What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

About

What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Making a parallel cause

I've always maintained that Islam and leftism are incommensurable evils. What this means is that we should never fall into the trap of saying that it would be better to be under Islam than under liberalism for some reason or another. (E.g. Islam "at least recognizes religion" or "Islam is opposed to sexual immorality," or something of that kind.) Nor should we, on the other hand, say that secular liberalism is just ducky because it isn't Islam. Comparing the two is comparing apples and oranges. In most cases you're less likely to get murdered for being a Christian (or a Jew) in a secular, liberal state than in an Islamic state. On the other hand, you're a lot more likely to have pornography put in your face in a secular, liberal state than in an Islamic state. There is no single metric along which we can compare these things.

Anyone who has read what I have written about Islam over the years knows that I'm not wussy on the matter. I don't think my anti-Muslim credentials (to use a deliberately inflammatory phrase) need burnishing. So I trust that this post will not be misunderstood as embracing any sort of Peter Kreeft-style "ecumenical jihad" against indecency.

All that being said...

This story is doing the rounds among my Facebook friends recently with fairly predictable comments about how terrible it is, how sharia is spreading, and so forth. This appears to be the article making the sharia claim.

Let me say up front what I do find annoying and even a bit creepy about comments by this fellow Hassan at the town council meeting in Dearborn. First, there was his starting by chanting prayers to Allah. Making it even weirder was the fact that he had only a three-minute time limit, but he felt he had to use part of his time chanting prayers to Allah. It appears that he just assumed he could go over his time limit anyway. Typical Muslim presumptuousness and in-your-face behavior. Second (and not commented on in all the outrage I've seen thus far about this alleged instance of sharia-creep), there was his bad-mouthing his employer to the city council and even going so far as to complain that his employer has "no political correctness." I guess now Muslims {heart} political correctness because it means being pro-Muslim. Hassan alleges that his employer's work atmosphere is anti-Arab and wanted to be sure to tell that to everyone attending the town council meeting. Typical Muslim pushiness and victim-mongering.

I pause to note that it seems highly unlikely to me that a Christian would do either of these things. I could be wrong. There could be some weird, cringe-worthy Christian who would go to a town council meeting and, apropos of nothing, get up and use up his three minutes by praying loudly to Jesus and then proceed to complain about the atmosphere at his place of work. But it seems more likely from a Muslim. And finally and relatedly there was just the failure to have a very good sense of what is and what isn't an action item for the Dearborn City Council. Hint: Your employer's being insufficiently welcoming to Muslims isn't.

Also, we all know what Christians can expect from Muslims in Dearborn. Just go to my author page and read all my articles from past years about the attempts to shut down Christian missionary activities in Dearborn. Somehow I have a deep feeling that Hassan, who started out with his loud Islamic prayers before talking to the City Council, would have been only too happy to be involved getting people arrested for preaching at the Arab Festival.

So I'm not going to be embracing ol' Hassan any time soon, shouting, "Brother! Let us join together in fighting the evils of American culture!"

However: conspicuous by their absence in my list of creepy things Hassan said are the very two complaints that have prompted the claim that he was promoting sharia! These two concerns are

1) Sex in local public parks, and
2) Lewd materials on offer in local public libraries and in the civic center.

I believe that both of these are going on, by the way. The priors seem pretty high, based on my background knowledge.

There are several things that look like inaccuracies in the article saying that this is about sharia. If someone can point me to additional data substantiating these claims, I'll be happy to see it. But for now, they look wrong. The article claiming sharia says that Hassan complained about magazines being sold in stores. The news story, however, says that he complained about materials being made available at public libraries and the civic center. The latter is more relevant to an organ of city governance like the city council than the former. And trying to restrict the presentation of explicit materials by public entities such as the civic center gives less excuse for yelling, "Sharia!" than trying to do the same for private stores. (Though I myself actually am not a die-hard libertarian when it comes to pornographic materials being sold even by private venues and would support outlawing it.)

The Wizbang article claiming that this is about spreading sharia calls the patrols Hassan was asking for "sharia patrols," but the news article says that he called on the city to stop sex in public parks. The phrase "sharia patrols" gives an impression of private, Islamic vigilante squads, but asking the police to stop what is already illegal activity (sex isn't actually allowed in public parks) seems like the sort of thing any decent citizen might do.

