THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 4, 2010
UPDATE: I have written an apology for one sentence written below.
Of course, this first sentence presumes that the Times in its olympian wisdom has a more accurate view--one it could describe as both "shrewdly knowing" and "sensitively knowing"--of this group and its beliefs than ordinary metropolitan mortals. The newspaper has done a poll of New York City residents which found that 33% of them thought Muslim-American "more sympathetic to terrorists" than other citizens. Frankly, I don't trust opinion surveys on matters like this. But I'd guess that if respondents were truly honest with the pollsters and with themselves the percentage would be considerably higher. Which, of course, means that the Times could go into even higher dudgeon than it actually has.
Where does the Times get reliable data on the feelings of American Muslims (or, for that matter, Arab Americans) about terrorists and terrorism? Forgive me: I don't think such data even exists...and just maybe that's a consequence of the pollsters' fear that gauging these sentiments would be very desolating, indeed.
And, to tell you the truth, I d not think there's much reliable data on how Americans see American Muslims either.
But the Times survey does infer some knowledge about this matter. Remember, though, that these responses are from New Yorkers and New Yorkers alone. If you believe, as I do, that citizens of the five boroughs are not only more "diverse and cosmopolitan" but also more tolerant and condoning than most other Americans than you might come to the conclusion that our non-New Yorker fellow citizens are far more deeply biased and warped than the Gotham locals.
Actually, no one has shown that a single serious demonstration against Muslims and Arabs, against their beliefs and behavior can be raised in this country. And, if you think Glenn Beck's rally at the Lincoln Memorial was its equivalent please quote to me sounds of hatred directed from the platform against these intertwined orbits of the populace. In fact, there has not been a single rally or demonstration in America aimed at Muslim or Arab interests or their commitments to foreign governments and, more likely, to foreign insurgencies and, yes, quite alien philosophies. I suggest that this is largely the case because Americans are so fearful of being accused of bias, however the injustice of the charge might be.
This is certainly not the situation in Britain and France, Germany and Denmark, Holland and Spain where a demo against the Arabs or the Pakis or the Algerians or the Moroccans or the Turks and Muslims more generally is a regular feature of the political landscape and where parties win parliamentary seats precisely because they campaign with Islamists and islam as the targets.
Of course, Muslims and Arabs do not not act in America as they do in the increasingly Islamicized but non-practicing Christian and democratic sovereignties of Europe. Still, I wouldn't close my eyes or our eyes to the increasing number of both naturalized and native-born citizens who enlist in the Islamic terror networks of our time, here and abroad.
Liberal political theory has virtually ignored the philosophical, legal and ethical questions posed by the threatening demographics of Europe. Is not western society, imperfect as it may be but immensely more liberal than the domains of Islam, obliged to defend its own...and their future. Immigration is key to this discussion, and it's the one issue that no one wants to discuss. Imagine what the Times would say if the matter became a subject of real public discourse. Does President Obama really want an immigration debate now?
I want to believe that Muslims are traumatized by the unrelieved murders in Islamic lands. Frankly, the only demonstration against a mass killing (after all, they happen nearly every day) I've read about was last week in Pakistan when some 30-odd people, not designated and not guilty of doing anything except going to a Shia shrine were blown right then and there. A day or two after two bombs went off taking the lives of what turned out--you can read it about in the recent Tehran Times--to be just under one hundred Shi'ites in two town different towns.
This intense epidemic of slaughter has been going on for nearly a decade and a half...without protest, without anything. And it has been going for decades and centuries before that.
Why do not Muslims raise their voices against these at once planned and random killings all over the Islamic world? This world went into hysteria some months ago when the Mossad took out the Hamas head of its own Murder Inc.
But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.