It has been an interesting weekend, in the fullest sense. Like millions of Americans, I commemorated the ninth anniversary of 9/11. Like many...I hope most...of those Americans, I experienced a mixture of sorrow, anger, loathing, and shame as I considered the Twin Towers, their demise, the act of Islamist murder, and the fiddling of the replacement at Ground Zero.
I also received an education. To my surprise, there are people in America who support the burning of books, and defend the practice quite fiercely. To my surprise, there are people in America who think that Muslims--
1. are a monolith
2. that universally seeks the imposition of Sharia (like there is A Sharia)
3. and that any appearance of assimilation or moderation (which they say they look for) is just a deception.
Some of these people make no bones about voicing the old, old, "The only good _____ is a dead _____" horror.
Please understand, I do not suggest there are a lot of these kinds of people in America. Merely that there are these people, and they are not the least backward about trumpeting their bigotry and medieval urges.
I have been called a "dhimmi" for the piece I wrote in which I state that burning books is un-American, and decidedly un-Christian. As I said, an interesting weekend.
Here is why I am emphatically NOT a "dhimmi", while concurrently NOT in favor of burning books...or more to the point...Korans.
To me, there is the broad, readily defined avenue between living as one does in Western society (and damn the feelings of Islamic Rage-Boy), and doing something that is an affront to Western values (like burning a sacred book) for the sole purpose of inciting ANYBODY.
In American society, it is normal conduct (i.e., within the norms we accept) for people (generally rather nasty people) to lampoon or criticize religions in art or letters...even in very profane ways. We have this whole First Amendment thingy that protects even scumbags who do that sort of thing. So, I have NO problem publishing cartoons lampooning Mohamed, and DAMN the hypersensitivity of Islamic Rage-Boy--h/t Malkin). It is what we do here in America; like listening to music, or shaving, or any number of other things some say are verboten.
That is fundamentally different than going out of my way...and out of American norms...to incite people. That isn't, to me, an act of defiant living at all. It is an act of rankest stupidity and meanness.
Think of it this way; I NEVER have been able to let a bully be a bully. Something inside me always makes me fight (my teeth bear testimony). And when I do, I know that a lot of people around me support me...largely because I have the moral high-ground. Conversely, if I go out in the street and scream at the top of my lungs that the bully's sister is a profligate WHORE, nobody is going to support that. And one more thing; I would know I was wrong to do it, and ought to get my ars stomped.
There are two kinds of Islamophobes in America...the first is afraid of what Islamists might do to them for merely living as Americans (like most supporters of the Cordoba House)...the second is afraid of Muslims period. I am neither. We are stronger than they. We should live like that.