Bumped–originally posted July 29, 2007 @ 22:07
Before me is a recent report that a student at Pace University in New York City has been arrested for a hate crime in consequence of an alleged dumping of the Quran. Nothing repels me more than the burning or desecration of books, and if, for example, this was a volume from a public or university library, I would hope that its mistreatment would constitute a misdemeanor at the very least. But if I choose to spit on a copy of the writings of Ayn Rand or Karl Marx or James Joyce, that is entirely my business. When I check into a hotel room and send my free and unsolicited copy of the Gideon Bible or the Book of Mormon spinning out of the window, I infringe no law, except perhaps the one concerning litter. Why do we not make this distinction in the case of the Quran? We do so simply out of fear, and because the fanatical believers in that particular holy book have proved time and again that they mean business when it comes to intimidation. Surely that should be to their discredit rather than their credit. Should not the “moderate” imams of On Faith have been asked in direct terms whether they are, or are not, negotiating with a gun on the table?
The Pace University incident becomes even more ludicrous and sinister when it is recalled that Islamists are the current leaders in the global book-burning competition.
Update: Here’s the criminal complaint.
A pictorial pop quiz for you. Which of these is a hate crime in America?
A) Submerging a crucifix in a jar of urine.
B) Burning the American flag.
C) Putting a Koran in a toilet.
Each is offensive and tasteless in its own way. But only one is a hate crime in the eyes of the law — C) — and 23-year-old Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn faces jail time for it. He’s a Pace University student arrested on Friday on hate-crime charges after he threw a Koran in a toilet at Pace University on two separate occasions, according to police.
Charles Johnson at LGF has been in contact with Shmulevich. He reports that the student has been charged with two felonies, criminal mischief and aggravated harassment. Allahpundit has a thorough legal review.
Mark Steyn muses about the flushed Koran: “Obviously Mr Shmulevich should have submerged it in his own urine, applied for an NEA grant and offered it to the Whitney Biennial.”
Actually, no. The NEA would have turned Shmulevich in to the police, too. Now, if he had submerged a Bible in urine or coated a Torah in cow dung and submitted it for a federal grant, he’d be sitting pretty–and facing rave New York Times editorials instead of time behind bars.
Phil Orenstein at The Democracy Project has “been involved over the past year battling the censorship and outrages of the film police at Pace, where the administrators caved in to Muslim Student Association’s pressure and threatened police action against Hillel if they showed the film Obsession.” Orenstein notes the “double standard lurking at Pace, throughout academia and trickling down throughout the body politic where Muslims and certain identity groups get preferential treatment while others are spurned.”
There is no right in a democracy not to be offended although the threats and bullying tactics of CAIR and MSA have forced the hand of Pace administrators and New York’s Police Department to do their sinister bidding.
Andrew Bostom digs deeper:
Western discourse must move well beyond condemnation of clumsy acts of disapproval, such as Koran flushing, and their aggressive prosecution under pressure by Muslim avatars of real hatred, and abettors of murderous jihad terrorism, such as CAIR—to more fundamental and unnerving questions: What role do Koranic injunctions themselves—eternal and beyond criticism (least of all by non-Muslims)—play in inciting “criminal mischief and aggravated mischief”, and much more heinous crimes against humanity, including jihad genocide, and the destruction of non-Muslim religious, cultural, and political institutions?
The Korans Mr. Shmulevich threw in the toilet were school property taken from a “meditation room” on campus. Now I’m not a lawyer and will make no attempt to analyze the legal issues regarding this case. But Allah has the language of the statutes under which Mr. Shmulevich is being charged with a hate crime and to these layman’s eyes, it is perplexing to me why the prosecutor would be charging Mr. Shmulevich under either of these statutes. Instead, it appears to be a case where the prosecutor files more serious charges in hopes the defendant will plead to lesser ones.
Charge him with stealing the Korans, yes. Perhaps even charge him with a misdemeanor for vandalizing school property. But charging the man with two felony counts under dubious circumstances smacks of prosecutorial overkill.