Is not America a great country, one that is justly proud of its liberal politics, that welcomes the stranger in its midst, that opens its doors to refugees legal and illegal and contemplates amnesty for the latter, that refuses to accept religious bigotry, that legislates against hate speech and condemns all forms of ethnic prejudice? Why, even Christians are tolerated despite their extremism, allowed to have their holiday trees and occasionally even their nativity scenes. A country that can indulge so radical a faith is surely unique.
Moreover, in every area of endeavor we see minority individuals rising to the top or exercising preeminence — native professors in the universities, Black Panthers in the voting stations, Mexican illegals careening on the freeways and cartel guerrillas romping across the border, the once-excluded projecting power in the Department of Justice, and yes, even devout Muslims on football teams.
Regarding the latter, consider the exuberant reception given to Taj Tariq, quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Despite the fact that he has difficulty managing a game for the full sixty minutes and his passes tend to float in the air like kites whose strings have snapped, he is nevertheless celebrated for his unconventional behavior on the field. Before each game, Tariq is seen to prostrate himself near the sidelines, removing his cleats, spreading a prayer carpet before him, and performing his devotions. And after the game is over, whether in victory or defeat, he will repeat these observances, often leading his teammates in collective prayer to the supreme deity who presides over all things great and small.
The enthusiasm with which Tariq’s acts of communion and adoration are greeted by his fans as well as by members of the press is truly heartwarming. As Martin Marprelate of the New York Times writes, “Was not President Obama’s appreciation of the contribution of Islam to American democracy and prosperity, both in his Cairo speech and at the White House Ramadan dinner, factually correct? And is not Taj Tariq a living testimony to the greatness of this nation? Are not his invocations on the field of play a lesson to us all in the spirit of clemency and fellow-feeling? One thing is certain. The contribution of Islam to American football can no longer be denied.”