We have to fight them, because their radical imams, mosques, and schools threaten us; they constitute an assembly line for the next generation of home-grown American jihadi killers. But we can’t ask the courts to silence them, because we want to maintain our 1st Amendment rights.
How, then, do we fight? There are three basic lines of attack. The first is to openly contest their odious doctrines and practices. As Manda Ervin said here yesterday, speaking in the name of Muslim women:
We want America to treat Islam like it treats Christianity and Judaism, and to stop exempting Muslims from requirements imposed on others. We want Islam to be challenged by the same questioning, criticism, and control that is applied to other religions. Please stop pampering Islam to appease the terrorists and dictators.
Amazingly, a lot of people act as if it is somehow improper for members of one religion to challenge basic doctrines of other religions, but not only is it proper, it is not nearly as rare as you might imagine. And a lot of what we want to challenge isn’t doctrine, but practice.
Take this fascinating story for example. It turns out that the Mormons have the somewhat unusual practice of retroactively baptizing dead people. I don’t find this objectionable, any more than the Baptists’ zeal for converting live Jews, but there are many Jews who are upset by the practice, especially in the case of Jews murdered in the Nazi death camps. They denounced the “proxy baptism,” and went to the Mormons to make their case. Longish story, but the Mormons have twice reacted with sympathy and promised not to do it. There are lots of such cases, involving various religious groups. As Manda says, it’s un-American to have special, kid-gloves standards for any American religious community, including Muslims.
Indeed, many of their practices have no Koranic justification, above all the way they treat their women. So far as I know, the Koran doesn’t require women to be covered up, and there are certainly Islamic communities in the Middle East and Asia where women dress “normally.” We have every reason to challenge this, instead of granting special exemptions to Muslims. And we do just that, to our shame. Take a look at the State Department’s instructions for submitting a passport application. In numbered paragraph #4 you will discover that while most folks have to submit photographs with their head uncovered, this does not apply to those who cover themselves for religious reasons. This is nonsense. This means that some man can show up at the airport in a burqa, and the security people can’t routinely match him with the (woman’s) passport he’s carrying. Indeed, we should emulate the French and forbid women to cover themselves in public.
And of course we should relentlessly condemn their misogyny, especially the several “honor killings” which, if we are bound and determined to prosecute evil acts as “hate crimes,” should be at the top of the list.