Well, there’s no hiding from the facts. According to several members of Congress, I am a terrorist sympathizer. As an American Muslim and a member of my local Islamic society, I am ipso facto an agent of the “secret underworld that’s conspiring to Islamize America.”
You know, I had no idea. As an Anglo-American convert to Islam, one of the religion’s strongest appeals to me is its tolerance of dissent and heterodoxy. This dates back centuries before my European ancestors finally learned that divergent beliefs about God do not automagically lead to chaos, slaughter, and the murder of kings. (Wars of religion, on the other hand, often bring about the very evils they were meant to prevent, and have contributed to western Europe’s fixed idea that “organized religion” is incompatible with human liberation.)
When Western thinkers finally took up the cause of religious toleration and civic equality for non-Christians, they imagined that they had invented these ideas. We Westerners still enjoy that conceit today, unaware that the Quran stated the principle unequivocally more than a thousand years earlier: There is no compulsion in religion. (2:256)
Muslims are only human, and the history of Islamic states is not as glorious as some Arab or Turkish patriots would make it out to be. Still, it seems to me no accident that what we call the “Renaissance” began in Italy, the part of Europe that had the most routine contact with Muslims and, through them, with India and the Far East. Much more could be said on the subject, but this is only a blog post.
According to four Republicans in the House, though, I’m not being sincere in associating Islam with universal love, open-heartedness, and free inquiry into truth. I’m just feeding you a bunch of reassuring propaganda. As a Muslim in the United States, I am an enemy of the Constitution and an advocate for theocracy under a medieval law code called Sharia. By supporting CAIR (Committee on American-Islamic Relations), I am implicitly supporting a terrorist agenda that aims to cow all of you infidels into submission to my religion, which will require you to “convert or die,” or else to become second-class citizens. It’s true that you outnumber us 99-to-1, but we have an evil plan that we have all sworn to uphold. This plan is sure to succeed unless you all wise up and start jailing and deporting us.
All kidding aside — the congressional press conference promoting Paul Sperry’s new book, Muslim Mafia, quickly inspired a faxed death threat to the director of CAIR. One hopes that that is all the fallout we’ll see.
Here is Rachel Maddow’s report on what I’ll call the latest Green Scare. It’s followed by comments from Eugene Robinson (8:40):
So there you have it. In the interest of national security, I hereby confess myself a member of the “Muslim Mafia” that the honorable members of Congress are warning against. I didn’t mean any harm. Somehow I had the idea that following one’s conscience in matters of religion was laudable in a free society — not dangerous or illegal.
I’m sorry for my mistake. To make up for it, I invite all you real Americans to ask me anything you like about the Muslim plot to destroy America. I’ll do my best to get back to you with the straight dope.
After all, before you contemplate excluding American Muslims from the ambit of U.S. constitutional protections — as Paul Sperry, P. David Gaubatz, and now a few members of Congress would like to do — it would be a courtesy to talk the matter over with real live Muslims.
- Media Matters: Republican Lawmakers Leading Witch Hunt Against Muslim Group
- Glenn Greenwald nominates the “Muslim Mafia” press conference as “most despicable domestic political event of the year.”
- Politico: Islam group ridicules Muslim ‘spies’ claim
- Cynthia Tucker takes Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) to task for his role.