The Wizbang article then fudges by referring to the proposed patrols as "sharia-compliant." Let me get this straight: If the police stop people from having sex in public, this is being sharia-compliant? What??? I think I don't want to live in the anarchic world run by Warner Todd Huston, the author of the Wizbang article. Huston goes on to characterize the request for the police to stop sex in public parks as trying to "prevent people from using parks." Really? Look, I could understanding saying something like that if Hassan had demanded that the police stop people from walking their dogs in public parks. (Because Islam is, in fact, anti-dog.) I could understand saying something like this if Hassan had demanded that people be stopped from having picnics with ham in public parks. (Because Muslims can't eat ham.) I could understanding saying something like this if Hassan wanted the police to arrest any woman in a public park not wearing a hijab. You get the picture. And for all I know, maybe in his heart Hassan really would like all of those things as well. But newsflash, Mr. Huston:

It isn't preventing people from using public parks for normal and legitimate purposes to prevent them from having sex in public parks.

Should this even need to be said?

A City Council member brushed off the concern about public sex by saying that the city doesn't have the resources for increased security at parks. Couldn't there have been some questions asked? Maybe the city council could have put Hassan into contact with a local police official for some targeted patrols at the times and places he had in mind. How much would that have cost? Was a brusque brush-off really a responsible response from the city council? In my opinion, no, it was not. The concern was a sufficiently serious one that looking into it was warranted.

But Huston at Wizbang is deeply relieved:

So, Mr. Hassan wants sharia compliant patrols to prevent people from using parks and he wants the city to perpetrate sharia compliant censorship at libraries.

Fortunately, the city council shot down Hassan’s demands. This time.

Fortunately, really? Because demanding that the police stop sex in public parks is just too, too creepy. Glad we dodged that bullet.

As for the books in the public libraries and civic center, granted, that's way too big of a matter for the city council to take up and one over which they may have no jurisdiction. But in that case, why lecture Hassan on the First Amendment and imply that parental control over children's reading material is the only way to address concerns about the materials made available in those locations? This is the whole Banned Book Week nonsense all over again: Faux deference, suddenly discovered, to parental authority is used in a kind of jujitsu move actually to overturn parental authority by putting all manner of disgusting books at the disposal of minor children in their school and public libraries. Give me a break. The First Amendment means libraries have to carry trash? Gee, with all the trash there is in the world, how in the world can they possibly fulfill these alleged First Amendment duties? How are they to choose? The libraries would collapse if they tried to carry it all!

The city council-woman could instead have told Hassan something about the procedure, if she knows it, for bringing a complaint to the relevant body about the books or materials. I'm sure there must be such a procedure, even if it is unlikely to do much good. Hoity-toity references to the First Amendment were at least as off-point as Hassan's bringing the complaint to the city council in the first place. And knowing some of the things carried by public libraries and made available even to kids and teens, I wouldn't be surprised if I would agree with Hassan's list of objectionable materials.

I worry that in opposing sharia-creep (which is a real thing) we will make common cause with all the wrong people--with those who want to sexualize our children, with the homosexual lobby, and so forth. Some years ago I was perturbed when Jihad Watch (I no longer have the links) made a big deal about Muslim taxi drivers telling homosexual men not to be kissing each other in the back seat. This, we were told, was akin to Muslim taxi drivers refusing to carry blind people's seeing eye dogs.

Well, no, it isn't.

Look, the imposition of sharia is bad news, and there are real instances (i.e., the treatment of missionaries in Dearborn), but not every individual item that a Muslim brings up is ipso facto something we conservatives should be opposing with cries of, "Sharia!" We've come to a pretty pass if objecting to public sex gets decried on the right as an instance of the onslaught of sharia. The Wizbang article is kneejerk in the worst of senses, and conservatives can do better than that.

