroit after he declined to meet the terms of a ruling by District Judge Mark Somers in an apparent protest.

Somers had ordered Jones and a supporter, Wayne Sapp, to each pay $1 under the terms of an order that would have also barred them from the Islamic Center of America mosque and nearby public property for three years.

That should keep things quiet.

By the way, Jones and Sapp have been criminally convicted of absolutely nothing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yes, We Have No Sharia, or, So Darling, Save the Lap Dance for Me

Could it really be all that stands between us and paying the jizya tax is a G-string?

In an open letter Wednesday to Pastor Terry Jones, Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly Jr. blasted claims that his city is under Islamic law, noting it has three strip clubs and a factory that makes pork products sitting across the street from a mosque.

“None of that should be allowed under Shari'a law,” O'Reilly wrote, referring to a set of Islamic rules and customs. (“Mayor O'Reilly's open letter to Pastor Terry Jones”).

Mayor Jack forgot to mention that Dearborn also has Miss USA Rima Fakih, who’s not afraid to pole dance.

As Niraj Warikoo at the Detroit Free Press reports it, “city officials, Muslim Americans and others see the anti-Shari'a efforts as part of a campaign to whip up hysteria against Muslims and score political points.” (“Detroit Suburb Fights Pastor's Mosque Rally”).

This kills me, because we’re the ones who are supposed to be hysterical. And yet this Terry Jones thing has Mayor Jack so worked up that His Honor is actually publishing an open letter that Dearborn boasts three strip clubs and enough bars to people skid row for a hundred years. (“Mayor O'Reilly's open letter to Pastor Terry Jones”).

O’Reilly usually can’t say ten words in public without breaking into a plug for Greenfield Village, “where more than 1.5 million visitors come each year from across the country!” and now he’s updated his tourist tagline to “Visit Dearborn! Come for our Constitutional freedoms, but stay for our VIP Rooms!”

Why is it I can’t shake this image of a 12-year-old kid sucking desperately on a cigarette to impress hoodlums demanding proof he’s not a sissy?

Suggestion to Mayor O’Reilly: If you want to reassure us that we’re enjoying the First Amendment here and there’s no Sharia, skip the examples of how depraved we all still are and show us some proof of where Islam can be publicly criticized in Dearborn without the chief of police getting involved.

This is what Mayor Jack has driven himself to. He first dug himself into this when he deprived those Acts 17 fundamentalists of their civil rights two years in a row at the Arab Festival. That was such a transparent effort to placate Dearborn’s Muslims that no one believes him now when he insists he supports nonMuslims’ rights, no matter how much he talks about the Bill of Rights. Now we have a county prosecutor (and shame, shame, SHAME on you, Kym Worthy) filing a criminal “complaint to institute proceedings to prevent crime,” and alleging, ludicrously, that “Pastor Jones will jeopardize the safety of the public by committing an act against the person or property of another in the form[ ] of burning a Koran." In other words, he might actually commit an act that is protected by the Constitution, but a capital crime under Sharia!

Maybe we should be grateful that Mayor Jack at least admits the existence of Sharia somewhere in the universe. I’m talking about when his open letter explains that it would never be allowed under Sharia to have a pork-processing plant across the street from a mosque.

And what is that supposed to prove? We’re not idiots. Those of us raising concerns about Sharia have never tried to say Dearborn is under as tight a Sharia grip as Iran is under the Mullahs. When we discuss Sharia we characterize it as “creeping,” as Islam in Dearborn.

It’s an axiom with us that where the Muslim community’s a minority, it’s not going to be imposed with the rigor with which it’s imposed now in Gaza, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Southern Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, and, oh, you get the idea: all localities where Islam is the dominating majority. We don’t have to have a total Sharia to have Sharia. If the MSA exists in Dearborn, (it does), there is Sharia, along with the Muslim Brotherhood. (One word: footbaths). If Hezbollah is being funded and supported here, (which it is), that is Sharia. If you see a woman whose face is covered, you are looking at the face of Sharia. Christian missionaries are being arrested for evangelizing at public festivals. What else is that supposed to be but the civil law enforcing the strictures of Islam against evangelizing Muslims?

