Thursday, September 30, 2010

Maybe We Could All Stop Frothing at the Mouth for a Minute...

I'm going into this more than a little late. More than enough valuable commentary has already been posted.....Well, just about anywhere you'd care to look if you took the time.

But I have a shiny, new blog so I'm going to post about it anyways.

Those of you not living under a rock, are probably familiar with the lovely things Martin Peretz had to say recently concerning Muslims. The jump out phrase is as follows:

But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.

Naturally, this led to much sturm and drang. As it should. Because it is a profoundly stupid statement. Replace "Muslim" with "billions of people" (or if you prefer "about a quarter of humanity"), and you have a generalization so vast as to be completely meaningless. You could with far greater precision, assert that "American life is cheap, most notably to Americans", after all Americans do kill most Americans.

It's a position of idiocy. However, it seems to be one that's iconic for the current deeply weird political season, particularly in regards to America's relationship with Islam.


We don't have one! Because it's impossible to have one! It's a belief system interpreted in billions of individual ways by billions of individuals. It would be more accurate to talk about America's relationship with phosphorous.

That said, beyond the individual lunacies of the stabbing of a Muslim cab driver or the failed car bombing in Times Square, if you actually look at the realities of Muslims in America it's.....well, it's pretty boring.

Steve Chapman:

But all these events get attention for the same reason that airplane crashes get attention: They are unusual. Considering the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and considering the U.S. invasion of two Islamic countries, the surprise is not that feelings between Muslims and non-Muslims in this country are so bitter and angry. It's that they are so amicable.

The "ground zero mosque" has elicited a great deal of opposition—but, for the most part, restrained opposition. A Fox News poll found that while 64 percent of Americans do not want the facility at that location, 61 percent—including most Republicans—say the group has the right to build it there.

Most people don't perceive all Muslims as a lurking danger. Asked whether Islam is more likely than other religions "to encourage violence," 35 percent of Americans said yes—but 42 percent said no.

Nor is the American Muslim community a seething swamp of violent militancy. There are estimated to be at least 1.3 million Muslims in this country—plenty to furnish an unending stream of suicide bombers, if the motivation existed. But it doesn't. If there is anything striking about the home front of the global war on terrorism, it's the extreme rarity of domestic jihadists.

Most American Muslims are about as radical as Jay Leno. A 2007 survey by Pew found that only 5 percent have a favorable view of al-Qaida—a number that drops to 3 percent among foreign-born Muslims. Far from praying daily for the rise of Islamic extremism, 61 percent said they were worried about it.

Unlike the alienated Muslim populations of Europe, American Muslims do not feel estranged from society. "Most say their communities are excellent or good places to live," Pew discovered. Most also believe women are better off in the United States than in Muslim countries.

Their overall satisfaction with the state of the country is no different, according to Pew, from the overall satisfaction of everyone else. They don't sound like a violent cult plotting to impose Taliban-style Shariah law on the infidels who surround them. They sound strangely like ... Americans.

Everyone needs to just settle the hell down and have a taco.

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