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Reserve legitimacy for Muslims who reject Islamist leadership

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Radical Islam’s Ugly Pattern of Double Standards

Reserve legitimacy for Muslims who reject Islamist leadership

The mentality of radical Islam includes several main components, of which one is Muslim supremacism — a belief that believers alone should rule and otherwise enjoy an exalted status over non-Muslims. This outlook dominates the Islamist worldview as much in the elegant streets of Paris as in the rude caves of Afghanistan.

Two recent American criminal cases highlight this attribute. Both involve the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Saudi-funded group whose leadership sometimes announces its goal to Islamize the United States (“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant”).

The first criminal case concerns Dale T. Ehrgott, a non-Muslim insurance broker living in Reno, Nevada. Appalled by CAIR’s record of apologizing for terrorism, plus the then-recent arrest on terrorism-related charges of its former employee Ismail Royer, Ehrgott dashed off four angry e-mails to CAIR in mid-2003.

One read: “We accept you [sic] holy war. Looking forward to it very much. We can deal with you easily especially since you are on our soil. You have taught us much about terrorism so get ready to be the receiver.” In another message, some weeks later, he wrote: “You are making a lot of people angry and you idiots are sitting ducks.”

“It wasn’t a threat, just a nasty e-mail,” Ehrgott told The Associated Press. He described CAIR as “an anti-American organization” and points out that at no time did he physically intimidate it. CAIR saw matters differently and forwarded the notes to law enforcement, which came down heavily on Ehrgott, perhaps because the Department of Justice decided to make an example of him.

Describing these e-mails as containing “a threat to injure members” of CAIR, the U.S. attorney for Nevada, Daniel Bogden, convinced a federal grand jury in March 2004 to indict Ehrgott. Bogden then threw the book at Ehrgott, who, if convicted, faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

But after his September 2004 trial ended in a hung jury, the feds abruptly lost their taste for prosecuting Ehrgott. They settled with him on Jan. 13, letting him off with a trivial sentence — one year’s probation and fifty hours of community service, implicitly acknowledging that he had acted rashly but not dangerously.

The second case concerns Taiser Hosien Okashah, a Muslim food broker (and an illegal immigrant from Syria) living in Miami Beach. On June 3, 2004, Okashah threatened to destroy Best Buy store in Plantation, Florida, because, according to the store clerk’s sworn testimony, he was displeased with a rebate offer on a laptop computer. “I am going to come back and blow up this place if I do not get my money this time,” the clerk quotes him saying. On June 29, the authorities arrested Okashah, charged him with threatening to detonate an explosive, and briefly jailed him without bond.

Altaf Ali, executive director of CAIR’s Florida office, leapt to Okashah’s defense. Muslims, he said, are “very concerned that a very humble member of the community, for asking a question about a rebate, can be put in jail.” Ali attributed Okashah’s travails to a miscommunication exacerbated by the negative stereotyping of Muslims. A CAIR press release further specified that the arrest stemmed from “language barriers and over-reactions by store employees and law enforcement officials.”

Ali also sought to have the judge in the case removed because he had ordered Okashah to undergo a psychological evaluation. Nonetheless, Okashah is scheduled to go to trial on Feb. 14, for the second-degree felony charge of “threatening to detonate an explosive device.”

In CAIR’s eyes, then, when a non-Muslim broker responds too emotionally to terrorism, he deserves years in jail and financial ruin. But when a Muslim broker threatens a store, he’s the innocent victim of “negative stereotyping” who deserves release without any punishment at all.

The Ehrgott and Okashah incidents fit an ugly Islamist pattern of double standards. Although CAIR presents itself as a civil-rights group, it is just the opposite — an organization asserting special privileges for Muslims and derogating the rights of others.

When Western institutions grant legitimacy to Islamist organizations like CAIR they strengthen Islamist supremacism and its drive for Muslim dominance. Those institutions need to get smart and retract that legitimacy, reserving it for Muslims who reject radical Islam.

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Written By

Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and author of Miniatures (Transaction Publishers).

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