Mayor Jack’s pronouncement that there is no “Sharia law being practiced in the courts or civil law of Dearborn [or] … in our courts, [or] at our City Hall, [or] in any of our places of worship” protests too much, as false protests always do.

We can ask the Acts 17 evangelists, or now, Terry Jones (whose jury is being selected as we speak) if there’s any Sharia in our civil law. That’s the big argument, now, isn’t it? But then our Mayor Jack insists in his open letter that “Sharia Law is church- or faith-based law that is applicable only to the followers of that faith. For me it is Cannon [sic] Law of Catholicism, in Judaism it is Torah Law, and for Muslims it is Sharia Law.”

But as for its private practice, are there really no Muslims who follow Sharia, (or no Catholics who follow Canon Law, even in our “places of worship”)? This is how desperation talks. Deny Sharia in civil law you may have an argument. Deny no one anywhere in Dearborn is under Sharia, and now you’re just lying to us.

No one’s buying it. Even the ACLU has to admit that, “The government can not silence demonstrations in anticipation that their message will not be welcomed,” and, “As reprehensible as [Jones’s} beliefs may be, we believe this is an unconstitutional attempt to limit his unpopular speech.”

Which leaves Plan B, the excuse that Terry Jones and his one-man entourage will overwhelm a huge grassy easement along Altar Road and cause the media to block access to Good Friday services at the neighboring churches. The Dearborn Press & Guide is reporting that “city officials said they will not allow the expected gaggle of media and counter protesters to prevent parishioners from attending services.”

Jones’s protest is scheduled for 5:00 pm, two hours after the end of Christians’ traditional noon to 3:00 pm Good Friday services. Who exactly is buying all this?

The fact remains that all this hullabaloo isn’t about preventing a riot or a media crush at all. It’s all about getting Jones to deploy his one-man entourage and his megaphone somewhere else than the front doorstep of the Islamic Center of America. No one has explained yet who it is exactly that’s expected to riot if Jones protests in front of the ICA. Nor has Kym Worthy filed a complaint against the future crime of whomever it is she thinks is going to break out into a riot in response. Nor is she explaining why she hasn’t filed a criminal complaint against them. Civil liberties experts agree that it’s not Jones’s problem Jones insists he has no intention of burning another Qu’ran.

But even if he does, who exactly is expected to riot? And why wouldn’t a riot break out at City Hall, located in the heart of Arab east Dearborn, under the same circumstances? No one has a dimmer view of Dearborn’s Islamic leaders than I do, but the jihadist program is not taking the form here it does in the Middle East and the Maghreb, where Friday prayers in the mosques lead to violent rampages against infidels. Islam does not manifest in Dearborn as that kind of violence, or even violence at all. Nor have I ever said it does. I am the last person who expects that, even if Terry Jones were to break his word and do a Full Monty by setting alight a Qu’ran outside the Islamic Center of America, that a crowd of Dearborn Muslims are going to break out into a riot.

And I don’t believe Mayor Jack or Kym Worthy or Chief Haddad really expect that, either. Which is all the more reason I’m disgusted with them for hiding behind public safety to impose a lawless speech ban on Terry Jones.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wanted: Minority Report

In another defeat for the First Amendment in Dearborn, Dearborn police and Wayne County prosecutors are attempting to impose prior restraint on Terry Jones’s protest against Sharia in front of the Islamic Center of America this Friday.

People argue about whether or not we’re under Sharia here in Dearborn.

I only wonder when we stopped being under the Constitution.

According to the Detroit News: “The prosecutors' petition — ‘a complaint to institute proceedings to prevent crime’ — is believed to be unusual.”

Unusual? I’ll say. I’ve only heard of proceedings to prevent crime in that Tom Cruise movie where people are arrested in the present for “futurecrimes” they’re predicted to commit in the future.

