Unfit to Print Posted By Bruce Bawer
The other day I took note here of a recent New York Times feature in which several prominent figures from the worlds of law and religion were invited to answer the question: Is religious freedom in America under threat? I focused on one of the responses, entitled “A Campaign Against Patriotic Muslims,” in which Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, maintained that when it came to his coreligionists, the answer was a definite yes. Al-Marayati painted a picture of an America awash in “anti-Islam groups” and “Muslim haters” who make life difficult for American Muslims, whom he depicted as overwhelmingly peaceful, freedom-loving, and terrorism-hating. It didn’t seem to matter to the Times that Al-Marayati himself is a longtime associate of and apologist for terrorists.
Another participant in the same Times feature was Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor. Like Al-Marayati, Feldman claimed to be concerned about a plague of Islam-hatred in America. Feldman complained about legislative proposals in Oklahoma and Tennessee that would “ban Islamic law from the courts — a measure that the American separation of church and state makes completely unnecessary.” Feldman concluded: “It would be nice to say these proposed laws are un-American. But they are sadly reminiscent of our history of targeting vulnerable religious minorities out of bigotry and political expediency. We can only look forward to a day when anti-Islamic sentiment seems as archaic as these other old hatreds do today.”
It’s interesting to note that while the New York Times was giving Al-Marayati and Feldman a platform from which to preach about the supposed persecution of Muslims in America, a woman named Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was actually being persecuted, and prosecuted, in Austria – not for being an adherent of Islam but for speaking the truth about it. Most readers of Front Page will know about Sabaditsch-Wolff, whose whole saga has been covered here, from her frank, fact-based statements about Islam at a 1997 seminar to her conviction last February on the charge of “denigration of the religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion” to her appeal to a higher court, which last week affirmed the February verdict and ordered her to pay a €480 fine or spend two months in jail. Sabaditsch-Wolff, who refuses to pay the fine, quite rightly called it “a black day for Austria.”