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Muslim Americans: No improvement on other Americans?

By Michael J. Smith on Monday March 7, 2011 05:45 PM

That dirtiest of dirty birds, congressman Peter King of (where else?) Long Island, is working up a little congressional jihad against American Muslims:

Mr. King said ... that Al Qaeda was trying to radicalize Muslims and that its effort was the leading homegrown terrorism threat.

“The threat is coming from the Muslim community,” he said, “the radicalization attempts are directed at the Muslim community.

(By the way, am I the only one who hates this "community" trope? The business community, the gay community, the black community, the bigot community. Why do we have to demote the substantive to an adjectival role and posit some nonexistent "community" for it to modify? Don't we all live in real communities, with, like, streets and sewers? With black people and businessmen and gay people and bigots, crossing paths all the time? But I digress.)

There was a little counter-demo against King's inquisition today, and a sad affair it was. From the same Times story linked above:

In New York, 500 people demonstrated near Times Square to protest the hearings and to call on Mr. King to expand his witness list to include other groups....

Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding(*), and Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam who is a co-founder of a project to develop an Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero, addressed the crowd.

“To single out Muslim Americans as the source of homegrown terrorism and not examine all forms of violence motivated by extremist belief — that, my friends, is an injustice,” Rabbi Schneier said....

“Everybody I talk to worries about it,” [Democratic Representative] Ellison said during [a] Sunday morning appearance with Mr. King ... on CNN. He added, “It’s absolutely the right thing to do for the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee to investigate radicalization, but to say we’re going to investigate a — a religious minority and a particular one, I think, is the wrong course of action to take.”

Yet for many Muslim leaders, the initial outrage and fear is giving way to a determination to participate in the testimony and shape the outcome. Rizwan Jaka, a board member of the Adams Center here, said leaders of mainstream mosques were eager to testify about their cooperation with law enforcement.

"Include other groups!" The equal-opportunity police state, where Jews and Christians nobly ask to be sat on as hard as Muslims. The rabbi and the Democrat are quite willing to let slip the dogs of Homeland Security, as long as they bite every "community" equally. (If this included the "business community" it might have some appeal; but dream on.)

Where could you find a better example of the stultification and dementedness of conventional high-minded American thinking on the subjects of "extremism", "radicalization", and -- wait for it -- "diversity"?

Compare and contrast. Elsewhere in the world, a lot of people seem to have shaken off these mind-forg'd manacles and are happily being radical, extremist, and so on. When will we catch up?


(*) How great is that name? "Ethnic understanding". There's some magisterial ambiguity there. Does it mean "understanding ethnicity" -- which would be a great thing, though it might have a somewhat critical and dissolutive tendency with respect to its topic? Or does it mean "understanding things like an ethnic does"? Or "ethnics understanding that other ethnics are also ethnics, with all that that implies, whatever that 'all' might be?" Or something even more subtle?

Ethnic understanding, my ass. What's this a euphemism for?

Comments (15)


Comments were inadvertently blocked on this post when it first went up. Management regrets the inconvenience.


ethnic sabotage
by the robo-ites

I can understand why individual American Muslims might, for personal safety reasons (or at least for the illusion of personal safety), be interested in making themselves appear non-threateningly not-radical.


This post reminds me of Gaddis's Carpenter's Gothic.


oxy gaddis
seems the perfect author for you

as old bull lee is for me

Heh. He is that, op. I'm kinda partial to old Jack Green too, reading Fire the Bastards! is like finding the long lost relative from whom I am spiritually descended.

And now you make me wonder who is old bull lee, which means I gotta go Google.

Hmmm. Now I think I understand the japes regarding nihilists.


MJS, you write: Compare and contrast. Elsewhere in the world, a lot of people seem to have shaken off these mind-forg'd manacles and are happily being radical, extremist, and so on. When will we catch up?

I am afraid the answer is: when the pain of the status quo becomes too great. This seems to be the American Way.

My eldest is rather thoroughly radicalized, and not from any effort on my part (it seems gauche to me to politicize one's own children; too close to home, too much influence and complicity).

Perhaps his status quo has never really been all that stable, which might explain a little of this and a little of that.