The motion against Jones predicts the "likelihood of a riot ensuing, complete with discharge of firearms." A riot? All Jones said is that he was going to demonstrate against Sharia. He carries a pistol openly, but there’s no evidence he ever threatened to discharge it, nor has he threatened any vandalism against the mosque.

Nonetheless, police chief Ronald Haddad has stated to the court that, "Intelligence received leads me to believe that Pastor Jones will jeopardize the safety of the public by committing an act against the person or property of another in the form[ ] of burning a Koran."

Jones hasn’t announced any intention of burning a Qu’ran. But even if he did, if it’s Terry Jones’s Qu’ran, who is the person, or what is the property of another against which he’s committing an act? Allah and his good name? The followers of Islam and their right to never hear their religion being maligned?

So far it’s still no crime to burn a Qu’ran in Dearborn, America. Unless Haddad has in mind that Hezbollah has declared it an “abominable crime,” and a “cause for warfare” (fitna), to burn a Qu’ran. As far as anything Jones does being a threat to public safety, there’s no conceivable way that burning even a large edition of a Qu’ran in an open space outdoors poses any kind of physical threat to me or any other member of the public – even if the public is standing three feet away. As for a “riot,” Jones will be doing well to get five guys to come along with him.

Still, the FBI has said Hezbollah put a $2.4 million bounty on Jones’s head after he burned that Qu’ran in March. And Dearborn is Hezbollah’s North American headquarters. Frankly, I’ll bet that Terry Jones, who, while deserving of First Amendment protection, still strikes me as on the clueless side, is even aware he’s stepping into Hezbollah territory. Maybe that’s what’s got Haddad worried?

Let’s face it, the whole problem with Jones is that his protests forseeably lead to violent outbursts by Muslims somewhere, even if thousands of miles away. Why not be honest about it?

People are desperate to stop Terry Jones not for being rude, ignorant, inconsiderate, mean, tacky, or for wearing a mustache that went with the Bullmoose Party. It’s because he’s lighting matches beneath a giant sign that says “FLAMMABLE.”

I love free speech. But even I might be reconciled to legal restraints on forms of provocative, but constitutionally protected, acts like burning a Qu’ran. That’s right. With this important condition: that such a regulation includes an explicit finding that adherents of Islam pose a uniquely dangerous risk when criticized, thus necessitating the limit on speech.

What I can’t stand about all this are all the people who are convinced what a reckless son of a bitch Terry Jones is for burning a Qu’ran and provoking untold thousands of Muslims to violence, even while the same people are swearing on the Bible that the Islamic scriptures preach a pacific religion of love and universal brotherhood.

Focus is everything in these kinds of things. Right now, Jones, about whom I know little and could care less, (maybe he is a publicity junkie, who cares?), has placed focus on the violence inherent in Islam. The result is violence and murders by outraged Muslims. When Pope Benedict, whom no fair-minded person would characterize as rude, ignorant, inconsiderate, mean, or tacky, gave a speech in Regensburg, Germany that incidentally placed the focus on the inherent irrationality and violence in Islam, the result was violence and murders by outraged Muslims.

Forget about the morality of it. It’s arithmetic. Take a truly peaceful religion and add the worst slander and the sum is always peace. It’s never revenge, murder, and bloodthirst. It just don’t add up.

That’s why no one’s ever heard of an Ohio feed store being blown up by an Amish suicide bomber. That’s why you never hear about outraged Red Cross workers rampaging against ungrateful aid recipients, as often as we hear about Red Cross workers murdered by angry Muslims. That’s why on the first Good Friday Jesus didn’t call on 10,000 legions of angels to incinerate His false accusers.

The truth of it is, no one’s scared about Jones or similar protesters because Muslim feelings might get unfairly hurt. We’re scared because Muslims have a well-earned reputation for violence whenever their religion is dissed, and we don’t want anybody to get killed.

And they’re desperate to get the focus off that. And not because it’s a ludicrous mischaracterization.

