How “moderate” Muslims benefit from radicals

I once had a large and menacing friend – we’ll call him Ray. He was as gentle as a lamb, but no one outside our little group knew that. He would go to bars and hang out with us, mostly keeping to himself. When one of us got into trouble, which was more than occasionally, here is how the conversation would go:

“OK – I hit on your girlfriend, and that was probably wrong. I may even be sorry about it one day. And if you want to fight, then we’ll fight. But I am a little worried about something.”

At that point the perpetrator would yell “Ray!”, and Ray would look up, nod his acknowledgment and go back to shooting pool. The conversation would continue:

“That is my friend Ray, and he isn’t wrapped all that tight. If he sees us fighting, he will come over here and beat you until your Momma won’t be able to recognize you. Now you can apologize to me for getting so bent out of shape for hitting on your girlfriend, or we can fight and see what happens.”

In every instance, the victim would back down. The threat of the violence our friend might unleash was used effectively by our group to do things we otherwise would not dare do.

So also it goes with the “moderate” imam of the Ground Zero Mosque. While claiming the mantle of moderation and peace, he uses radical Islam for the purpose of extortion if he doesn’t get his way. It’s not the radicals here that he is worried about, you see – it’s the radicals in the “Muslim World” that will become unhinged. Govern yourself accordingly America, he seems to say. While distancing himself completely from terrorists, he does not hesitate to use their propensity for violence to achieve his ends. I guess you could say the imam is the only one standing between ordinary Americans and torches and pitchforks. (Yes, we’ve heard that before, and it is the subject of another diary altogether.)

If what the imam says is true, then the “Muslim World” is nothing more than a collection of uncontrollable apes, constantly teetering on the edge of deadly violence. If what he says is not true, then the imam is nothing more than a garden variety liar and extortionist. Either instance provides a strong argument against not only the Ground Zero Mosque, but the construction of any additional mosque in America. If the only thing that is preventing Islamic violence here in America is our culture of western civilization, then why should we give quarter to an ideology that hates, and will at the first chance subsume, the only thing that constrains it?

The imam is also very quick to bring up our culture of tolerance, and particularly the right of “we Americans” – I wonder who he means when he says “we”? – to religious freedom. Contained within the amendment he brandishes is also the part about free speech, which gives Americans the right to, say, burn Korans without fear of violent intimidation. Of course, our current leaders see the first point but despise the second, and have gone out of their way to decry the Koran burning while supporting the provocation of the Ground Zero Mosque. The imam needs to understand that the the First Amendment skirt he hides behind also gives cover to other people whose only intent is to provoke, and that he must make peace with the fact that they occupy exactly the same space.

I say we should call some bluffs. Burn the Koran. Oppose the mosque. If there is violence, then it should prove once and for all that Muslims are far too ready to claim the privileges of this great nation without taking the responsibility of protecting them. If there are radicals within Islam, then only Muslims can drive them out. If Muslims are either too afraid to do so, or secretly murmur that the unbelievers had it coming to them, then they need to understand that America cannot support a religion that condones what they have come to condone.

And maybe then we can let the imam know that he can no longer let the radicals do his dirty work for him.

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