The Associated Press account of this incident, published last Saturday, bore the dateline Bowling Green, Kentucky — but it read as if it could have been Dubai or Doha or Jakarta:
Bowling Green officials say a firefighter has retired after a video surfaced showing him burning a copy of the Quran.
Skeptical about the existence of the phenomenon of “stealth jihad” or “creeping Sharia,” i.e., the assertion of Islamic principles in the U.S. as taking precedence over American law?
Doubt no more.
This unnamed firefighter did not retire with a farewell party and a gold watch. From what the laconic AP report does say, it looks as if he retired under pressure brought only because he burned the Qur’an, which is not officially illegal in the state of Kentucky. Now we know better.
Per the AP story:
[C]ity officials said they placed the firefighter depicted in the video on administrative leave. But officials say the firefighter, who has not been identified, retired before they could take other disciplinary action.
Disciplinary action? Why?
All we know from this story is that he burned the Qur’an.
If he was facing disciplinary action for sounding false alarms, or for failing to slide down the pole with alacrity, well, we have not been informed of these charges. All we know is that he burned a book, which, however distasteful an act it may be, is a legal one.
I’m not in favor of burning books. I’d much rather that non-Muslims read the Qur’an and know what is in it than burn it. I’ve even written a guide to the Qur’an, so that non-Muslims can be informed about what’s in the book that incites so much violence.
So I would not have burned a Qur’an myself. But burning the Qur’an is not illegal.
It’s not illegal, that is, under American law, but it is illegal under Sharia.
If burning the Qur’an is illegal in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is Bowling Green, Kentucky, now under the Sharia? If not, what other grounds are there for disciplinary action against this firefighter?
The article continues:
[T]he incident was part of a lawsuit filed this week by former firefighter Jeffrey Queen, who says he faced a hostile work environment.
How was the burned Qur’an part of the hostile work environment Jeffrey Queen says he faced? Did the burned Qur’an belong to him? Did he think it improper for a firefighter to be lighting fires? Did the Qur’an-burning firefighter somehow abuse or threaten Queen? Did Queen worry that the flames from the Qur’an might reach and immolate him?
Or did Queen simply think that it was abominable and intolerable to have to fight fires along with someone who disapproved of the Qur’an?
And so now Queen has apparently left the fire department along with his Qur’an-torching tormenter, but the principle has been established: in order to fight fires in Bowling Green, Kentucky, you cannot express negative opinions about the Qur’an and Islam.
Why? Are those who dislike the Qur’an to the point of burning it not to be trusted around fires? What if they’re at the scene of a raging blaze and, instead of reaching for a fire hose, start tossing Qur’ans into the flames?
That will never do. And now the farsighted city fathers and mothers of Bowling Green, Kentucky, have ensured that such shenanigans will never take place in their fair city. The solid citizens of Bowling Green can sleep soundly knowing that if their house catches fire, all those working to put it out will have the proper respect for the Qur’an.
Think I’m stretching things? Well, the article confirms exactly that:
Bowling Green officials say the allegations in no way represent the city’s values.
Just so it’s clear: freedom of expression is not among the values of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Those who value the freedom of speech would be well advised to move elsewhere.
If, that is, there is anywhere left to go with significantly different values in the America of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.