Jack, I was thinking more about those who are set in their ways, who've been beaten down by decades of propaganda, cultural pressure, and sheer fatigue, and hence more prone to embrace "moderation" and centrism as virtues. The kids are usually more readily open to radicalism, no?

Myself: As many others have, I've been told I'd become more conservative with age and then with with having offspring. Opposite has been true, for the most part. Mind much more open to radicaliztion than ever.

I have a 3 1/2 year old son. I see him when I read this:


I am afraid the answer is: when the pain of the status quo becomes too great. This seems to be the American Way.

Yes, it does seem that way. Which is why I said yesterday at Oxtrot Hollow the following:


People who leap to defend unions cause The Gremlin to swing his mighty mallet. I'd prefer to see Gov Walker crush that public employee union because in order for people to finally start waking up to how bad things are in America, a lot of people are going to have to suffer, economically and status-wise. Some of those who suffer so will have to come from "protected" classes, classes of people traditionally favored by well-meaning "leftists" and "socialists" and "libertarian left" people.

Most people don't feel the pain of economic collapse as long as it's happening to someone else. This is why it's necessary for Gov Walker's crude austerity to crush a few people.


Shared pain is a great way to experience commonality with other humans' otherwise individualized plights.


Ox, I'm with you most of the way. Where we part is, I don't want to see Walker prevail, though it's likely the crushing will occur.

Have often flinched in the past from coming to this conclusion --- "people to finally start waking up to how bad things are in America, a lot of people are going to have to suffer, economically and status-wise" --- but am beginning to see no other way.

Quick example: I know a racist doctor who works mostly with poor blacks and "illegals" in an inner-city NY hospital. (One of those racists who "loves the individual" -- and hence ministers quite compassionately to them --- "but hates the race.") In many ways, his interests are very much aligned with theirs. Cuts for the poor mean longer hours, less staff for him. 5-day weeks become 7, etc. It's not like being poor, but when they hurt, the shit flows upward. I often wonder if he'll make the connection, though it hasn't happened yet....

To which "protected" classes do you refer? I assume teachers, but who else?


Ethnic understanding = Sesame Street
(Although Muppets are inherently less repulsive, given the obviousness of the puppeteer.)

Also I was under the impression that the major "terror" threat in this country originated with the FBI trying to dupe incredibly dumb young men into becoming pretend suicide bombers. And crazy white guys who are far too invested in the Second Amendment and who hate the IRS, etc. So they need to hold hearings investigating the FBI, and crazy white people, and any entertaining intersections thereof.

Also I refreshed the page three or four times, and only the intervention of a couple of hours showed up comment capabilities. Probably I should stop commenting inside NNW. It's buggy.

CZ --

To which "protected" classes do you refer? I assume teachers, but who else?

The bigger group of "unions", not just the subset of unionized teachers.

And any other group whose Noble Savage status has people afraid to criticize their complicity via distraction, etc.

And, of course, those "comfortable" middles who imagine their debt-financed pseudo-upper-middle "lifestyle" makes them exempt from feeling the same squeezes that the Plebes and Proles feel.

I'm not saying I want people to suffer, and I'm not saying I like the idea of their suffering.

I'm saying that's what needs to happen IF we want to overhaul America.

If people want to avoid the suffering, I assume they want to avoid the overhaul and are pretty stoked on the status quo, generally speaking, despite the occasionally screams of OUCH! and YIKES! from way out in the Peanut Gallery.

The idea that we can avoid suffering is IMO childish. Show me a person who doesn't suffer already, in some way or another, even if the suffering is kept under wraps, hidden from all but the Face in the Mirror.

What I'm talking about is a period of suffering by one segment of American society (those favored and/or protected indirectly by "leftists," "socialists," and "left-libertarians" or the "anarchic left"), so that the suffering may later be re-distributed to those who are responsible for the extant suffering.

Most people don't find their spines or nutsacks until they are in existential dire straits. A lot of folks are near the precipice but are highly distracted by TeeVee and other Consumer Devices. Once such folks lose their TeeVee and their social faux-interaction umbilicus and you will (IMO) find them facing up to how dire their life really is, how unfair the situation really is.

Do I sound like Debord? I guess I do. Can't say I ever read the guy, though. I'm just familiar grossly with the Society of the Spectacle.

Son of Uncle Sam:

looks like a fatter gotti -

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