Which brings us to how, whenever this particular debate over free speech vs. Islam comes up, it’s never long before someone trots out that recognized exception about “shouting fire in a crowded theater.” Lindsay Graham said it only a couple weeks back during his incomprehensible comments on Terry Jones. The exception against shouting fire was an existential recognition that the deadly stampede surely resulting when you combine a close-packed crowd, with the irresistible flight instinct when that crowd is suddenly threatened with being trapped in a fire. The safety of the theatergoers outweighs the shouter’s right to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

Importantly, the crowded-theater exception also assumes that there is no fire. If there’s a fire, you can shout all you want.

But what I want to know is, if Jones is the shouter, then who is the crowd in the theater? The implied comparison is unmistakable. To me, anyhow, though no one wants to say it out loud. Muslims, when confronted about an admittedly grievous but non-violent attack upon their religion, (or propagandized at Friday prayers), are expected to react with an instinctual and violent disregard for life comparable to what one might witness in a mob of theater-goers heedlessly crushing their neighbors to escape death by fire. A crowd in such an emergency is inhuman, per se, precisely because it’s mindless, beyond reason, and driven only by a blind instinct to survive. It’s a natural, death-wreaking force.

I think Dearborn’s Muslims (saving any cold-blooded Hezbollah agent bent on that $2.4 mil), are a mindless, unthinking mob. I believe they can endure Terry Jones’s protest without “a riot ensuing, complete with discharge of firearms.” But them I’m only what commonly passes for an Islamophobe. The people who use that term for people like me don’t think the Muslims in Afghanistan or Yemen or Pakistan or Sudan have any control over themselves. Ridiculous, n’est-ce pas?

But you know who said they do have free will?

Terry Jones did.

That hick Bible-thumper with the bad mustache. He said that “there is no excuse for what happened in Afghanistan, and we do not believe we are responsible. People are responsible for their own actions. If anything this proves there is a radical element to Islam.”<

Has Qazwini said that?

If you have an argument against that, I’d love to hear it.

Happy Easter.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book Burnings Don’t Kill People, Friday Prayers Do

According to Joe Klein at Time Magazine, the murders in Afghanistan that indirectly resulted from Terry Jones’s Qur’an-burning are to be laid directly at the doorstep of Terry Jones:
“[T]here should be no confusion about this: Jones's act was murderous as any suicide bomber's. If there is a hell, he's just guaranteed himself an afterlifetime membership.”
For someone who doesn’t know if there’s a hell or not, Klein sounds awfully positive about who’s going there. Anyhow, lots of liberals agree that Jones is directly responsible for the deaths of the Mazar-e-Sharif riot victims. And in at least one way, this reaction is perfectly understandable. When heinous outbursts of Islamic violence take place, someone has to be blamed. And when you’ve already forbidden yourselves from blaming any of the misdeeds of Islam on Muslims, who else is left?

The foggy ideas behind all this are various. One is that Jones is morally responsible for the clearly foreseeable end results of his action, since he must certainly know that burning a Qur’an is a provocative act guaranteed to lead to murderous reprisals by Islamists against Westerners. If you own a vicious dog and you release it into the neighborhood, isn’t it pretty much your fault when someone gets mauled? If your friend tells you he’s caught his wife cheating on him and needs your gun to go get some justice, you won’t be innocent if you lend it to him. Of course, the Terry Jones case isn’t quite the same. Jones obviously didn’t do anything to facilitate the Mazar-e-Sharif murderers. He wasn’t even there. Muslims have been murdering people who’ve upset them since, well, as long as there’ve been Muslims. Jones neither facilitated the Mazar-e-Sharif murderers nor offered encouragement to their bloodthirsty rioting. They almost certainly hadn’t even heard of Jones until the day of the rampages, “after being,” as Andy McCarthy notes, “whipped into the familiar frenzy at Friday prayers.”
In fact, it is not even accurate to say that Jones incited the Afghans. His Koran-torching stunt took place on March 20. The murderous riot did not occur until nearly two weeks later — only after the natives were whipped up not just by the fire-breathing Friday imams but by the inflammatory rhetoric of Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

Where Klein and Lindsey Graham and their other fogbound friends almost have a point is in the idea, an idea they haven’t bothered to examine too closely, that the Mazar-e-Sharif rampage, or some other similar rampage, was foreseeable. According to this idea, Terry Jones knew that if he burned his Qur’an it would incite Muslim mass rage, a predictable deadly eruption, reliably as Old Faithful, manifesting in a spree of Islamic murders, (e.g., “Cartoon Rage, Pope Rage, Fitna Rage, Teddy Bear Rage....”).

