Just last month, for example, publishing heavyweight Random House pulled a romance novel about Muhammad from its fall line-up out of fear of Islamic violence in New York City -- yawn. Also last month, Mazen Asbahi, Obama's director of Muslim outreach, resigned over ties to the Muslim Brotherhood -- snore. (According to Investor's Business Daily, Asbahi continues to work in some capacity for the campaign.) Last spring, the U.S. government issued guidelines for the Department of Homeland Security and others that "suggest" such terms as "jihad" and "Islamic terrorism" not be used; snooze. Earlier this year, revelations that the No. 2 man at the Pentagon, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, was closely assisted by Hesham Islam, "an Islamist with a pro-Muslim Brotherhood bent who has brought in groups to the Pentagon who have been unindicted co-conspirators," according to terror expert Steven Emerson, drew a big yawn, snores and a snooze.
Who could have imagined any of this, back when there was still a massive hole of burning ash at the bottom of Manhattan?
Today, of course, there is in downtown Manhattan a lavish memorial in the works, while at the Pentagon, what the Washington Post called "a memorial to loss" was unveiled this week. These and other such markers will note a day that will probably live on in somberness, to use the sophomore's word, rather than in what an earlier generation might have described as infamy. As a society, we appear to have decided to remember 9/11 as something akin to a natural disaster that came and went rather than as a part of a diffuse but discernable push to advance the law of Islam.
I am struck by the sharp contrast between this perspective and a very different kind of 9/11 commemoration, this one planned for this year's anniversary in Brussels.
According to initial press accounts, it was a small affair -- just 50 people led by Flemish separatist leader Filip Dewinter of the Vlaams Belang party. Like last year, when this same group was brutally dispersed by Belgian police, they gathered in front of the World Trade Center in Brussels not only to mark the attacks on America but to protest the Islamization of Europe. Some number of them were arrested by the order of the mayor, who had earlier denied the group a permit for the demonstration, citing the possibility of violence over the "sensitivity" of the event, the proximity of "sensitive" neighborhoods (i.e., Muslim), and the season of Ramadan.
A somber day, indeed.