The grievance industry went into overdrive last month when burned Korans were reportedly discovered at a local mosque in Southwestern Virginia.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington issued an immediate press release June 16 calling for “Americans of all faiths to obtain and read the Quran after burned copies of Islam’s revealed text were found” in a shopping bag at the front door of the Islamic Center of Blacksburg. Repent, all ye infidels.
Incensed CAIR officials contacted the FBI and pressured authorities to treat the incident as possibly “bias-related.” CAIR-MD/VA Director of Civil Rights Shama Farooq lectured that, “A redoubled commitment to freedom of thought and religious diversity is the best response to the burning of any sacred text” in order to “send the message that bigots do not represent our nation’s values.”
Not content to let CAIR get all the free publicity, other victim-card hustlers jumped aboard the burned Koran bandwagon.
Laila Al-Qatami, a spokeswoman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington, lambasted police: “If pages from the Bible were burned and put in a bag outside a church,” she huffed to the Associated Press, “I think the reaction of the police would be that it would be a hate crime.”
Actually, in this country, when you dunk a crucifix in urine, that’s “art,” and when you hang a framed copy of the Ten Commandments inside a courthouse, that’s a crime.
Ms. Al-Qatami invoked the Guantanamo Bay bogeyman and blamed the burned Koran incident on insensitive, ignorant Americans. The case, she asserted, was caused by “a lack of zero tolerance for hate crimes and a lack of information about Arabs and Islam as a whole.” Ms. Al-Qatami also told the Roanoke Times: “Let’s face it, books don’t burn themselves and end up outside of a mosque. It’s a willful act.”
Muslims in Virginia also expressed their knee-jerk outrage: “It is a shame that people are so ignorant,” said Blacksburg mosque member Idris Adjerid. Ahmed Sidky, a Muslim graduate student at nearby Virginia Tech, told the Roanoke Times the case “was certainly very symbolic.”
It certainly was a symbol — a symbol of the knee-jerk penchant among some civil rights groups and their enablers to cry racism, claim discrimination, and criticize U.S. law enforcement authorities for not doing enough to stop “hate crimes.”
It turns out, you see, that the burned Koran was left at the mosque by… a Muslim student.
According to the AP, a Muslim Virginia Tech student took responsibility saying he dropped off the burned Koran and other singed materials at the mosque, hoping “it could be given a respectful disposal.” Police Lt. Bruce Bradberry reported the unnamed student apparently contacted police last week, “saying he was going to be traveling abroad and didn’t know what to do with the Koran, which had been burned in a 2004 house fire. The student said he placed the book and other fire- damaged materials in a bag and left the bag at the Islamic Center with a note, which apparently blew away.” Whoops.
The grievance-mongers’ continued failure to act responsibly and with due skepticism when these cases arise is expected. But the mainstream media’s failure to control its America-bashing reflexes is intolerable. Instead of providing readers information about many cases of so-called Muslim hate crimes that have turned out to be fraudulent since September 11, 2001, The Washington Post quoted the usual suspects and editorialized in its June 17 report: “The Koran burning comes at a time of particular sensitivity. The U.S. military recently confirmed five cases of U.S. personnel mishandling the Muslim holy book at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, acknowledging that soldiers and interrogators kicked the Koran, got copies wet, stood on a copy during an interrogation and inadvertently got urine on another one.”
Over the Independence Day weekend, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Colbert King added fuel to the fire, hysterically listing this now-debunked Koran-burning incident as evidence of rampant anti-Muslim bias in America.
Will Colbert King and the boys and girls crying wolf calm down and acknowledge the truth about the Muslim hate crime that wasn’t? I doubt it.
Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist.