The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reciprocal Sensitivity - II

Mike Lupica of The New York Daily News tells the story of Bonnie McEneaney, one of the thousands of family members who watched in horror as their loved one were murdered by Islamists on September 11, 2001.

He quotes McEneaney, a thoughtful, quiet woman who lost her husband in the twin towers, using her comments to convince the reader that despite the politically correct claims of the President, this issue is not about freedom of religion [Muslims are free to build Mosques throughout the five burroughs of Manhattan], but it is about sensitivity.
Only this debate isn't about correctness. Or freedom of religion. Or even the idea that if this mosque doesn't get built, it will mean we are now deciding about religious freedom in this country one neighborhood at a time. It is about common sense.

More than that, it is about the constituency of Sept. 11.

"Nobody disputes the principle of freedom of religion," Bonnie McEneaney was saying yesterday. "Of course Muslims should have the same spiritual rights the rest of us have. The question isn't about that. The question is about sensitivity. To me, this is solely about sensitivity, the feelings of the friends and relatives who lost loved ones on 9/11."

In an earlier post , I made the same point. Why is it that we must always be sensitive to the feelings of Islam throughout the world, but Islam (one fifth of the World’s population) is never asked to be sensitive to the feelings, culture, or societal desires of the West? Why is it that Barack Obama crafts a foreign policy that goes out of its way to exhibit sensitivity to Islam (up to and including an apologia for perceived injustices on the part of the West), but never asks Islam to apologize for (and condemn without equivocation) the many wrongs perpetrated in its name? Sensitivity is a two way street, and right now, in New York City, it’s all one way.

Like most of his supporters on the Left, President Obama preens in his protection of “religious freedom,” creating a strawman that changes the subject. Is he really so naïve that he believes his own argument, that he doesn’t see the irony of discussing “religious freedom” for a religion that in many parts of the world gives new meaning to the word “intolerance?”

Of course, the other consistent argument that comes from the President’s supporters on this issue is that unreciprocated sensitivity is a winner with the Islamic street, that the United States becomes a beacon of religious freedom because it is doing the difficult thing.

Richard Fernandez disagrees and clearly enunciates the reality of our actions:
All bending over backward tells moderate Muslims is that the American political elite will abandon everything — even Ground Zero — to the radicals. It tells the Muslim world that the American elite, from cowardice or moral vanity will sell out anyone. And that doesn’t breed Muslim respect; it breeds universal contempt. Then they will turn to each other and say, “if you were thinking of fighting by America’s side, don’t”. With a guy like Obama as your shield, who needs a sword? Brookings, Zogby and Pew have documented the drastic fall of Obama’s popularity in the Muslim world. His fall is matched by a corresponding popularity of Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who is now 12 times more popular than he is in the Middle Eastern surveys. If the Obama way wins friends and influences people in the Middle East then how come nobody loves him?

But Obama, the ideologue, persists in his argument, albeit that his spokespeople are now lawyering his comments.

The problem is that 70 percent of American citizens (including 70 percent of those of us in the Center), don’t buy it.