I have never advocated, and don't intend to advocate, making common cause with Muslims. But we can make parallel cause. We, too, can ask the city council to do something about sex in public parks if we know that it's going on. We, too, can try to get nasty materials out of our libraries and even, for that matter, can ask local stores to stop selling such things. (My local store has at least put one of those partial covers over the Cosmopolitan magazine cover. Baby steps. Better than nothing. And it was only partly thanks to me. Evidently someone else asked first, but I've kept on it when the cover disappeared.) This isn't sharia, folks. It's what used to be called "family values." It's decency. If some Muslim also does it because of sharia, then he's doing one legitimate thing, though for the wrong reason (because of his commitment to Islam). Oppose sharia when it's really sharia. Oppose sharia when it's clogging up the streets every Friday and blocking traffic with Muslims praying, when it's a demand that nobody do any street preaching in a "Muslim area" or that people be punished for disrespecting the Koran. Oppose sharia when it's being used to justify child custody or marital decisions. There are plenty of places to oppose sharia. This, however, is not one of those places.

Comments (18)

Could it be that Mr. Hassan wasn't sufficiently versed in the protocols of "political correctnes"? That is, we'll be glad to step on some Christians for you now and then when they try to preach in your public space or, say, burn a Koran. But we'll step on you if you try to mess with the real holy of holies - our unfettered access to sexual whatever.

when they try to preach in your public space

Hah! I have no problem believing the political correctinistas would word it that way.

It's always an interesting speculative question: Are the Muslims or the leftists going to win in the West in the long run? If one bets that the leftists will squash the Muslims in the long run, then one may think that the leftists are a greater danger. If one thinks the Muslims are going to win, one may think that they are the greater danger. I'm glad nobody can force me to bet, because I really don't know the answer. If I had to bet on the presently available evidence, I would look at England and, say, Malmo or France and would say that it looks like the Muslims are going to win because they are simply more willing to use violence and threats of violence, and the leftists blink first. But I could be wrong about that, so I'm not actually betting.

Interestingly in this "global" international scene, accessibility still matters. While I would hesitate to push this too far, I would suggest that it really matters, in looking at Muslims as immigrant populations, how large the individual groups are. If you get a Muslim or 3 scattered over a population of 10,000, I think that the Muslims are going to have a hard time keeping their religion, because of course it doesn't hold up to reason and it takes constant re-enforcement from others to stick at it. The "liberalizing" forces of (a) prosperity, (b) demand for reason and evidence, and (c) simple disbelief when the women cant' do things like drive to the doctor, make it very easy for individual Muslims to 'give in' to the surrounding culture of the west. I know Muslims here in the US who live like westerners, who are fallen-away Muslims at least to some extent (though they would get mighty upset if you insulted their prophet).

On the other hand, if you have 10% of the population Muslim and pockets of whole neighborhoods that are 60% or 90% Muslim, then they will get all the mutual re-enforcement they need and will retain their Muslim roots much better. Although even there, I wonder (and tend to doubt) whether the daily practices of Muslims in England and France would meet with 100% approval of the standard straight-up Muslims in Saudi Arabia or Iran.

So if it is easy for Muslims to arrive en masse from Algeria to France or from a former British protectorate like Egypt to Britain, that's going to change how easy it is for Muslims to be present in sufficient numbers to really affect a change in the culture. America, not as readily possible (Dearborn notwithstanding - why Dearborn, anyway?) so far as I can see it. Maybe I just happen to live in an area that is sufficiently un-invaded to notice it.

I know very devout Muslims too and they live nothing like Saudi Arabians. The women drive cars, have jobs, run family businesses and go to school. They work with non-Muslims on a regular basis, including non-Muslims who are blatantly living lifestyles banned by Islam.

Of course their lifestyle isn't totally Western. You're not going to find them drinking beer at a bar, pre-marital sex probably doesn't happen as much as it does with more secular types. But then there's plenty of 'whites' who forgo those things as well, sometimes even more (I can understand how you can have a Muslim civilization, but I can't see how you can have a Mormon one where the social and psychological cement of coffee is rejected!).

