We were amused by the gathering of usual clerical suspects in Washington; gathered to decry the rising level of intolerance posterized by some wacko pastor done in Florida-and who better than the bien pensants over at the NY Times to herald the era of bad feeling: "Prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders held an extraordinary “emergency summit” meeting in the capital on Tuesday to denounce what they called “the derision, misinformation and outright bigotry” aimed at American Muslims during the controversy over the proposed Islamic community center near ground zero."
Are these people serious? We would wager that, to a person, these righteous thinkers all support the GZ mosque-with no thought to the insensitivity of the mosque's promoters. All this, and our viewing of the Giuliani 9/11 documentary on NatGeo, got us to thinking. For nine years America has been under assault from a virulent and intolerant strain of Islam; and, in spite of the endless provocation, we have behaved as a people with remarkable restraint-refusing to blame an entire religion for the actions of a few (although a dangerously large few in our view)
And the comments of the former mayor during the documentary reminded us of how even the acerbic Giuliani-the guy who tossed Yasser Arafat out of Carnegie Hall-counseled tolerance for Muslims during those awful days after the attack on the twin towers. And American restraint is borne out by the data on hate crimes in the years post 9/11: "Hate crimes directed against Muslims remain relatively rare, notwithstanding the notoriety gained by incidents such as recent vandalism at the Madera Islamic Center. Jews, lesbians, gay men and Caucasians, among others, are all more frequently the target of hate crimes, FBI records show. Reported anti-Muslim crimes have declined over recent years, though they still exceed what occurred prior to the 9-11 terrorist attacks....In 2008, 105 hate crime incidents against Muslims were reported nationwide. There were 10 times as many incidents that were recorded as anti-Jewish during the same year, the most recent for which figures are available."
So now, after almost a decade of preternatural calm-given the initial and subsequent provocations-left leaning clergy are trying to conflate opposition to a mosque at Ground Zero (and just stand in front of 51 Park Place and watch the bulldozers work on the site) with some rising tide of Islamophobia. As the Times tells us: "The clergy members said that those responsible for a poisoned climate included politicians manipulating a wedge issue in an election year, self-styled “experts” on Islam who denigrate the faith for religious or political reasons and some conservative evangelical Christian pastors."
This friends underscores the extent to which the entire gathering was a political statement-and had little to do with tolerance per se. If there is a poisoned climate-and the evidence is slim that there is one-it just may be because 70% of Americans feel that the mosquevites are being thoroughly insensitive to their feelings-something that the infamous imam highlights in a, where else, Times editorial today:
"Many people wondered why I did not speak out more, and sooner, about this project. I felt that it would not be right to comment from abroad. It would be better if I addressed these issues once I returned home to America, and after I could confer with leaders of other faiths who have been deliberating with us over this project. My life’s work has been focused on building bridges between religious groups and never has that been as important as it is now.
We are proceeding with the community center, Cordoba House. More important, we are doing so with the support of the downtown community, government at all levels and leaders from across the religious spectrum, who will be our partners. I am convinced that it is the right thing to do for many reasons."
But without the support of the vast majority of the American people who this imam deigns to even acknowledge in his self-serving essay-some bridge builder! But he goes on to make a point worth reviewing: "Above all, the project will amplify the multifaith approach that the Cordoba Initiative has deployed in concrete ways for years. Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages during a period of great cultural enrichment created by Muslims. Our initiative is intended to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures."
Here's where the traditional doublespeak of the Islamist can be gleaned if we engage in a bit of deconstruction. Cordoba was a great city of cultural understanding as long as the Muslims ruled it-and everyone else knew their place; and, of course, the great Cordoba mosque was built on the site of an appropriated church dedicated to St. Vincent. But let's not forget that the Islamists see any area that has previously been part of the umma as eternally remaining within its parameters-so the Cordoba initiative can be seen in this triumphalist-and prophetic-light as well.
Which brings us back to the mendacious Time Magazine-the one the Onion lampooned: "And that's precisely what the good people at the Onion have done, with a fake-news-with-more-than-a-few-grains-of-truth report that announces that Time will be launching Time Advanced, a magazine for "adults,"..." Time's exploration of a faux Islamophobia, exhibits the kind of spuriousness that one would expect from rather doltish college sophomores looking to put a hate on a rival fraternity.
We don't remember Time exploring the fact that Jews in America are six times as likely to experience hate as are Muslims in America-and that figure rises exponentially in Europe where the recrudescence of anti-Semitism is indeed a serious issue: "In 2006, a whopping 66% of religiously motivated attacks were on Jews, while just 11% targeted Muslims, even though the Jewish and Muslim populations are similar in size. Catholics and Protestants, who together account for 9% of victims, are subject to almost as much abuse as Muslims in this country. Last year's anti-Islamic hate crimes totaled 156. While just one hate crime is one too many, that's a 68% drop from 2001." (emphasis added)
But, right on the heels of its ginned up hate-a-thon, Time's next effort in ecumenism is to explore the reason why Israeli's really don't want peace. And how does the magazine dramatize this? By telling its dwindling readership that the Jews are too busy making money to worry about making peace with the Palestinians: "I know it’s commonplace to read in the latest issue of Time or Newsweek that Obama is a god, that Islamophobic Americans are collectively prejudiced against Muslims, that the response after 9/11 was overblown and unnecessary (over 30 subsequent terrorist plots have been foiled, and, for some reason, renditions, tribunals, Guantanamo, Predators, intercepts, etc., have all been embraced by the Obama administration), but the recent Time piece on Israel by a Karl Vick is probably the most anti-Semitic essay I have ever read in a mainstream publication."
And then there's this from Time: "Among Vick’s interviewees is Heli Itach, a modern-day Shylock who brags about the money to be made selling condos in Jerusalem (“‘Even when the Qassams fell, we continued to sell!’ says Heli Itach, slapping a palm on the office desk”). The accompanying photo shows carefree Israelis on the beach."
So spare us all of this tolerance scaremongering; it is an exercise in virulent disingenuousness that blocks out the real scourge of intolerance that has insidiously been spread throughout the Muslim world by the Islamists-and it is a conscious campaign to deligitimize any organized effort to mobilize against, not Islam, but that very same Islamism. Confronting that real and present danger is a lot more challenging-and perilous-than attacking your own good folks as bigoted haters.