It appears that despite all of the mayor's best efforts at inculcating tolerance into bigoted New Yorkers, bias is still unbound in the Big Apple-as the latest Q-Poll on the GZM dramatizes: "The latest Q poll on the Park51 project shows 80% of voters feel that the developers have the right to build the proposed mosque and Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero -- but 67% say they should voluntarily move it somewhere else."
Those 33% of New Yorkers who feel that the site is appropriate-aside from the few socialists loons who will never fail to come out in full castigation of what most Americans believe and hold dear-almost certainly do so because of of a true belief in the high principle of tolerance. But, on examination, this tolerance is a rather slim reed-it certainly isn't proffered to those who might be offended by siting a mosque next to an atrocity scene committed in the name of the same religion of those who would seek to pray at the religious site.
Even worse, it is a tolerance that tolerates the intolerance of the very same religion that boldly seeks to situate itself at the Ground Zero site-and not, mind you, with some modest prayer facility, but a 15 foot iconic structure; or, as we use to say after sinking a jumper over the outstretched hand of some hapless defender back in our balling days: "In your face, sucker!"
But the problem goes deeper than the uproar over Imam Rauf's mosque. It can be seen in some relief by the reactions of so many Americans to the possibility that some no name pastor wants to burn a Koran-the cries arose from all over the land, and the president, so eloquent in his defense of freedom of speech, left the Bill of Rights home when it came to the potential Koran burning.
Mark Steyn makes a telling point: "Aside from all that, this obscure church’s website has been shut down, its insurance policy has been canceled, its mortgage has been called in by its bankers. Why? As Diana West wrote, why was it necessary or even seemly to make this pastor a non-person? Another one of Obama's famous "teaching moments"? In this case teaching us that Islamic law now applies to all? Only a couple of weeks ago, the President, at his most condescendingly ineffectual, presumed to lecture his moronic subjects about the First Amendment rights of Imam Rauf. Where's the condescending lecture on Pastor Jones' First Amendment rights? "
The egregious double standard in regards to all things Islam, poses a direct threat to those sacred rights that seem only to apply when the issue involved is well within some kind of liberal comfort zone-and any critique of Islam, and its often barbaric manifestations, is an occasion most foul. Steyn again:
"When someone destroys a bible, US government officials don’t line up to attack him. President Obama bowed lower than a fawning maitre d’ before the King of Saudi Arabia, a man whose regime destroys bibles as a matter of state policy, and a man whose depraved religious police forces schoolgirls fleeing from a burning building back into the flames to die because they’d committed the sin of trying to escape without wearing their head scarves. If you show a representation of Mohammed, European commissioners and foreign ministers line up to denounce you. If you show a representation of Jesus Christ immersed in your own urine, you get a government grant for producing a widely admired work of art. Likewise, if you write a play about Jesus having gay sex with Judas Iscariot.
So just to clarify the ground rules, if you insult Christ, the media report the issue as freedom of expression: A healthy society has to have bold, brave, transgressive artists willing to question and challenge our assumptions, etc. But, if it’s Mohammed, the issue is no longer freedom of expression but the need for "respect" and "sensitivity" toward Islam, and all those bold brave transgressive artists don’t have a thing to say about it."
And then there is poor Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist who has been forced into her own version of the witness protection program because of her draw Mohammad cartoon day. When the day arrived for her usual cartoon to appear, the Seattle Weekly told her readers, "You may have noticed that Molly Norris' comic is not in the paper this week. That's because there is no more Molly."
Where was the outcry? Remember all of the rabbis, priests and ministers who stood up to protest the Koran burning? Why didn't these same folks reach out to Muslim imams and join hands in protest of this offense against a basic American first amendment freedom? And where indeed was President Obama? James Taranto weighs in on the thundering silence:
"Where is President Obama? Last month, speaking to a mostly Muslim audience at the White House, the president strongly defended the right of another imam held up as a moderate to build a mosque adjacent to Ground Zero. The next day, and again at a press conference last week, Obama said he was merely standing up for the First Amendment. As far as we recall, it's the only time Barack Obama has ever stood up for anybody's First Amendment rights.
Now Molly Norris, an American citizen, is forced into hiding because she exercised her right to free speech. Will President Obama say a word on her behalf? Does he believe in the First Amendment for anyone other than Muslims?"
The NY Post does weigh in: "Outrageously, her terrifying ordeal has been met with a silence on the part of First Amendment purists and her fellow journalists. The folks, that is, who tie themselves in knots apologizing to Muslims for the bigotry that they've allegedly endured. So where are her colleagues? The Washington Examiner asked the American Society of News Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists for a statement of support for Norris. None was forthcoming. US Muslim groups are deathly -- tellingly -- quiet. As is most of the media. The story has barely been covered -- in stark contrast to the hyperventilation produced by the wacky Florida pastor who threatened to burn a Koran."
Now we should remind one and all, that the man behind the fatwa against Molly Norris is Anwar al-Alwaki, the imam in Yemen who is waging war against his country from that safe haven. And it is instructive to know that he too was once considered a, "moderate." As Taranto points out: "In October 2001, by the way, the New York Times described al-Alwlaki, who then ran a mosque in Virginia, as someone who "is held up as a new generation of Muslim leader capable of merging East and West." How's that working out?"
If we are not going to defend our precious rights against the assault of hateful Islamists, how long can these rights be maintained? Steyn makes this ominous point: "As I said in America Alone, multiculturalism seems to operate to the same even-handedness as the old Cold War joke in which the American tells the Soviet guy that "in my country everyone is free to criticize the President", and the Soviet guy replies, "Same here. In my country everyone is free to criticize your President." Under one-way multiculturalism, the Muslim world is free to revere Islam and belittle the west's inheritance, and, likewise, the western world is free to revere Islam and belittle the west’s inheritance. If one has to choose, on balance Islam’s loathing of other cultures seems psychologically less damaging than western liberals' loathing of their own."
And lurking just below this high minded discourse is the cowardice that animates much of the Islamic Protection League's principles: "It is a basic rule of life that if you reward bad behavior, you get more of it. Every time Muslims either commit violence or threaten it, we reward them by capitulating. Indeed, President Obama, Justice Breyer, General Petraeus, and all the rest are now telling Islam, you don’t have to kill anyone, you don’t even have to threaten to kill anyone. We’ll be your enforcers. We’ll demand that the most footling and insignificant of our own citizens submit to the universal jurisdiction of Islam. So Obama and Breyer are now the “good cop” to the crazies’ "bad cop". Ooh, no, you can’t say anything about Islam, because my friend here gets a little excitable, and you really don’t want to get him worked up. The same people who tell us "Islam is a religion of peace" then turn around and tell us you have to be quiet, you have to shut up because otherwise these guys will go bananas and kill a bunch of people."
It was Lenin who coined that reliable useful idiots phrase-but to paraphrase another example of his wit and wisdom-the progressives will donate to the Islamists the rope that they will hang us all with.