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It's Not You, Islam, It's Us

In Pennsylvania, a Muslim judge dismissed charges against a Muslim who assaulted an atheist for insulting Mohammed with an anti-Mohammed costume. Judge Mark Martin then scolded — you guessed it — the victim of the assault, saying:

Islam is not just a religion, it’s their culture, their culture. It’s their very essence, their very being... Then what you have done is you have completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very very very offensive. I’m a Muslim, I find it offensive. But you have that right, but you’re way outside your boundaries or first amendment rights.

In Afghanistan, under the aegis of American troops, they are destroying Christian churches. In New York, Mayor Bloomberg and others are laboring to build a mosque near the site of the 9/11 massacre by Islamists. In Egypt, it's Spring Time for Mohammed as the new post-Mubarak regime -- which was supported by the United States -- goes about tormenting, murdering, raping and displacing hundreds of thousands of Coptic Christians. In Washington, the FBI — tasked with protecting America from Islamic radicals — is purging its training materials of any information deemed offensive by Islamic radicals. (Follow the link — I'm not making it up.)

My point is this. We can't stop people in Islamic nations from being what they are — can't stop them from oppressing women, murdering gays, banning other religions and tormenting non-believers. But it's not too much to ask that we stand up for our own values contra theirs — especially in our own, once Christian, countries. We can stop penalizing and insulting those who speak the simple truth about Islamic values, good or bad; we can de-bench judges who don't stand up for our freedoms; we can stop sentimentalizing Islamic rights to the point of sanctioning intolerance, especially while our own government is attempting to stomp on the rights of Catholics and ignoring the rise in hate crimes against Jews; we can stop confusing Islam with a race — it's a religion, a metaphysical philosophy of life, and has to be open to question, debate, ridicule and attack like every other.

Let Islamics in their countries stand for what they stand for. But if only to give the world a point of comparison, let's us stand for something too. Let's stand for — oh, I don't know — how about liberty and the rights of individuals versus every principality and power from thuggish Islamists to the feckless president of the United States? And when Muslims — or anyone else — transgresses those fundamental beliefs, let us all say so fearlessly — or at least support and encourage those who do. We cannot be willfully blind to the despicable simply because it goes by the name of an alien god.

So riot and kill away, my Afghan friends. That apparently is who you are.

The only real question is: Who are we?