A student at Pace University, Stanislav Shmulevich, was arrested Friday and charged with two felony counts of Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree as a Hate Crime. Mark Steyn quipped that instead of flushing the Qur’an, “Mr Shmulevich should have submerged it in his own urine, applied for an NEA grant and offered it to the Whitney Biennial. But to that Michelle Malkin responded: “Actually, no. The NEA would have turned Shmulevich in to the police, too. Now, if he had submerged a Bible in urine or coated a Torah in cow dung and submitted it for a federal grant, he’d be sitting pretty–and facing rave New York Times editorials instead of time behind bars.”
All the examples of the double standard that Malkin and others have brought forth emphasize the fact that the real agenda of today’s dominant politically correct culture is certainly not tolerance, or even anything-goes moral relativism. Some things most emphatically don’t go, as Shmulevich’s two felony charges indicate. Political correctness and multiculturalism are emphatically anti-Western and anti-Christian. We are unlikely as a society to become a place in which disrespect or even hatred of Christianity comes to be regarded as just as dangerous to the social order as disrespect or hatred of Islam, and we are just as unlikely to return to a saner time when one could not be prosecuted for disliking someone else’s beliefs (in which case Shmulevich would have to pay for the books, and for any necessary plumbing work, but that would be all). We have become a society of sacrosanct protected classes whose victim status places them above all criticism.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has for years claimed this protected victim status for Muslims. CAIR-NY Civil Rights Coordinator Aliya Latif said: “We must all be concerned when any actions cross the line from protected free speech to acts designed to intimidate. Just as there is a difference between someone burning a cross in their own backyard and burning that same cross in the yard of an African-American family, there is a difference between desecrating a religious text in a private setting and doing so in a setting that will create a hostile learning environment.” Muslims are the new blacks, and CAIR is the new NAACP; this statement is of a piece with CAIR’s annual hate crimes report, which attempts, often in quite imaginative ways, to project an image of Muslims in an America that is inveterately racist and on the verge of breaking out into open violence against them.
Yet this is a myth. Muslims are not being lynched, or persecuted in America. Time and time again media-amplified fears of “backlash” against Muslims prove unfounded, and Muslims continue to practice their faith here with more freedom than they enjoy in most of the countries from which they came. That’s why Shmulevich and his flushed Qur’ans are a windfall for Muslim advocacy groups: he has now validated the victim status they so doggedly claim. Until the American public discourse can dare to break away from the protected-victim model and its subtext of white Christian guilt, these groups will experience many more such windfalls, whenever someone acts obnoxiously or boorishly toward any Muslim or Islamic object. The American public square today simply has no apparatus for dealing with the possibility that the protected victims might be perpetrating evil themselves. The cognitive dissonance regarding Muslims since 9/11 is ultimately what has given birth to 9/11 conspiracy theories, Reichstag fire analogies, and the like. Muslims can’t be responsible, because they are non-white, non-Christian, non-Westerners. It must be something we have done.
That is why desecration of the Bible will continue to be celebrated as art, and desecration of the Qur’an as a “hate crime.” So also is an objective examination of the elements of Islam that jihadists use today to incite to violence, for that violence is all the fault of the guilty post-Christians of Europe and America.
If the West is to survive the challenge of the global jihad, this foundational myth must be brought out into the open and decisively rejected.