By now you've heard of the perverse Koran-burning controversy that has lit the Afghan street aflame with rage and violence. Dozens of locals have been killed amidst rioting, two US servicemen have been murdered in cold blood, President Obama has apologized for the actions of our troops, and Hamid Karzai is demanding a trial for the "offending" parties. All of these convulsions over an eminently reasonable action, followed by a mistake. I'll let Andy McCarthy refresh your memory on the heinous particulars:
The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages. The soldiers dispatched to burn refuse from the jail were not the officials who had seized the books, had no idea they were burning Korans, and tried desperately to retrieve the books when the situation was brought to their attention....Defiling the Koran becomes an issue for Muslims only when it has been done by non-Muslims. Observe that the unintentional burning would not have occurred if these “fiercely protective of their Islamic faith” Afghans had not defiled the Korans in the first place. They were Muslim prisoners who annotated the “holy” pages with what a U.S. military official described as “extremist inscriptions” in covert messages sent back and forth, just as the jihadists held at Gitmo have been known to do (notwithstanding that Muslim prisoners get their Korans courtesy of the American taxpayers they construe the book to justify killing).
Do you know why you are supposed to stay mum about the intentional Muslim sacrilege but plead to be forgiven for the accidental American offense? Because you would otherwise have to observe that the Koran and other Islamic scriptures instruct Muslims that they are in a civilizational jihad against non-Muslims, and that it is therefore permissible for them to do whatever is necessary — including scrawl militant graffiti on their holy book — if it advances the cause. Abdul Sattar Khawasi — not a member of al-Qaeda but a member in good standing of the Afghan government for which our troops are inexplicably fighting and dying — put it this way: “Americans are invaders, and jihad against the Americans is an obligation.”
Our government has repeatedly professed that the Taliban are not our enemies. If that is true, we lack not only the will but the cause for waging war. We should leave — now. It is immoral to keep our young men and women there as sitting ducks in a place where the people hate Americans but we are not trying to vanquish them. We routed al-Qaeda years ago. We don’t need to defeat the Taliban or waste time negotiating with them, Karzai, the warlords, and the rest. Let them have their Korans and work it out for themselves with the compassion that has been such a Religion of Peace hallmark for the last 14 centuries.
As tempting as that scenario may seem, what happens if we leave Afghanistan to an insurgent Taliban? The horrifyingly bloodthirsty extremists wrest power from the unstable, corrupt new government and re-establish a state in which Al Qaeda and other groups can reconstitute their network. If that were to happen, resulting in another 9/11-style (or worse) attack launched from Afghanistan, that would be a national disgrace. It would result in thousands of American deaths and sully the memories of those who have died fighting to permanently oust the Taliban and deny terrorists safe harbor. What a terrible dilemma.
What shouldn't be a dilemma, however, is how the United States Constitution is applied to Muslims in America -- which brings us to a truly outrageous story. I'm a few days late to this story, but it needs to be highlighted nonetheless. A judge in Pennsylvania has tossed out a criminal complaint against a Muslim who physically assaulted an atheist over behavior he found to be disrespectful of Islam. Allahpundit explains:
An atheist was parading down the street as “Zombie Mohammed” last year when a Muslim bystander allegedly flew into a rage and started to choke him. Watch the first clip below; it’s hard to tell what’s going on but something happened, resulting in both the victim and the attacker supposedly tracking down a cop to complain. Why would the suspect want to talk to a cop? Because, silly: He thought it was a criminal offense to insult Islam. And as it turns out, it almost is. The cop testified at the trial but despite his testimony and the video, the judge — a Muslim convert — dismissed the charge for lack of evidence. As Eugene Volokh notes, that’s arguably defensible: If he thought the cop wasn’t credible for whatever reason then he wouldn’t have much left to get him to “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Don’t get hung up on the dismissal, though. The true outrage here is in the lecture that this halfwit delivered from the bench to the victim, not the attacker.
That's right, the judge castigated the victim (!) for his unforgivable insensitivity, and came thisclose to suggesting that he got what he deserved:
"Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it. That makes you look like a doofus...Here in our society, we have a constitution that gives us many rights, specifically, First Amendment rights. It’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others. I don’t think that’s what our forefathers really intended. I think our forefathers intended that we use the First Amendment so that we can speak our mind, not to piss off other people and other cultures, which is what you did.
I don’t think you’re aware, sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – uh, I understand you’re an atheist. But, see, Islam is not just a religion, it’s their culture, their culture. It’s their very essence, their very being. They pray five times a day towards Mecca. To be a good Muslim, before you die, you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca unless you are otherwise told you cannot because you are too ill, too elderly, whatever. But you must make the attempt...What you have done is you’ve completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very, very, very offensive. But you have that right, but you’re way outside your bounds on First Amendment rights."
This guy supposedly tossed the charges over lack of evidence, despite a police officer's corroboration of the victim's account and a video that partially documents the attack:
The quote from the triumphant defense attorney in that report is especially infuriating. Let me stipulate that yes, some atheists go out of their way to spark outrage from the faithful, which is an irritating and obnoxious penchant. But the solution in a free society is not to beat the daylights out of someone who offends you. If, say, a Christian had leapt out of the crowd to pummel the Zombie Jesus character, I doubt the assailant would be let off the hook while his victim was treated to a huffy lecture. If anything, the case may have offered the media a chance to explore the growing threat of intolerant, violent Christians. Parting thought: Has the assault victim received "hundreds" of death threats (presumably from Muslims) since his attacker was allowed to skate? You bet! And to add insult to injury, the judge is threatening contempt charges against the criminally-insensitive atheist for releasing audio of his pathetic lecture from the bench. Madness.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography