Swearing on the Koran: Beyond symbolism

Posted: Dec 08, 2006 10:38 AM
Swearing on the Koran: Beyond symbolism

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."

This is rich. Could CAIR possibly be referring to the "destructive impact" of Islam's doctrinal hatred of Jews and other infidels, which to this day curdles Friday sermons at mosques around the world? Or to the "destructive impact" of its Hamas pals' charter, which, quoting sacred Islamic sources, calls for the destruction of Israel? Not a chance. In light of CAIR's call for Prager's head, I mean, seat on the Holocaust council, it's worth noting that the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews -- the core concern of the Holocaust council, after all -- was enthusiastically supported by many Muslims, most notoriously by the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Somehow, this adds a dizzying irony to the attempt by CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group, to unseat Prager, a Jew, from the blooming Holocaust council. So, too, as a politically correct sidelight, does the fact that the Holocaust Museum itself totally ignores the Muslim role in the Holocaust. (In fact, as Chuck Morse and Carol Greenwald have pointed out in The Washington Times, the museum does not even mention al-Husseini, whose entry in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust takes up more pages than anyone's but Hitler.)

The CAIR letter continued: "As a presidential appointee, Prager's continued presence on the council would send a negative message to Muslims worldwide about America's commitment to religious tolerance." Please. America's commitment to religious tolerance -- freedom, actually -- is of no concern to "Muslims worldwide" as long as Islam itself is supremacist in its institutional degradation of non-Muslim peoples.

Such supremacism may or may not be at the root of Prager's concerns. Certainly, it should be. But there is something else. The oath of office that Ellison plans to take with his Koran binds members of Congress to uphold the constitutional law of the land. Islam, which recognizes no separation between religion and politics, calls for loyalty to sharia, or Islamic law, over any "manmade" law, which would include our constitution.

Given Ellison's associations with Islamic groups, including CAIR, NAIF, and American Open University (known to law enforcement as "Wahabbi Online," according to WorldNetDaily.com), members of which have openly supported sharia, this swearing-in ceremony suddenly takes on an alarming significance that is by no means just symbolic.