An Up-close Look at the Liberal-Muslim Alliance
I have read about the paradoxical alliance between Islam and the left for years. I have even written about it -- at some length, in fact, in my newest book Scarlet Letters. But it was only a few weeks go that I got to see up close the mechanisms that allow people who celebrate homosexuals to find common cause with those who, when the law allows, happily sever their heads.
As a result of my book, I was invited to sit on a panel titled “Muslim in the Metro,” an event sponsored by an enterprise called American Public Square and televised in edited form -- fairly, I must say -- on the regional PBS channel here in Kansas City, KCPT.
There were five panelists -- myself, a Republican state rep from Kansas, a fiftyish Muslim woman in the diversity business, a U.S. attorney appointed by Obama, and a female Muslim college student who used the word “microagression” as something other than a punch line to a joke. The moderator was also a former Obama appointee.
I would use names, but I am confident if American Public Square ran a comparable event in other cities, the four Muslim advocates -- the moderator included -- would espouse almost identical views. They represent a type. So too did the overwhelmingly liberal audience. I could have written their questions for them.
These American Public Square debates feature an active online fact checker and a civility bell. I was a little queasy about the civility bell, but I welcomed the fact checker. He proved to be my greatest ally.
The state rep did a fine job. As an elected official he had to be a little cautious, but he made his case about terror and immigration well.
My strategy was a little different. Knowing that I was not about to convert anyone, I thought I could at least confuse the audience members with the truth, and the truth is that their affection for Islam makes no apparent sense. This proved to be a difficult assignment, and here is why.
The left has a unique ability to deny the obvious.
In attempting to establish my premise, I said to the panel, “Muslims are culturally very conservative around the world,” adding rhetorically, “Is that fair to say?”
This premise struck me as inarguable. My fellow panelists felt otherwise. The two women, both wearing Hijabs, and the moderator all shouted out “No” or some variant. Said I, “When it comes to issues like family, women, abortion, gay rights, you’re telling me they’re not conservative?”
The moderator admonished me. “Jack,” he said, “you’re asking a question, and they didn’t give you the answer you want.” He then challenged me to make my case or move on.
Knowing there was a fact checker, I pulled out my one file card and read through the numbers from Pew Research Foundation, a liberal but generally reliable source. When asked about gay rights, 87 percent of Germans approved but no more than 9 percent of Muslims in any country surveyed and as little as 2 percent in some.
On the question of whether a women should always obey her husband, 87 percent of Muslims approved. On the question of whether apostates should be executed, 56 percent of Muslims who approved of Sharia law said yes. Asked whether they held “highly unfavorable” views of Jews, 99 percent of Jordanians and 100 percent of Lebanese sad yes. The fact checker could not deny what I was saying.
My fellow panelists could and did. They protested that these attitudes did not reflect American Muslims, but I had to repeat that I began my discussion by saying these surveys were done in the countries that comprise our immigration pool, and that the threat of immigration motivated the anti-Muslim sentiment about which they complained.
The left instinctively denies the worth of America.
I did concede that American Muslims were likely more moderate in their views. This relative moderation, I argued, reflected the “palliative effect of American culture on Islam.” This comment drew boos from the audience. From the left’s perspective, nothing America does is palliative.
The left controls the debate.
When I added, “If you go to Cologne, Germany you’re going to meet people who haven’t had that [palliative] experience,” the moderator insisted that I stick to local issues. Europe seemed particularly off limits. Although this was billed as a nonpartisan event, it proved to be no more nonpartisan than PBS in general or CNN or NBC or the New York Times. The moderator unabashedly took sides.
The left inevitably falls back on false moral equivalence.
Indeed, from the Muslim women and especially from the U.S. Attorney, there was so much talk of Timothy McVeigh, Clive Bundy, the KKK, the Sovereignty movement, and even the mid 19th-century Know-Nothing Party, a latecomer might have thought the event about Christian terrorism. Of course, in none of these conversations did the moderator insist the speaker restrict himself to local issues.
The left is plagued with cognitive dissonance.
I kept returning to the transparently separate standards liberals held for traditional Christians and traditional Muslims. I pointed out, for instance, that the Kansas City Star designated a prominent liberal pastor a “drum major for justice” for his denunciation of the Christian right as “a threat far greater than the old threat of Communism.”
The fact checker confirmed that to be an exact quote. And the threat the pastor alluded had nothing to do with violence. No, what troubled him was that Christian conservatives were running for office. They were "anti-pornography," he warned, and opposed -- he noted daintily -- a woman's "having a say about what goes on in her own body."
Had he said something half as outrageous about Muslims, he would have lost his pulpit, if not his head. Focusing his spite on Christians, however, got his speech excerpted in the New York Times and won him the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award.
The alliance validates the left’s moral superiority.
At one point, the older Muslim woman claimed to have been so appalled by the “anti-Muslim” tenor of the Republican debates that she would not let her children watch them. Echoed the U.S. Attorney, “Their children see grown men espousing hate.”
Bingo! There was the money quote. Indeed, if there is one shared feel good experience among leftists of all stripes it is the imputation of “hate” to others. Author Shelby Steele coined the phrase “zone of decency” to describe the sacred preserve in which progressives imagine themselves clustering. By aligning themselves with Muslims, liberals assure themselves a place in the zone and “decertify” those not quite so keen on self-destruction.
Did I mention that the left denies the obvious?
My opponents on the panel repeatedly insisted that terrorists did not represent Islam. “You have places called the Islamic State,” I countered. “These guys think they’re the real deal.”
“What one chooses to call oneself is not necessarily the only test we have to apply,” said the moderator who had long since abandoned anything resembling neutrality.
“There is an element of disingenuousness about this conversation tonight,” I replied. I pointed out that there are millions of Muslims who subscribed to ISIS or who supported ISIS “To make believe that there is not a religious thread to this,” I concluded, “is to deceive ourselves.”
“What’s disingenuous is to blithely say there are millions,” the moderator snapped back. He then made the fatal mistake of asking for a fact check on my numbers. Said the fact checker, “Pew says 63 million Muslims support the Islamic State in the eleven Muslim countries polled.”
“That,” I said with my final words, “is a lot of Muslims.”