Well, I guess it had to happen. Several weeks after writing my “Queer Muhammad” column, I finally got a call from a Muslim extremist – one who mostly shouted at me over the phone in broken English. I have decided to reprint our conversation in today’s column, hoping that it will shed some light on how to deal with the fundamentalist Muslim disdain for free speech, not to mention the fundamentalist Muslim disdain for satire.
As you read the conversation, please bear in mind that it was not tape recorded. Some high school kid in Colorado took my digital recorder to his geography class and forgot to bring it back. Therefore, I had to write this column from memory.
In the places where my memory is sketchy, I have simply supplemented the text in order to make myself sound smarter than I really am. Nonetheless, I hope you learn something from the following exchange:
Muslim Fundamentalist (hereafter MF): Mike Adams? May I speak to Mike Adams?
Methodist Editorialist (hereafter ME): Yes, this is Mike Adams. How can I help you?
MF: You are Mike Adams? You are Mike Adams?
ME: Yes, give me another sentence. I have to go to class in ten minutes. What can I do for you?
MF: You write the column on the “Queer Muhammad.”
ME: Yes, that’s me. Did you enjoy the “Queer Muhammad”?
MF: No. No. I did not enjoy it.
ME: Well, that’s too bad. Did you read it on the internet?
MF: No. It was in the paper I read it. The Boston paper.
ME: I see. They’re running my column in Massachusetts. Now, that’s progress. Maybe it’ll run in Cuba before long.
MF: You are an educated man. Surely, you know Muhammad was not queer. How could a man with education write such a disgusting column? Disgusting! Muhammad is a great prophet. He has over billion followers around the world.
ME: Well, sir, did you actually read the column? I didn’t say that Muhammad was a queer.
MF: Yes. I read it. I read it. Disgusting column!
ME: Well, first let me warn you that you are speaking to me on an American university telephone. If you keep yelling, someone might overhear you and charge you with a hate crime. Your suggestion that being a queer is disgusting is actually offensive to most American professors. How long have you been in the country?
MF: You call Muhammad queer. You have no right. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT!
ME: Well, no sir, I didn’t say that. Could you please try to control your emotions? You aren’t queer by any chance, are you?
MF: (YELLING INDISCERNABLY).
ME: I was only kidding, sir. What was your name, by the way?
MF: (STILL YELLING INDISCERNABLY).
ME: Listen, I’m going to have to ask you to get off the phone and re-read my column once you have control over your anger. You don’t impress me with your anger; you are only making an ass out of yourself, which is your right. But, please, go smoke a cigarette and settle down.
MF: (MORE YELLING).
ME: I was only kidding. But, as I said before, I did not call Muhammad a queer. But, remember that in this country I have every right to do so. But before I get ahead of myself, I want you to brush up on your reading skills. That’s important. Otherwise, you’ll keep making an ass out of yourself in front of others. As an immigrant, your difficulties with English are understandable but you don’t get a free pass forever.
Next, I am going to ask you to take some sort of course in basic American liberties. This will teach you that in America we have a thing called freedom of speech. That I disgust you with my speech doesn’t mean you can simply demand that I cease to speak. You have to come up with better speech if you are going to get along in this country. We are pleased to host you in America, but only if you agree to live by our laws and principles.
Furthermore, your phone rage only serves to solidify stereotypes against Muslim males. If you understand what I am saying and will agree to re-read my article after mastering the English language – not to mention your unchecked emotions - feel free to call back. Otherwise, I’m afraid I will have to invite you to kiss my (backside). Does this sound agreeable to you?
MF: (DIAL TONE).
This exchange provides an example of one of the three ways to deal with a Muslim extremist. The first is to point a gun in his face. But, of course, that is only legal when there is reasonable fear of an imminent and proportionate threat of violence. The second is to point a middle finger in his face.
But, since the middle finger is kind of crude, some will prefer to use the third method – the one that I just illustrated. It involves a verbally aggressive rebuttal laced with heavy doses of ridicule. In this case, it caused an angry telephone Jihadist to hang up in frustration in just enough time for me to make my afternoon class.
Contrast my method with that of the administrators in the UNC system. After 911, they dealt with Muslim extremism by requiring freshman students to read a Muslim prayer book called “Approaching the Koran” – one that omits the references to killing Christians and Jews in favor of the more “approachable” verses. And, recently, a Muslim student returned the favor. He did it by driving his SUV into a student gathering in an attempt to kill nine innocent “infidels.”
Perhaps that Muslim student needed a little straight talk from Dr. Adams, rather than a diversity program perpetuating the myth of the “religion of peace.” Or perhaps we should end the ban on firearms on UNC campuses in order to prevent another terrorist attack.
Either way, you know where I stand.