Give pundit Dennis Prager points for disputing a decision by newly elected Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, to use a Koran at his private Capitol Hill swearing-in ceremony next month.
I can't say I subscribe to Prager's logic -- and that goes for both his position that it should be the Bible or bust at private swearing-in ceremonies, and his amended notion that the Koran is OK by him so long as the Bible is there, too. Still, I applaud him for trying to construct an argument, however flawed, around what I interpret to be a more visceral reaction against the symbolic introduction of the Koran into the institutions of American government.
What do I mean by visceral? For starters, bear in mind what Debra Burlingame reminded us of recently in an op-ed decrying the "grievance theater" of the so-called flying imams from the North American Imam Federation (NAIF) who were ejected from a US Airways flight for threatening behavior: The words "Allahu akbar" (Arabic for "Allah is Great") were the last words heard by passengers plunging to their deaths on Flight 93 as they saved the U.S. Capitol from probable destruction on Sept. 11. They will almost certainly be the last words at Ellison's swearing-in ceremony cum Koran to ring out under that same Capitol dome. "Visceral" describes the queasy reaction to the thought of this. Our multicultural, politically correct education tries to confound the connection, but it's still there.
Or is it? Pundits on the left and right have denounced Prager for being religiously intolerant -- as though Islam were just a simple matter of religious inspiration sans totalitarian designs. Those who persist in giving ecumenical cover to imperial Islam are the useful fools of our age.
Then there are the rope-sellers, or propaganda peddlers, such the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR -- which, by the way, supported Ellison's congressional campaign (and now supports the "flying imams") -- entered the Koran controversy not just to debate Prager's position, but to try to penalize him for it by demanding he be booted from the council of the federally funded Holocaust Memorial Museum.
As CAIR put it in a letter to the council, "No one who holds such bigoted, intolerant and divisive views should be in a policy-making position at a taxpayer-funded institution that seeks to educate Americans about the destructive impact hatred has had, and continues to have, on every society."