Friday, June 11, 2004

Tolerating the intolerant II

It's gotten to the point where toleration of intolerance is in danger of being enshrined in our legal system. We relentlessly hound any sort of perceived "hate speech" to the point of mistaking historical Confederate flags for burning Klan crosses. Yet in the name of political correctness a court case in the Midwest bids to grant an exception to Islamists to fulminate hatred against Jews.

Fawaz Damra, the leader of the Islamic Center of Greater Cleveland, is on trial, charged with lying on his immigration forms. The government says he did, despite what he said, have ties to terrorism. In fact, he sought donors for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In fact, in the early 1990s he screamed out at fund-raising events, calling on participants to destroy Jews.

A defense expert this week did not deny he had said such things (which would have been an unwise tactic, since the feds have it all on video).

Instead, the defense expert, a Chicago researcher in Mideast studies, told a federal court judge that “The rhetoric is principally used by political and religious leaders to galvanize resistance to what Palestinian Arabs consider to be the patent persecution of their people by Jewish immigrants to the Middle East.”

“As unquestionably hate-filled and thus morally reprehensible as such language is, when Palestinians refer to Jews as ‘descended from apes and swine’ or encourage support for those who ‘kill Jews,’ they do so with the reasonably justifiable self-image of victim and persecuted, not of victimizer and persecutor.”

The judge has yet to decide if this will be admitted as a defense. We already have "guilty but insane." We may have to add "guilty but Islamist."