One might assume that standards which prevail on one part of the globe might be applied equally to another part of the world. One might assume as well that what is good for the goose might be good for the gander. Well you might assume that, but in contemporary life you would be wrong. Some behavior tacitly and vehemently accepted by radicals within the Islamic community is rejected when applied by others.
According to erstwhile president Jimmy Carter, Israeli checkpoints on the Gaza border designed to forestall terrorism are an example of “apartheid.” However, the former president has not said a word about Saudi Arabian policy that bars non-Muslims from Mecca and from holding Saudi citizenship.
Any criticism of the Koran such as the Geert Wilders’ film Fitna is greeted with a fatwa and a variety of death threats. But Muslim claims that Christians are polytheists and infidels and Jews are the progeny of apes and pigs — comments routinely made in many mosques — are presumably protected by free speech provisions.
American universities (Georgetown, Columbia, Harvard) have been encouraged to promote programs that encourage toleration and understanding of Islam. Yet not one major university in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan has a Western studies program that engender toleration and understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Geert Wilders was denied entry into England, after receiving an invitation to speak at the House of Commons for fear that his speech might incite a Muslim protest. Yet a grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood who routinely provides an apologia for terrorism has an appointment at Cambridge University.
When officials in the state of Florida asked a Muslim woman to remove her hijab for an ID photo, they were accused of Islamophobia. However, Muslim nations demand that even the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and the First Lady cover their hair when visiting their countries.
After the revelations of Abu Garaeb — horrible as they were — the United States was excoriated in the Muslim world as “the vilest of nations.” Yet when Muslim men hang and flog women for adultery, we are told — using a standard of cultural relativism — that we have no right to judge these actions.
It has been noted at Gitmo that a Koran in the toilet is a hate crime. However, burning the contents of the Library of Alexandria is legitimate because it is an expression of Muslim views of non-Muslim literature.
A Christian who becomes a Muslim is honored by the members of his adopted faith. A Muslim who wants to convert to Christianity is an apostate who faces the death penalty.
Prejudice against Muslims is deemed unacceptable in every major news outlet in the Western world. Yet Muslim prejudice against Jews, women, Christians, homosexuals, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists elicits scarcely a word of condemnation.
Clearly hypocrisy reigns, but the real problem is that these illustrations — which only touch the tip of the proverbial iceberg — suggest that Muslims want a free pass to treat negative commentary as Islamophobia. On the other hand, these same people feel free to use the institutions in the West to express hatred of others and support for terrorism. Remarkably the avatars of political correctness often agree with them.
If a Danish cartoonist cannot draw pictures of Mohammed, then Muslim protestors should be restrained from calling for his murder. Tolerance cannot be a one-way street. If Arab protestors can stand in front of the Israeli Knesset carrying Hamas flags, then Israeli protestors should be free to carry banners in behalf of the IDF in Ramallah.
As I see it, Muslims have grown too comfortable in raising the specter of Islamophobia. Unless there is mutual respect — a claim President Obama is making — there cannot be any respect. Unless there is genuine reciprocity, tolerance is an empty word. It is time for the West to not only assert the foundational traditions of its history, it is also time to argue that our institutions cannot be employed to destroy our civilization.