Saturday, March 10, 2012

Marketing the ‘religion of peace’

I’m trying to sort out why elites on the political left are going out of their way to make the rest of us feel good about Islam.
There is National Public Radio, which fired Juan Williams for saying what every blessed one of us feels, which is that he gets nervous when he sees someone on a plane dressed in traditional Muslim garb.
In a related story, we have Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar storming off the set of The View after Bill O’Reilly blamed the 9/11 attacks on Muslims (as if what really animated the killers was their shared dislike of tall buildings).
Then there is foreign policy expert John Feffer, writing for CBS, who explains that judging Islam by the news headlines is like evaluating Christianity based on the words of Ann Coulter. He employs a well-worn style of minimization:
“Yes, certain Muslim fundamentalists have been responsible for terrorist attacks, certain fantasists about a ‘global caliphate’ continue to plot attacks on perceived enemies, and certain groups like Afghanistan’s Taliban and Somalia’s al-Shabaab practice medieval versions of the religion. But Islamophobes confuse these small parts with the whole and then see terrorist jihad under every Islamic pillow.”
“Islamophobes” would be people like me, who believe that the pattern of heinous violence in the name of Islam—stretching from burning towers in New York City to riots and murders in Europe to bombings of schoolchildren in the Middle East to systematic killings in Russia, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia—suggests a bit more of a pattern than Feffer wants to acknowledge, all of it directly traceable to a religion whose teachings promote violence against nonbelievers.
In situations like this I apply a simple thought experiment: If these worldwide crimes were committed by Presbyterians claiming to act in the name of John Calvin, would CBS tell us they’re just a few isolated incidents, that Calvinism represents no threat to the fabric of liberty, and that people who think otherwise are small-minded Calvinphobes?
And while you’re chuckling at that thought, consider President Obama’s recent speechin Muslim-dominated Indonesia, praising it for its religious tolerance. Terry Mattingly helpfully dissected The New York Times‘ coverage:
“. . . did anyone see any mainstream coverage that mentioned that this nation’s heritage of tolerance is under violent attack? Did anyone read about the ‘white riders’? About kidnappings? Beheadings? The persecution and killing of, for lack of a better word, ‘moderate’ Muslims, as well as members of religious minorities?”
The Times alluded to rising Muslim violence in Indonesia, Mattingly noted, but doesn’t blame “the religion of peace.” (And really, can anyone think of a marketing slogan that has been more unquestioningly embraced by otherwise cynical intellectuals than this one?) The cause of this violence, one learns in the faithfully secular Times, is the rise of religion in Indonesia.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why people otherwise predisposed to dislike all religion want to go out of their way to give Islam a pass. Do they worry that speaking plainly will make Christianity look good in comparison? Is it that so many Islamofascists have non-European ethnicity, and liberal elites are conditioned to view pigmentation as evidence of virtue?
Perhaps it’s simply that they instinctively embrace any enemy of the people they perceive as their enemies, namely cultural conservatives and Christians.

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