Which brings me to the article behind this story which basically explains why the left doesn't take the hysterics about Islam on the right very seriously. If Islam never existed, everything that person said in the meeting could just as easily have been said by some nitty from any other religion or even non-religion. Go to a big diverse city like NYC and you'll find people worrying about 'suggestive' magazines in view of children, people having sex in parks. As Lydia fairly points out, some of these are valid concerns (although I've never seen a pornographic newspaper in a library, and if when everyone is asleep some couple occasionally has sex in a park I also don't really care but if it starts becoming a common thing then I agree the police should put a stop to it).

As Tony says, and as evidence has shown, Boonton, there are real problems with Muslim enclaves. There are real problems in Dearborn. They have tried to prevent people from coming and engaging in ordinary conversation at booths at a festival--the type of thing we Americans take for granted. For a while they succeeded in getting such "offensive" people arrested, even though they were doing nothing more offensive than quietly discussing the deity of Christ. I documented it all in post after post. It's an interesting question as to how the Muslims who did that live on a daily basis. Do their women drive cars and what-not? I'm going to bet that they probably do. It's not inconsistent per se to let your woman drive a car while trying to make your city streets Christianity-free. Moreover, in England we have seen that even moderate Muslim families often have kids who are very open to being, as they say, "radicalized." The reason that this happens is because of the real material both in the Koran and in the Hadiths and in the entire history of Islam supporting killing and conquering of infidels. It's a pattern that has been repeated again and again. There is more that I could say. Some of it was listed in my posts in the "disinviting Islam" series several years ago.

So I continue to see Islam as a real threat to the West through immigration. However, these comments at the city council meeting just weren't an instance thereof.

England is concerned about 'radicalized' Muslims who have gone off to Syria to fight. They are concerned about maybe 400 of them, that's out of 1.5 million Muslisms or so (and of course simply going off to fight in a civil war doesn't make one a terrorist, Syria's dictatorship is hardly some paradise that only a crazed Taliban puritan could object too). Leaving aside 400 they are 'concerned about', how many actual terrorists? Two dozen, three? Out of 1.5M. That means either the Koran doesn't quite make the points you say it does, or if it does it's remarkably ineffective (I'm open to either possibility given that what I've read about the Koran is that it is very obtuse and what little of it I've tried to read seems to bear that out).

I'd be more open to Tony's complaints Lydia but look at this example here. You basically have someone whose complaints are possibly half-legit and half-silly who if he was anyone other than a Muslim wouldn't elicit anything more than a ho-hum. Because he's a Muslim, though, this is blown up as the camel's nose of squads of 'religious police' running around with canes smacking women for showing their hair or wearing short skirts. Likewise assorted other anti-Muslism efforts have tended to veer overboard, violating American principles with no real justification (examples, bans on 'sharia' law that are really violations of the private right to contract, the silliness over the so-called WTC mosque) Given that this example of 'sharia' is rather underwhelming, I think you should understand why many on the left are skeptical of your claims that Muslims are trying to ban Christianity in the US. I am open though to the possibility that you have legitimate cases of political correctness going overboard. Do they add up to a religious war between our fellow citizens, though, or are they simply cases of PC silliness that we always have to be on the lookout for from all sides.

BTW, since I'm not a regular reader on this blog (and I sense you may be happy with me staying that way...but what the hey...), when you're talking about Dearborn are you referring to this, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christandpopculture/2013/05/muslims-stoning-christians-in-michigan-not-quite-updated/?

How is this different from, say, the Catholic Church using its position as organizer of the St Patrick's Day Parade in NYC to keep out gay Irish groups? Their stance is pretty straight forward first amendment. We are having a public event but having one as a religious group (ie celebrating Irish Catholics). We therefore have a right to limit our event to those who are aligned with it (i.e. no Gay Irish float just as we won't have a Atheist Irish float or even for that matter a Protestant Irish float). If some Anglophile got on a soap box and started preaching that the British should have squashed the Irish scum when they had the chance, I suspect an ugly scene would have ensured. That would not tell us though that Irish New Yorkers are the vanguard of a Papist Theocracy emerging from midtown Manhatten.

How is this different from, say, the Catholic Church using its position as organizer of the St Patrick's Day Parade in NYC to keep out gay Irish groups?

Because it wasn't a parade. It was a festival involving multiple streets with booths, rides, etc., on public property. Actually, the courts have now agreed that first amendment rights to leafletting, sign carrying, and ordinary conversation apply there.

