Of pigs and prayer rugs

Fred Grandy Contributor
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The old joke goes something like this: A Native American, a rodeo cowboy, and an exchange student from Yemen find themselves stranded in the airport lounge in Bozeman, Montana after learning their flight has been delayed. After a few awkward attempts at pleasantries, the two Americans discover the young Arab gentleman is a radical Muslim who has come to this country to study engineering. The conversation grinds to a halt, and the rodeo rider pulls his Stetson down over his face to grab a little shut-eye. After a long silence, the Native American says sadly to no one in particular, “Once my people were many. Now they are few. Do you know why that is?” To which the Muslim student replies, “Once my people were few. Now they are many. Do you know why that is?” Another silence and then from under the Stetson comes a response: “It’s because we ain’t played a game of cowboys and Muslims yet, but I reckon it’s a-comin.’”

It ain’t a-comin’ — it’s already here.

Long before the controversy over the Ground Zero Mosque in Lower Manhattan captured our attention, Fox News’s Shepard Smith reported on an amusing situation in Katy, Texas. It seems a long-time resident of the community named Craig Baker had a small pig farm which suddenly found itself next door to an outfit called the Katy Islamic Association. A small group of Muslims led by a gentleman named Kamel Fotouh had purchased 30 acres adjacent to Baker knowing full well that he was raising animals considered unclean to followers of Islam. Aspiring to be good neighbors, Fotouh’s group approached Baker who, by the way, lives at the end of a street named after his family, and presented him with two options . . . get rid of the pigs or move. Baker had a third option. He started holding pig races on Fridays, often during Muslim prayers.

This story is known in the broadcasting business as a “kicker.” It is a short piece used to close out a news bloc and normally intended to get a laugh, which it does. Check it out here.

It is not uncommon these days for funny throwaway stories like this to live a second life on the Internet. This piece already has close to 600,000 hits. But in light of continuing community apprehension around the Park 51 project in New York, the proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and the growing number of state legislatures now considering statutes to ban Shariah law, it may be time to take a closer look at the Katy story to uncover a serious message beneath the merriment.

Within Shariah is the concept of “sacred space.” Since it is believed that Allah bequeathed all land on earth to Muslims in perpetuity, it is their obligation and indeed their destiny to reclaim it.

Lands previously conquered and controlled by Muslims, such as Israel or the Iberian peninsula, are particularly sacred ground and appropriate targets for jihad. But Islam also calls for the sacralizing of new territory and this is the ongoing responsibility of migrant communities, particularly in the West. In his book, Global Jihad: the Future in the Face of Militant Islam, Patrick Sookhdeo claims devout Muslims begin by sacralizing their own homes and mosques with a goal of moving outward to claim an ever-increasing share of public space. This is already a common practice in most of Britain and Europe and is beginning to take root on this side of the Atlantic in cities such as Dearborn, Michigan and communities in Northern Virginia.

Interestingly, whether we are talking about triumphal edifices such as Cordoba House in Manhattan or the small project attempted by the Katy Islamic Association, the goal is the same. The Explanatory Memorandum for civilization jihad prepared for the Muslim Brotherhood in North America in 1991 states: “the center’s role is the same as the mosque’s role during the time of God’s prophet, God’s prayers and peace be upon him, when he marched to ‘settle’ the Dawa in its first generation in Madina.” A few terms need to be clarified here. “Dawa” is the spread of Islam. It is another term for proselytizing. Madina (sometimes spelled “Medina”) is the holy city in Saudi Arabia that Mohammed took by force in the 7th century.

The website for KIA leads you to a Facebook page for a youth group. They give their address as 1800 Baker Rd., but the most recent discussion post listed is in 2007. Perhaps they are still at the same location or perhaps they assimilated into one of the other 60 mosques in the greater Houston area. Perhaps the purpose of the entire endeavor was to test the resolve of a community of people who were told they would have to change their behavior in order to accommodate a new neighbor.

Either way, the message back to Kamel Fotouh and his faithful was loud and clear: When pigs fly.

Fred Grandy has been a successful actor on television (The Love Boat), a four-term member of Congress from Iowa, the President of Goodwill Industries, International, and until recently the host of the Grandy Group, a daily news/talk radio program in Washington, D.C. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in classical acting.