What’s the deal with special-interest groups pretending to care about free speech, but then passing off a documentary about Islamic terrorists — not, as we remind everyone for the 129,586th time, about the majority of Muslims who are good and not crazy jihadists — as simply virulent “hate speech”?
I’d like to feel that, as a group hell-bent on representing the interests of Muslims in the U.S. (as if Muslims were some monolithic block in terms of political beliefs), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wanted to stamp out the scourge of terrorism. Even the Saudi government, while imposing Islamic laws on the Kingdom and embracing strict Wahhabism, brands terrorists “deviants” and takes them out when possible or convenient. Even moderate Muslim states such as Jordan, hit hard with the three hotel bombings in 2005 and targeted in the 2000 millennium attack plot, and Turkey freely acknowledge and fight against the Islamic extremism that threatens their way of life.
But for some perspective on why CAIR is leading the charge against the DVD Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, which was distributed as paid advertising and inserted in newspapers across the country, I flash back to a June 2007 screening of the movie A Mighty Heart, hosted by CAIR, at Paramount Studios. Watching the screening with B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest), it was apparent how excruciatingly even-handed the film tried to be with the subject of terrorism.
But CAIR and crew were there to lead a panel discussion afterward to make sure that we didn’t harbor any uncomfortable opinions from the fact that it was an Islamist radical who sawed off Daniel Pearl’s head. As the “interfaith” discussion got under way — featuring a rabbi from Jews On First and the executive director of Progressive Christians Uniting — the intrepid host of the panel stressed to the audience that, at the time of his death, Pearl “wasn’t a practicing Jew.” My mouth dropped. As if that made a difference?
The rabbi proceeded to blame “Islamophobia” in the Jewish community, noting “we have a problem in the Jewish community with our fanatics.” The preacher pegged the problem on “the number of Christians living in a bubble … of naivety,” stressing that we should “look at our own crusading mentality” and “look at how Christian America lets people escape from reality.” The CAIR rep looked pleased as punch with the “interfaith panel” they’d assembled, who may have represented different denominations but had markedly similar platforms: The phrase “Islamic terrorism,” bad. U.S. foreign policy, bad. CAIR, good.