The thing about you, Boonton, is that you don't do enough research. If you go to my author page and search "Dearborn," you will find meticulous documentation over multiple posts of arresting two men who were literally just walking about having quiet conversations. They weren't even carrying signs or passing out leaflets. It was truly outrageous. The word "political correctness" doesn't even cover it. It was a straightforward attempt to create a fully Muslim area in which even Christian missionaries conversing peacefully with Muslims about religion was to be forbidden. My stories came long before the stories about Muslims throwing things at people holding signs. They were about earlier incidents that first drew nationwide attention to the ridiculous things that were going on at the Arab Festival in Dearborn. Ironically, people showed up with more offensive signs and then had to be protected from Muslim crowds (because of the court precedents set by that time), and this never would have happened if the police had not previously colluded with the Muslims in kicking out far more low-key Christians who weren't doing anything remotely offensive by any normal and objective measure.

As for sharia law, yes, actually, there is a need for concern. As I said in the main post, there are _other_ reasons for concern about it; this just didn't happen to be one of them. If people on the left like yourself want to know more, you can research it. David Yerushalmi has done a huge amount of work on this subject. I have a post about it here:

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2012/06/antisharia_it_has_a_point.html

Note that in the early comments on that post there are links to more information, including a large document showing American court interactions with Islamic law:

http://shariahinamericancourts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Sharia_Law_And_American_State_Courts_1.4_06212011.pdf

As I say in the comments, again and again American courts have expressly been asked to acknowledge sharia law in divorce and custody cases. In at least one case this has resulted in American courts' giving custody of children to a Muslim father per sharia law without due consideration of the best interests of the child. Which is pretty serious stuff, to put it mildly. And in a _large_ number of cases Muslims have requested such actions by the court in recognition of sharia law, even where a trial court or appellate court has ultimately refused to do so. So this is definitely a live issue.

Because it wasn't a parade. It was a festival involving multiple streets with booths, rides, etc., on public property. Actually, the courts have now agreed that first amendment rights to leafletting, sign carrying, and ordinary conversation apply there.

1. Street preaching is not 'ordinary conversation'.

2. A festival doesn't magically make it an open event while a parade is not. Italian Catholics are well known for having lots of street festivals full of rides, booths, vendors etc. Just because they are 'open to the public' doesn't mean that the organizers have no right to reject participation by those not aligned with their group (say a vendor selling condoms or Planned Parenthood wanting to set up a booth). I suspect they could also exclude participation by those who want to use the event to 'quietly' protest something they don't like about Catholicism, even if they are doing it in a low key way. As long as city hall is willing to issue permits to those who want to hold a 'Christian festival', there is no first amendment issue.

3. Are you also familiar with the 'heckler's veto'? It's essentially a long established aspect of First Amendment law that essentially says 'trolling' can be banned. It essentially says if you walk into a deeply Irish pub and announce something like "I hope the Queen stamps out that wretched scum Island clogging up the Atlantic" you can be arrested for instigating a riot...even though your 'speech' is your pure opinion which you are entitled to have and it's not actually legal for the Irishmen in the pub to lay their hands on you. Nonetheless, despite all those rights your freedom to exercise speech is limited by context.


"As I say in the comments, again and again American courts have expressly been asked to acknowledge sharia law in divorce and custody cases."

In cases where both parties consent to a divorce, they are allowed to make their own divorce contract. For example, my brother-in-law and his wife divorced and mutually signed an agreement for him to pay a certain amount of child support. That amount is actually higher than what the law would have normally awarded, but because the parties agreed together the contract is binding. But the contract is not iron clad. Courts can disregard it if they find it is grossly unjust, harmful or otherwise flawed.

The right to private contract is enshrined in the Constitution prior to even the Bill of Rights. You cannot toss a contract simply because the parties have agreed to apply a system of private law based on sharia. Private law is very common and has a long history.

As for disregarding the best interests of the child, you're mixing up two different tests here. If the father was unfit to have a child, no private divorce contract would help him. State agencies have the right to deny him custody on those grounds without regard to any sharia inspired contract he might have.