Actually, I happen to agree, at least that the Mazar-e-Sharif rampage, or some other similar rampage, was foreseeable to Jones. It was also foreseeable to me. In fact, I foresaw that I’d be hearing about Islamic violence somewhere on the planet where Islam predominates, regardless of whether Terry Jones did anything or not. All you need to foresee things like this is to walk around with your eyes open at least a few hours a day. Then Jones had the extra advantage of last September’s public lectures from no less than the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and General David Petraeus on on the subject of how his Constitutionally-protected act might be taken in the Ummah. As Ann Coulter observed at the time:
Gen. Petraeus objected to the Quran-burning protest on the grounds that it could be used by radical jihadists to recruit Muslims to attack Americans. . . . If the general's main objective is to hamper jihadist recruiting, may I respectfully suggest unconditional surrender? Because on his theory, you know what would really kill the terrorists' recruiting ability? If we adopted Sharia law!

Last fall The Daily Mail reported Petraeus’s warning that, if Jones went ahead with his original Quran-burning on September 11, ‘It will spark war against all Christians’. As we now know, Jones backed off his Quran-burning last September, denying Islam the casus belli against all Christians. And as we also now know, Jones’s forbearance led to a dramatic reduction in terrorist recruiting, a drop in jihadist attacks worldwide, and a continuation of the centuries-long peace with all Christians -- oh, no, wait! Never mind. I can’t find any documentation for that! Sorry. Naturally, Gen. Petraeus’s objection abut sparking a war overlooks the reality that Islam is already at war with all Christians, and has been, lo these many centuries.

As I see it, just because Jones, or any of us, found the Mazar-e-Sharif rampage foreseeable doesn’t mean that what Jones did caused it. If something is already in motion, and has been for a long time, nothing I do now can be said to be its cause. Jones no more caused the frenzy of Muslims looking for Westerners to behead than Churchill caused the Blitz when he declared Britain would never surrender to Nazi rule. In both cases the aggressor was already on the march. The war was on. The jihadi sword, long since unsheathed, only needs to be directed to its next victim.

That’s why for Karzai and the imams, or for any other arch-jihadists looking for an excuse for bloodshed, Terry Jones’s Quran-burning didn’t cause them to do what they did: all it did was provide a pretext. Jones and Klein and Graham, and for that matter, I and most of you, find this type of Muslim violence utterly foreseeable from knowledge of the simple fact that they’re already at war with us, and have been commanded to be so by the very terms of the book Gen. Petraeus insists on referring to as “the Holy Quran.”

I believe this was Jones’s whole point when he came up with his idea in the first place. “We must take a serious, serious look at Islam. It's a violent religion that promotes acts of violence.” Nor is the point of disagreement between people like Jones on one side and people like Lindsey Graham on the other that Jones knows that Islam is a violent religion and Graham doesn’t. Graham appreciates the violence in Islam, and Gen. Petraeus does, too, as well as anyone, and better than most. How couldn’t he, having presided over the defeat of the savages of al Qaeda in Iraq? No, the difference isn’t that Jones knows and they don’t, but that Jones knows and is free to say what he knows, and Graham and Gen. Petraeus are not free, for whatever reason, to say what they know. And perhaps not even free to think what they know. That’s what a contradiction can do to your head.

I don’t really consider all this an argument about either free speech or how best to prevent outbreaks of Islamic violence. It’s about the American mind forced to attempt the impossible: grasping two contradictory, mutually exclusive ideas at once, and the unbearable tension that results. I think we’re about at the end of a long period of national muddledom, stretching back to the first the first weeks after 9/11, and since which the majority of America’s public thinkers have felt obliged to propose the peacefulness of Islam as a fact, while at the same time having to witness a procession of graphic instances, far as the eye can see, of how Islam, as Terry Jones set out to show, is “a violent religion that promotes acts of violence.”

