This week's syndicated column:
When reading stories about that formerly obscure Florida preacher who wants to mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11 by burning a stack of Qurans, bear in mind that the only law he breaks in doing so is Islamic law. With this in mind, it should become clear that the extraordinary global campaign against this stunt is yet another concerted effort, aided by an army's worth of useful fools, to bring our constitutional republic into conformance with Islamic law.
Islam demands "respect" with an intensity and strategic purpose well beyond other beliefs. (Still) don't believe me? For indelible culture contrast, imagine the worldwide body count in reaction to a hypothetical NEA-funded project entitled "Piss Mohammed," or the absence of a worldwide body count in reaction to the Army's actual decision to discard and burn a bunch of Bibles on a U.S. base in Afghanistan last year for fear of offending Muslims in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan -- a land where Christian converts (Abdul Rahman) and promoters of (minimal) women's rights (Sayed Pervez Kambakhsh) must flee with their lives, by the way.
As we have witnessed in Cartoon Rage, Pope Rage, Commode Quran Rage, "Fitna" Rage, More Cartoon Rage, etc., "respecting" Islam in fact means exempting this religious-political ideology from "slander," "defamation," any mockery, criticism, analysis, resistance, denunciation or rejection -- or else. And we all know what "or else" means -- or else murder and mayhem will convulse some region where Muslims live, leaving behind a permanent threat of death to non-repentant "offenders."
What Islam is demanding, then, is a separate speech code for itself. This demand is manifested at the highest diplomatic levels in a strategic campaign by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Islamic bloc of 57 nations that functions in the international arena as an Islamic supra-state. The OIC has long been maneuvering to bring international law into conformance with Islamic law by prohibiting "defamation of religions" -- namely Islam -- at the United Nations.
This same demand also manifests itself in the society-level assumption that Islam should somehow exist in a state of exaltation that no Western society grants any belief system, or any God. This assumption is increasingly becoming consensus among non-Muslims. Why?
One answer is because people who do not believe in Allah, from Sarah Palin to Gen. David Petraeus to assorted ministers and rabbis, have succumbed to a specifically Islamic brand of blackmail (the "or else" of violence or other outbreaks of "extremism"), thus accommodating and even lobbying for the uniquely Islamic prohibitions against written, pictorial or symbolic criticism. In so doing, they have also succumbed to the Islamic narrative. That narrative, or rationale, tells us that burning a Quran causes murder and mayhem, putting our troops, our citizens, our cities and our interests at increased risk. In this narrative, the actual bad actors are absolved of both volition and blame. Similarly, drawing cartoons of Muhammad (Kurt Westergaard, Lars Vilks) -- or not drawing cartoons of Muhammad ("South Park") -- sermonizing about violence within Islam (the Pope), and critiquing Islam (Geert Wilders' "Fitna") are increasingly viewed as unacceptably "insensitive" and "disrespectful" provocations in Western society, regardless of their free-speech protections.
"Do you now believe that people died because of this erroneous report?" Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita was asked way back in 2005, regarding Newsweek's retracted report that a Quran went down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay. "I do," he replied. "I absolutely do."
Guess that "erroneous report" should have gotten the electric chair -- or at least life without parole. Of course, last time I looked, that report was just as inanimate an object as the book entitled the Quran. Assuming these objects are not stolen property, either one could go into the incinerator or the library accordingly. Instead, of course, they go down in history as a kind of murderer and victim, with the non-Islamic world assuming all responsibility -- all guilt -- for the actions of barbarians who pillage and kill at the drop of, well, a Quran. This is rank capitulation to dhimmitude, the non-Islamic state of deference to Islamic law, and it is now being repeated in the misdirected Western offensive against the Florida preacher -- an effort that should be turned into an unapologetic defense of his constitutional rights.
Repeat after me: The Constitution trumps Islamic law.