But 'best interest of the child' is a test where the court tries to figure out which parent would be better for the child. You could loose such a case on grounds that have nothing to do with you being unfit to have a child. A court could decide your husband is better because he makes a bit more money, or has a larger house, or because you were recently unemployed. In a divorce agreement your husband could agree to give you custody even though those points may win him custody if it was brought before a judge. It would be patently unfair if after the divorce he could turn around and try to get the court to reverse that by arguing 'best interest'.

I'm actually mixing up nothing. Generally custody is decided on the grounds of what really will be best for the child. Or that at least is supposed to be attempted. It is contrary to this principle to say that because the family was Muslim and sharia gives custody to the father automatically that will be done without further consideration.

As for all your blah-blah about a heckler's veto and the rest, chatting with Muslims at a fair booth (or even just standing around, which was part of it) about theological matters is supposed to be protected speech. It is not heckling or fighting words or anything else that American precedent and first amendment law says is limited. It was normal human conversation. The fact that the surrounding streets were designated an Arab Festival makes no difference to this. Nor does any of that magically become tantamount to marching in a parade with a message at odds with that of the parade. There's really not much point in my trying to explain this stuff to you, but in fact, the missionaries in question did nothing bannable in the United States. Even leafletting had to be allowed in the end, though the people I focused on most were not passing out leaflets.

I get the feeling that you haven't even tried to watch any of the video or even research the incidents I have in mind, but since you've already made up your mind, perhaps it wouldn't matter.

Generally custody is decided on the grounds of what really will be best for the child. Or that at least is supposed to be attempted.

This is only when custody is in dispute. Of course what is a court supposed to do in that case?

BUT when the couple agrees upon a custody arrangement the court defers to that unless there's a reason to reject it, like someone is unfit. But as I pointed out, being an unfit parent is very different from 'best interests'. If you're unfit you've done something very wrong and no agreement is going to save it. Now of course most people think of divorces as all out wars between the parties but lawyers get very expensive and many couples do find a way to get to some type of agreement on custody rather than tossing it to the judge to decide.

As for all your blah-blah about a heckler's veto and the rest, chatting with Muslims at a fair booth (or even just standing around, which was part of it) about theological matters is supposed to be protected speech.

Hmmm,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_8MO7IIlCw&feature=player_detailpage#t=2977s

Yea well here's the guy calmly explaining to a police officer that his purpose in bringing a pig head on a spike with him was because "Muslims are scared of pigs". This doesn't sound to me like your nice calm version where a person just causally mentions their Christian faith then all hell breaks loose on them.

I'm not saying there was nothing that the Arab side didn't overreact too. There very well may have been but this event doesn't quite look as one sided as you depicted it. Just like the man who wanted the city council to have patrols stop people from having public sex in the parks wasn't quite demanding the 'Saudi style religious police' that his critics depicted.

Boonton, you're still conflating several discrete incidents, most likely because you haven't bothered to read Lydia's previous posts. But hey, you're not obliged to know what you're talking about; and we're not obliged to expect that you do.

This doesn't sound to me like your nice calm version
this event doesn't quite look as one sided as you depicted it

I have never discussed that incident or that event, so I don't have a version of it. I have never depicted it. What a time-waster you are, Boonton. As Paul says, you don't even know what you're talking about. Even after I've explained explicitly and carefully that I have a particular set of incidents in mind and discussed them (over a period of years, I add) in a series of posts that you can find.

Using our analogy of a Catholic street festival, I wonder what would the reaction be to a group of dedicated missionaries with an anti-Papal agenda who began circulating around the festival. Even if the 'preaching' was done in a low key way that would normally be unremarkable in a public park, I suspect it would at a min. be pretty disruptive. Of course if later on a guy shows up with a pigs head on a stick, it would get pretty ugly for all involved even if the first group wasn't related to the instigator.


Anyway even if the festival was a 'public event' I think the holders of the permit would have a right to expel the preachers from the grounds, even if they weren't behaving as outrageously as the pig-head guy. I admit, though, an ACLU minded person might disagree and take a more absolutist approach to the First Amendment.

