Burning Korans: Lessons in Hypocrisy


The agony that was visited upon our governing class, the media, cultural elites, religious leaders, and even top military brass at the prospect of Reverend Terry Jones burning Korans says much about prevailing cultural attitudes, norms, and prejudices.  None of it, I'm afraid, is good.

Before the pastor had backed away from his decision, we had heard from President Obama, Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, General David Petraeus, and General Ray Odierno, all of whom condemned it.

Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders and organizations lined up in opposition to the planned burning along with several G7 leaders, and even the Vatican, which denounced it as "outrageous and grave." 

Muslim nations and various international Muslim organizations have also signaled their strong displeasure.  And, of course, there have been the requisite death threats and calls for the pastor's killing by Jihadist groups around the world.

And, so, the 58-year-old Pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, with a congregation of 50, was very much at the center of the universe for a brief time.  And the world very much in a panic.

We can consider the many slights against other faiths and note the relative lack of response by the media and the world community, or, for that matter, the members of the offended faith. 

When the Taliban blew up the giant Buddha statues in the Bamiyan valley in Afghanistan there was no violence by Buddhist communities around the world.  The "Piss Christ" exhibit that featured a crucifix submerged in urine, while offending many, did not elicit riots by Christians.  Bible burnings occur commonly throughout the Muslim world with generally little fanfare or media interest.  Flags of Israel and other Jewish symbols have been desecrated throughout the Muslim world routinely without violent unrest.  

But if someone upsets Muslim sensitivities, the picture is different. 

In 1989, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa against Salmon Rushdie for his book, Satanic Verses, which led to any number of brutal slayings.  There were violent responses to Theo Van Gogh's film, Submission, not the least of which was the butchering and partial decapitation of Van Gogh himself by an angry Muslim.  There have been violent Muslim reactions to the Danish and Swedish cartoons, the Pope's speech at Regensburg, Geert Wilders film, Fitna, and the erroneous Newsweek story of Koran desecration at Guantanamo, among a multitude of other lesser-known infractions, all of which led to death threats, riots, and killing.

Indeed, the Muslim world is a prickly place with selective displays of outrage.

Let us examine the hypocrisies. 

First, from our political and military elites. 

Obama, Gates, Clinton, Petraeus, Odierno, et al., busied themselves over the antics of Pastor Jones who did not issue death threats, burn down a mosque, or blow up a crowded market. 

His actions, however offensive, were well within accepted norms of a free and lawful society. 

Why do our leaders not occupy themselves with more significant pathologies such as honor killings, genital mutilation, or the stoning of apostates, say, as they do toward an obscure country infidel threatening to torch a book?

Obama and other liberal leaders were also quick to defend Imam Rauf's first amendment rights to construct a Mosque near the sacred soil of Ground Zero, something that was profoundly offensive to most Americans. 

Is it necessary for our leaders to genuflect every time Muslims are offended and yet treat our own sensitivities with condescension and scorn? 

What, then, of the hypocrisy of secular liberals and the media, who display such solicitous concern for the sensitivities of Islam; yet defend vigorously the freedom-of-speech rights of pornographers, newspapers revealing national security secrets, traitors, terrorists, Nazis, Muslims, and, of course, bible and flag burners.

Liberals have no problems with images of the Virgin Mary covered in excrement or books and movies that lampoon Jesus.  If Christians protest, they label them as intolerant boobs - even as they aggressively defend Muslim pieties, such as the Koran or Mohammed.

The third and greatest hypocrisy, though, comes from the Muslim world itself, which ignores the exponentially greater sins occurring under its own nose.  For if Islam is a “religion of peace” than many Muslims defile their religion routinely, and in far more grievous fashion.  

What, for example, are we to make of the poverty and illiteracy of so many Muslim nations?  Or the corruption and autocracy of Muslim regimes, their absence of human rights or civil liberties?  Or the genocidal behavior of the Sudan?  Or the killing of apostates and the stoning of women?  Or the banning of churches in Saudi Arabia?  Or the daily massacres perpetrated by Muslims against themselves and others.

Muslim outrage over perceived slights by the West has become an effective political tool, an instrument of censorship – and intimidation.  But we need not cede the Muslim world veto power over our Constitution. 

Individuals have the right to express themselves in the West even in ways considered profane or insulting.  And our freedom of speech is as sacred to us as the Koran is to Muslims.

Someone burning a Koran in Florida does not threaten Islam.  And there are far more urgent problems confronting the Muslim world. 






  • Harvey Chaimowitz

    October 14, 2010

    You are actually saying two wrongs make a right, but they just make us as dopey and moronic as illiterate Muslims. When an educated, cultured Muslim lifts his head to help us, you want to stomp on him ipso facto. We can't win the war against terrorism unless we get most of the Muslim world on our side. That will never happen with blogs like this one. Every important thinker says Obama has made great progress in winning the Muslim world to our side, but his need to be reelected in a country leaning to the right will negate any such progress and allow Bin Laden to step up recruitment of angry, uneducated, gullible young Muslims, their counterpoint to our gullible followers of the Tea Party.

  • R W Gregory

    October 16, 2010

    Chaimowitz's comment is a standard canned reply. Let's be oh-so politically correct and not talk about Muslim atrocities because it hurts their feelings. We'll just never-ever get along. Well boo-hoo. The “religion of peace” is just a misnomer. Even talking bad about the Muslim religion can get you in serious trouble. Don't dare make a movie about it- probably get a fatwah issued on your head. The facts are the facts. The Doctor was absolutely correct. The only thing I would add, in reply to Chaimowitz's comment, is that we will never "win the war against terrorism", even if we could get "most of the Muslim world on our side", because that will never happen. They'll NEVER stop. Chaimowitz also added, "When an educated, cultured Muslim lifts his head to help us". Either that statement is an oxymoron, or I must have dozed off when it happened because I sure don't remember seeing "educated, cultured Muslims" ("moderate Muslims"???) lifting their heads to help us, let alone condem what the extremists are doing. They believe what they believe and we cannot change them, anymore than they can change us. Bottom line is that Christianianity is more of a religion of peace than the Muslim religion. As for Obama making "great progress in winning the Muslim world to our side", are you serious??? Ha Ha Ha... The ONLY thing he's done in that area is to fully throw Israel under the bus in effort to make the Muslims come to our side and even that isn't helping. I only hope that the next Congress can undo ALL the damage Obama has done to us internationally AND here at home. G_D bless America!

  • Richard Moss

    October 17, 2010

    I would argue that Obama has not changed Muslims' attitude towards us. Iran continues to pursue nukes, Iraq and afghan are very violent places, we have had a number of Muslim attacks or attempted attacks against us since his inauguration: Xmas bomber, Times Square, Ft. Hood. And various studies simply do not support that we are better liked by Arabs/Muslims now than w bush. What we have done though, in attempting to appease those who cannot be appeased, is to alienate our allies, chief of which is Israel but others as well, particularly our NATO allies. we have created uncertainty around the world amongst friends in Europe, mid east, and Asia about our commitment and intentions. More not less instability and insecurity.

  • Sam DeArment

    October 18, 2010

    For you to compare Muslims to Tea Party members is unbelieveable. What country do you live in? You seem to be well educated and highly intelligent but your conclusions are 180 degrees wrong based on the comments you made.

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