Sunday, November 8, 2009

What If Malik Nidal Hasan Were A Southern Baptist? UPDATED

If Malik Nidal Hasan were a Southern Baptist who opened fire at a Planned Parenthood abortion mill would the New York Times call it an act of terrorism? Would Crooks and Liars or Firedoglake be shy about linking Hasan's religious beliefs to his murderous acts? In fact, would not the Daily Kos, HuffPo, Wonkette, etc., be painting all Southern Baptists in particular, and Conservative Christians in general, as tyrannical maniacs who want to impose their beliefs on everyone and are willing to employ violence to do it? Yes, yes and yes. Yet, nobody wants to believe (or admit to believing) that there is a connection between Malik Nidal Hasan's religious affiliation, his interpretation of his religious teachings and his own statements of his religious duties and his actions.

Jeffrey Goldberg writes in When Muslims Commit Violence:

It seems, though, that when an American military officer who is a practicing Muslim allegedly shoots forty of his fellow soldiers who are about to deploy to the two wars the United States is currently fighting in Muslim countries, some broader meaning might, over time, be discerned, especially if the officer did, in fact, yell "Allahu Akbar" while murdering his fellow soldiers, as some soldiers say he did. This is the second time this year American soldiers on American soil have been gunned down by a Muslim who was reportedly unhappy with America's wars in the Middle East (the first took place in Arkansas, to modest levels of notice). And, of course, this would not be the first instance of an American Muslim soldier killing fellow soldiers over his disagreements with American foreign policy; in 2003, Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar killed two officers and wounded fourteen others when he rolled a grenade into a tent in a homicidal protest against American policy.

I am not arguing, of course, that American Muslims, as a whole, are violently unhappy with America (I've argued the opposite, in fact). But I do think that elite makers of opinion in this country try very hard to ignore the larger meaning of violent acts when they happen to be perpetrated by Muslims. Here's a simple test: If Nidal Malik Hasan had been a devout Christian with pronounced anti-abortion views, and had he attacked, say, a Planned Parenthood office, would his religion have been considered relevant as we tried to understand the motivation and meaning of the attack? Of course. Elite opinion makers do not, as a rule, try to protect Christians and Christian belief from investigation and criticism. Quite the opposite. It would be useful to apply the same standards of inquiry and criticism to all religions.
The same standards are not applied. Not for the perpetrators of violence nor for the victims of violence. There has not be the same level of sympathy on the Left for our soldiers and their families that we saw for Dr. Tiller. What we have seen since the Ft. Hood shootings is an astounding level of hypocrisy by the Left and enabling by the Right.

Excellent commentary can be found at American Power.

h/t Memeorandum


The Other McCain writing on the current rush to not rush to any conclusion:

The whistling-past-the-mass-graveyard reaction Goldberg discerns is quite striking among the opinion elite, if we contrast it to their reactions in other cases.

Remember when Andrew Sullivan fretted about "Southern populist terrorism" in the death of Kentucky census worker Bill Sparkman? (Investigators now believe it to have been suicide.) Remember how Frank Rich interpreted the NY23 special election as "nothing less than a riotous and bloody national G.O.P. civil war," demonstrating how "the right has devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult"?

The tendency of elites to leap to hysterical, far-fetched interpretations when dealing with phenomena associated (rightly or wrongly) with the Right is counterbalanced by their "nothing to see here" reaction when confronted with events that implicate pet causes of the Left.
The takeaway is that when President Obama urges that we not "jump to conclusions" he is speaking to the Right. The Left, whose conclusions are a foregone conclusion, are free to jump away.

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