Lindsey Graham’s blather is the perfect example of what results. Take his remark on Face the Nation last week, when he said that,“During World War II, you had limits on what you could say if it would inspire the enemy.” Never mind for now what he said about free speech, and never mind either about what form censorship did or didn’t take during World War II. We all know about Popeye punching out a Japanese submarine and Daffy Duck ridiculing Mein Kampf withour FDR lecturing Walt Disney. What strikes me in Graham’s mostly incoherent response was what he reveals when he mentions “the enemy.” Remember how the context is Graham blaming Jones for “inspiring the enemy” by burning the Qur’an. If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times, that Islam is not the enemy. But it wasn’t the Taliban or al Qaeda (as far as I know) that committed the Mazar-e-Sharif murders. Joe Klein makes a point of this:
The first thing that you need to know about the massacre of 12 people that took place in Afghanistan today is that Mazar-e-Sharif is not a particularly radical town. It is not Pashtun, it is not Taliban. It is so quiet that NATO dispatched the near-pacifist Germans to keep the peace there.
And yet, according to Lindsey Graham, these very people were “the enemy” who were inspired to murder by what Jones did. And according to Klein, this “massacre” (which he also calls a “protest”), “. . . may be only a taste of what we're going to see when the real religious fanatics get ginned up.”

In other words, these killers aren’t even the real fanatics. They aren’t even the fringe “unIslamic” extremists of unknown motivation, the “hijackers of a great religion” against whom we’ve been battling for ten years. They’re not Taliban, not Pashtun, just ordinary villagers, your everyday peace-loving Muslims being babysat by German peace soldiers and attending Friday prayers. Probably all they have in common with Ayman al-Zawahiri is mosque attendance!

And if they ended up beheading UN workers later that day, that’s Terry Jones’s fault. Why? Because it was foreseeable. Because Jones had to know that these pacific villagers, or other pacific villagers like them in some other pacific Islamic village, were going to cut infidel heads off when they found out what he’d done to their holy book. Because Islamic violence is as predictable as sunup and sundown. Jones is vilified as morally culpable for lack of due regard for the foreseeable violence crouching in the breasts of the people of the Qur’an, and at the same time is vilified by the same people for drawing attention to the danger. Remember when O’Reilly said Muslims killed us on 9/11? “You can’t say that!” commanded Whoopi Goldberg.

This is exactly what I mean when I say we can’t hold this contradiction together any longer. Jones says Islam is violent and is condemned for it by America’s highest officials. But the gist of what Graham says is that Islam is a powder keg so unstable a feather can set it off, so we should curtail free speech to prevent that. Klein sentences Jones to hell because deliberately angering even Islam’s most peaceful, nonfanatical adherents is so dependably going to lead to a river of blood that it makes him an accessory to their massacres, an act “murderous as any suicide bomber's”: And just how murderous is that? The suicide bomber knows that if all he does is press the detonator the dynamite will explode and the ball bearings will fly out and kill, and maim, and destroy. Klein views Islam as a suicide belt designed to explode and kill and maim, and that all it needs for detonation is to be maligned by an infidel’s free speech.

Where exactly is the disagreement amongst these people about the violent nature if Islam?

I really believe now that it’s not that Graham and Klein and Petraeus and the rest of these guys don’t know Islam is violent. It’s just that they’re so dishonest about it, at least intellectually dishonest. They’re desperately trying to hold that contradiction together, inside which a peaceful, humanitarian religion can be set off into violent bloodshed by a word, an action, a gesture. And the result of their pretzel logic is their incomprehensible, irrational, and silly statements about Terry Jones and the “Holy Qur’an.” This is what the contradiction is doing to their heads.

They’re not going to be able to hold that contradiction together much longer.

None of us is.

And that’s a good thing.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Ann Barnhardt

I just learned about this remarkable lady today. She has the best response to Lindsey Graham I’ve heard.