Here’s the latest alert from Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR):
CAIR SEEKS FBI PROBE OF ‘HATE CRIME’ AT TN MOSQUE
Political, religious leaders asked to repudiate growing Islamophobia
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/10/07) — A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the FBI to investigated what Tennessee law enforcement authorities are calling a “hate crime” targeting a mosque in that state.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations CAIR said worshipers at the Islamic Center of Clarksville found a defaced copy of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, on the front steps of the mosque just before communal prayers (Jummah) on Friday. Two strips of bacon, which is prohibited for Muslims to eat, were smeared in the Quran. Local police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
SEE: Muslims on Alert After Hate Crime (Leaf-Chronicle)
“We once again urge local, state and national political and religious leaders to repudiate the growing level of anti-Muslim rhetoric in our society that can lead to such troubling incidents,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
According to the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, two hours before the 1 p.m. Friday service, the Koran was found on the front steps of the Islamic Center. Someone had written “Mohammad pedophile” on the front, and an (unnamed) expletive was on the inside, smeared under two strips of bacon. Not only did the local police report it as a hate crime, but they said they would contact the FBI. Mosque representatives are meeting with the City Mayor Johnny Piper to see what he can do as well.
This is a clear example of how hate crime laws are being used to impose sharia law, in the guise of religious special accomodations, and in place of U.S. federal or state laws. I’m not a lawyer, so correct me if I’m wrong — that’s why we have a comments section — but under the current laws in Tennessee and the U.S., these are facts of the case:
1. The Koran — simply a book under our laws, rather than “Islam’s revealed text,” and therefore not subject to the special treatment required by sharia law — belonged to whoever put it on the steps. So no theft or defacement of someone else’s property was involved. If I had left a Bible on their steps, would that have been a hate crime? Or a Koran from Yemen, not accepted by the Wahhabi cult?
2. Leaving a Koran on a property’s steps — again, just a book like any other, under our law rather than sharia law — does not vandalize that property. Maybe you can define it as littering, but “hate crime littering” seems a bit of a dhimmitude stretch when it’s a single book and two pieces of bacon, neatly placed inside the book.
3. Writing in a book, including a Torah, New Testament, Bible, Lolita, The Pentagon Papers, the Yellow Pages or the Koran (again, just a book under any laws other than sharia) is permitted under the First Amendment. Writing an expletive in a book is permitted under the First Amendment. Writing that Mohammed was a pedophile is permitted under the First Amendment, and is also amply documented by both Islamic and other scholars of the Koran.
[Scriptural Evidence] Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64: Sahih Bukhari [the most venerated and authentic Islamic source]
Narrated ‘Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).
4. Bacon is not illegal in Tennessee, and putting bacon in a book is not illegal in Tennessee. It’s a waste of good bacon, but it’s not illegal. In fact, Tennessee is the new home for the Pig Improvement Company, the world leader in genetic pig stock production (“Selling breeding stock and boar semen is a profitable business…”):
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In 2005, the Tennessee pork industry had over $52 million in cash receipts and ranked 24th in the United States in pork population. Tennessee’s 1,300 pig farms take up 51,876 acres of land and constitute the state’s 10th most lucrative agricultural industry.
Where was the underlying crime that must exist for this to be a “hate” crime, under U.S. or Tennessee laws? Or was the underlying crime one that exists only under sharia law, followed with meticulous political correctness by the Clarksville police in reporting it as a hate crime? Will leaving a book on the steps of a mosque become criminal trespass, in order to find some underlying crime to make it “hateful” under the National Incident Based Reporting System (pdf format) of the Department of Justice? The methodology for gathering hate crime statistics uses 3 categories of crimes: against people, against property and against society. Since this was not a crime against property or people, under U.S. and state laws, should we assume that the Clarksville police department has found it to be a crime against society under sharia law?
Or are we in the never-never land of searching for or inventing underlying crimes, to criminalize hostile and critical speech, so that it can be prosecuted as a hate crime? The 2005 Department of Justice “Study of Literature and Legislation on Hate Crime in America” (pdf format) warned of the risks:
Over the past 25 years, the federal government and all but one state have passed pieces of legislation addressing hate crime in some way. Still, there remains no national consensus about whether hate crime should be a separate class of crime, and among those supporting hate crime statutes, there is disagreement about how these statutes should be constructed and focused. The keys issues in the debate include:
(1) the necessity of considering hate or bias motivation when the core offenses(e.g., assault, vandalism) are already covered by criminal law;
(2) whether there is a danger in basing additional penalties for crimes upon the thoughts motivating offenders, rather than keeping the focus of criminal law on the behavior itself;
(3) whether it is possible to determine with legally-acceptable levels of certainty the motive behind a person’s criminal acts;
(4) whether, in practice, hate crime laws result in crimes against certain groups of people being punished more severely than equivalent crimes committed against other groups, and if so, whether that is fair and legally defensible;
(5) whether having hate crime statutes deters potential offenders; and
(6) whether having these statutes hinders law enforcement’s ability to investigateand prosecute crime.
Until we determine otherwise, assume that Clarksville, Tennessee is operating under sharia law regarding the First Amendment. Make sure you don’t criticize the violent verses in the Koran while jaywalking, owing time on your parking meter, or buying bacon at Target. You don’t know who in Clarksville’s finest may be watching and reporting you for hate crimes.