I had resolved not to weigh in on the Pastor Terry Jones’ Koran-burning controversy because, notwithstanding its utterly unrepresentative insignificance to our culture, (a) virtually every Democrat and Republican of consequence, the White House, the Department of Defense, and the FBI, did weigh in; (b) it never actually happened; and (c) it was such a silly idea that to give it any further notoriety seemed unproductive.
Oh yes, and to “condemn” it would have been so profoundly belaboring the obvious as to risk comparison with the condemnation of the torrential rains by everyone except Noah’s family.
But the story persists. A resolution submitted by Pakistan for the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) asks the UN Human Rights Council to speak out against what it dubbed “the recent call by an extremist group to organize a ‘Burn a Koran Day.'” Oh my, wee Pastor Jones in Florida has gone global.
The resolution is part of a larger effort by the Organization of the Islamic Conference to have the U.N. recognize “Islamophobia” as racism and open to challenge under international law, and to recognize “defamation of religion.”
In Europe, Canada and Australia, where there is an insufficient freedom of speech culture, there is capitulation. Racial and religious “hate-speech” bans have become the vehicle for prosecution of citizens who criticize Islam. Criticism of the Koran and Islam has put Geert Wilders on trial in the Netherlands, and led to the conviction of a German man for the “sacrilegious” treatment of the word “Koran” (not the text itself). Prosecutors in Finland, Canada, and the Netherlands have scoured the internet for anti-Islamic comments. In France, Canada, Norway, Austria and Italy, citizens have been tried for inciting “religious hostility” and “insulting religious sensibilities” because of their critiques of Islam or jihad.
Is Islam an adult or a child religion? If Islam is an adult religion, and it is, then the proposed resolution is both absurd and offensive to Muslims.
Does Islam have the robustness and resilience of Christianity or Judaism? NO, scream the proponents of special solicitude for Islam. Islam is special, delicate, its billion adherents deserving of extra sensitivity and special rules. Nonsense! How condescending, how literally “Islamophobic” is this determination to indulge Islam as a petulant child in the adult world of all other religions.
Because Muslims, unlike members of other religions, riot over perceived affronts; because Muslims, unlike members of other religions, issue fatwas against, and kill, Muslims and non-Muslims who are allegedly guilty of blasphemy; because Muslims, unlike members of other religions, get incomparably angry and homicidal about God and religion — because of all this, the rest of the world must demonstrate special sensitivity to Islam? That’s nonsense — and is profoundly disrespectful of Islam.
But the point, comes the rejoinder, is that most Muslims do not riot, issue fatwas, kill blasphemers, or get incomparably angry about God and religion. So we must not treat Muslims generally based upon the behavior of their delinquents.
Precisely. We must distinguish between the two. We must treat the delinquents as the petulant, murderous children they are, and we must respect the rest as adults. In the adult world, there is no longer any such thing as “blasphemy.” God grew up. He doesn’t get his feelings hurt. Neither should His followers.
In the adult world, we don’t wink at “Piss Christ” and other extraordinary examples of disrespect for Christianity, and then get morally indignant, on condescending behalf of our little Muslim brothers and sisters, over wee insults to Islam, Allah, Mohammed or the Koran. In the adult world, we treat our Muslim brothers and sisters with respect, and assume that Islam is likewise a robust and resilient religion — capable of weathering insult (though blasphemy is punishable by imprisonment or death in many of the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference). In the adult world, Islam needs no more solicitude than Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or atheism. It simply warrants equal respect. And equal responsibility.
In the adult world, petulant, murderous children get spanked — primarily by their parents. That is why many people expect a more robust parenting by Muslims themselves — a concerted and systematic determination by Muslims to shut down the multiple organs of Muslim terror, hate and intolerance.
But what parents are motivated to discipline their crap child when the community he is terrorizing responds with overwrought generosity and outrage at any insult to the parents? Quiet status quo looks like a good deal.
A sensitive parent, in this situation, might understand that what the liberal community is really doing is saying, “There, there, little one, we believe in tolerance, even for people like you”. A sensitive Muslim, in this situation, might wish to join the adult world, eschew liberal condescension, rise up against the horror of Islamism, and be treated with genuine respect.
I have written that there is no current greater courage than Muslim courage. Those Muslims who do rise up in their Muslim countries against oppression are heroes. Those Muslims who do rise up in Western countries in vocal opposition to Islamism — and are often then reviled by their communities — are heroes.
These Muslim heroes should be the object of our solicitude — not petty insults to the Koran.
Kendrick Macdowell is a lawyer and writer in Washington, D.C.