Regardless, it's hardly unusual for permit holders to try to assert as much control over their event as possible. In the above hypothetical, it wouldn't be fair to say the Catholic festival organizers were trying to enforce a 'loyality to the Pope' requirement for walking through the street where it was happening, making the public street a 'non-Catholic free zone'. They wouldn't say a guy who happened to be known as a member of the local Bapist Church would be booted. But they would probably want to say that their festival, whose permit they paid for, should not be an open forum to debate the theological merits of Papal authority. Maybe they would be wrong on the law but that in itself would not, IMO, indicate the Catholics were plotting a theocracy and the festival was the camel's nose in the tent. I could be wrong but I suspect there is room in the law to accomodate events that fall between the categories of purely private and purely public.

Remember your argument here isn't just that a group is attempting to advocate policies that benefit them but violate the First Amendment. There are lots of attempts to violate the First Amendment all the time, if there wasn't then we wouldn't have so many First Amendment cases in our courts. Simply being on the wrong side of a first amendment case tells us nothing other than the fact that people and groups will try to stretch the law as much as possible to their local benefit, and will then try to push it even more.

My other point is that your side here is admittedly unreliable in their depiction of events. This was pointed out by you in the distortion of the man's comments at the meeting. It's also evident in leavng out some context w/this festival. For example, you've claimed the more radical anti-Muslimists only showed up because the more milder missionaries were unfairly arrested. It was a 3 day festival, do we really think the guy with the pigs head on a stick wasn't planning to start trouble all along? How fast are you able to run out and get a pigs head to put on a stick if you weren't planning it all along? Or your analysis of divorce agreements, which leaves out the fact that courts generally let couples agree on any reasonable arrangement they want and 'best interest' of the child is only employed when the couple cannot agree and must toss it to the courts. There's a pattern here where stories that involve Muslisms are being read with a pretty steep slant which I think puts your case in doubt. That problem isn't fixed by simply unearthing cases where the criticism of the Muslim side is legitimate.

Remember your argument here isn't just that a group is attempting to advocate policies . . .
There's a pattern here where stories that involve Muslisms are being read with a pretty steep slant which I think puts your case in doubt.

The most important pattern to remember here is your intellectual laziness is gaining command of the facts at hand. For instance, it appears that you are still ignorant of the fact that events addressed in Lydia's posts and the "pigs-on-a-stick" brouhaha occurred in entirely different years.

Paul,

Very good point, I missed that pigs-head guy was a different year than the original issue of 'missionaries' being booted. But for my main point I don't think it matters as much as you think.

First, I've pointed out the analogy of the anti-Papist preachers at the Catholic festival to illustrate that permit holders do in fact have an interest in expelling disruptive people even if those people are behaving in a way that would be acceptable on 'any given day' in a public space. Preaching in the park that England is great and the Irish are uncivilized is fine, it's not so fine on St. Patricks day.

Second, more importantly I think you're reading stories here with a slant.

Look imagine I wanted to argue the case that "Scientologists are trouble for America". I could scour Google news alerts for any incidents of Scientologiests behaving badly. I could find examples of the Church of Scientology using it's muscle to stifle critics (for example, there are cases of them using copyright laws to try to stop people bashing their 'theology'). I could find cases of dissidents getting death threats, I could find examples online forums of pro-scientology activists expressing disdain for religious freedom (when it doesn't benefit their religion) and so on.

Some of my critics may carefully note that some of my examples are either entirely wrong or are missing a lot of context. But if I was very careful I could choose my examples so that they couldn't nitpick them apart or only do so after a lot of research. Yet that wouldn't make my case. Likewise your case needs something a bit more than simply finding examples where all honest people could agree the Muslim in a dispute is in the wrong.

Post a comment


Bold Italic Underline Quote

Note: In order to limit duplicate comments, please submit a comment only once. A comment may take a few minutes to appear beneath the article.

Although this site does not actively hold comments for moderation, some comments are automatically held by the blog system. For best results, limit the number of links (including links in your signature line to your own website) to under 3 per comment as all comments with a large number of links will be automatically held. If your comment is held for any reason, please be patient and an author or administrator will approve it. Do not resubmit the same comment as subsequent submissions of the same comment will be held as well.