What happens when an Australian Muslim cleric calls for the beheading of a Dutch politician?
What happens when an American pastor no one ever heard of threatens to burn a Koran?
It ignites an international outcry.
Terry Jones, pastor of a 50-member church in Gainsville, Fla., threatened to burn the Koran as a protest against the proposed construction of a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center. Democrats and Republicans denounced Jones. Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, warned that Jones' action would put American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at risk, and he personally telephoned the pastor to dissuade him.
Those who would desecrate the Koran or who would draw a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad or who would otherwise "disrespect" Islam run the risk of being murdered. This is quite a response from followers of what President George W. Bush called a "religion of peace," the "hijacking" of which motivated the 9/11 hijackers. Bush repeatedly distinguished between a war against Islamofascism and a war on Islam. But the distinction apparently collapses if one pastor doesn't get the memo.
How dare this pastor of some church-nobody-heard-of show insufficient respect for Islam, many of whose followers support a global jihad that demands replacement of all non-Islamic governments, as well as the conversion of all to Islam, by force if necessary?
Where is the international outcry from this recent story from Reuters?
"A well-known Australian Muslim cleric has called for the beheading of Dutch anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders. ...
"The Sydney-born (Feiz) Muhammad has gained notoriety for, among other things, calling on young children to be radicalized and blaming rape victims for their own attacks.
"(De Telegraaf, the Netherlands' largest newspaper) posted an English-language audio clip in which he refers to Wilders as 'this Satan, this devil, this politician in Holland' and explains that anyone who talks about Islam like Wilders does should be executed by beheading. ...
"Wilders is currently on trial in the Netherlands for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.
"The Freedom Party leader made a film in 2008 which accused the Koran of inciting violence and mixed images of terrorist attacks with quotations from the Islamic holy book.
"Wilders was also charged because of outspoken remarks in the media, such as an opinion piece in a Dutch daily in which he compared Islam to fascism and the Koran to Adolf Hitler's book 'Mein Kampf.'"
Civil libertarian groups vigorously defend vile but protected speech. Where are the free-speech groups denouncing Wilders' prosecution for making abrasive comments? Or does the right to free speech only apply to the nasty comments routinely made on cable shows by Sarah Palin/Glenn Beck/tea party-hating lefties?
If a proposed Koran burning generates international news and condemnation, isn't the call by an Australian Muslim cleric for the beheading of a democratically elected European politician worthy of a few moments on the network nightly news?
Offensive acts by non-Muslims provoke calls for sensitivity and understanding. Offensive acts by Muslims generate indifference rather than denunciations of the barbarous statements and acts that Muslim clerics and others call for in the name of Islam.
Why the double standard?
Dr. Fred Gottheil is an economics professor at the University of Illinois. He calls himself a "Keynesian-type economist" who is "not afraid of deficit spending" -- not exactly Reaganesque.
In January 2009, some 900 academics signed a four-page petition calling for a U.S. abandonment of the support of Israel. Gottheil learned that many of the petition signatories belonged to faculty from women's and gender studies departments. He decided to conduct an experiment.
Would the same professors sign a "Statement of Concern" over the anti-human rights, anti-gay, anti-woman practices in the Muslim Middle East? Gottheil composed a four-page document citing evidence of atrocities, along with the names of Muslim clerics and scholars defending these violations of human decency. He e-mailed his statement to 675 signers of the anti-Israel petition.
What happened? "The results were surprising," Gottheil said, "even though I thought the responses would be few. They were almost nonexistent."
Bottom line: Barbarity in the name of Islam is not even remotely condemned to the degree that the West condemns insensitivity by cartoonists, politicians and anti-Islam clerics. Why? A denunciation of Muslim practices suggests a superiority of American values and culture. The left finds the very notion objectionable.
Gottheil put it this way: "If leftist 'progressives' really cared about women, gays and lesbians, then they would be fighting for their rights in places where such rights are really violated -- like under Hamas in Gaza and under the mullahs in Iran. But doing so would legitimize their own society and its values and therefore completely cripple their entire identity and life purpose, and so their purported concern for women, gays and lesbians has to go out the window."
It is a bizarre and dangerous double standard that allows a Pastor Jones to become more notorious than a Feiz Muhammad.