Posted by: L. E. Barnes | September 9, 2010

Not Worthy of First Amendment Protection?

Martin Peretz of The New Republic has written an article in which he asserts that allegations of Americans’ misunderstanding and mistrust of Muslims is overblown. Disputing the findings of a New York Times opinion poll, he writes,

Where does the Times get reliable data on the feelings of American Muslims (or, for that matter, Arab Americans) about terrorists and terrorism? Forgive me: I don’t think such data even exists…and just maybe that’s a consequence of the pollsters’ fear that gauging these sentiments would be very desolating, indeed.

And, to tell you the truth, I d not think there’s much reliable data on how Americans see American Muslims either.

As evidence, Peretz cites the lack of any significant anti-Muslim demonstrations in this country, contrasting it with Europe:

Actually, no one has shown that a single serious demonstration against Muslims and Arabs, against their beliefs and behavior can be raised in this country. And, if you think Glenn Beck’s rally at the Lincoln Memorial was its equivalent please quote to me sounds of hatred directed from the platform against these intertwined orbits of the populace. In fact, there has not been a single rally or demonstration in America aimed at Muslim or Arab interests or their commitments to foreign governments and, more likely, to foreign insurgencies and, yes, quite alien philosophies. I suggest that this is largely the case because Americans are so fearful of being accused of bias, however the injustice of the charge might be.

This is certainly not the situation in Britain and France, Germany and Denmark, Holland and Spain where a demo against the Arabs or the Pakis or the Algerians or the Moroccans or the Turks and Muslims more generally is a regular feature of the political landscape and where parties win parliamentary seats precisely because they campaign with Islamists and islam as the targets.

However, Peretz does not pull the punches when expressing his own concerns about the spread of Islam in Europe:

Still, I wouldn’t close my eyes or our eyes to the increasing number of both naturalized and native-born citizens who enlist in the Islamic terror networks of our time, here and abroad.

Liberal political theory has virtually ignored the philosophical, legal and ethical questions posed by the threatening demographics of Europe. Is not western society, imperfect as it may be but immensely more liberal than the domains of Islam, obliged to defend its own…and their future. Immigration is key to this discussion, and it’s the one issue that no one wants to discuss. Imagine what the Times would say if the matter became a subject of real public discourse. Does President Obama really want an immigration debate now?

And in a coup de grace, he points to the terrorist attacks by Muslims against Muslims and sees in them the crux of the problem:

This intense epidemic of slaughter has been going on for nearly a decade and a half…without protest, without anything. And it has been going for decades and centuries before that.

But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.

Of course, our Constitution grants us freedom of religion, and it is hardly in the state’s purview to decide what religions are “worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment.” (And as an aside, the First Amendment grants us rights, not mere privileges–there’s a difference.) 

Anyway, I admit to having mixed feelings about Peretz’s remarks. The willingness of Muslim extremists to resort to violence, even against other Muslims, should concern everyone. How much death and destruction will such people cause in the pursuit of their goals? I am also concerned about Europe, some of whose countries seem bent on–as one commentator put it–“demographic suicide.” On the other hand, I always want to be careful not to tar all members of a group with the same brush, so I’m not sure I can follow Peretz’s statement that “Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims.” Doubtless that is true of some Muslims, but stereotyping should be avoided.

Your thoughts?



  1. […] Not Worthy of First Amendment Protection? […]

  2. I agree with Peretz. Islam is a cult, an ideology complete with a map for political and personal abuse. If one reads the Koran carefully, all non-Muslims are in great danger from even the so-called moderates they may know. A “moderate” in the eyes of Islam is an apostate.

    There is no out from the commands to lie, murder, and steal, to beat and subjugate women, and to perform “honor killings” and install Sharia law worldwide. These people are merely following their “holy” book.

    Our constitution was written to protect individual rights and the welfare of the people by men who were wise and graced by God. Islam is directly opposed to what we are founded on. I see no out for true Muslims. They cannot live as free men anywhere unless they become apostate. It is the most enslaving so-called religion on the face of the earth.

    Our First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, but when that speech incites people against the common good, promotes murder and mayhem and sedition, somewhere our laws are broken and the Gospel is denied.

    Islam is God’s scourge to purify the world. Truth shines all the brighter in contrast to the darkness of evil.

    • Barb,
      As a Christian, I have no love for Islam whatsoever. Its history of conquering Christian lands and forcing Christians to live under Islamic law, as well as persecuting them outright, makes me regard it with disgust and suspicion. Most of all, I regard it as a false religion. It demotes our Lord and Savior to being a mere prophet (and an inferior one to Mohammed at that). While doubtless there many Muslims who are decent, honest people, I have to agree that Islam is a political ideology, not just a religion. Whether it’s “God’s scourge,” I can’t say, but I’m concerned about its spread in Europe and our country.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: