On requiring a “loyalty oath” of the Murfreesboro Islamic Center

The latest insult in the ongoing Murfreesboro mosque controversy is the demand by Lou Ann Zelenik and cohorts that Imam Bahloul sign a pledge essentially forswearing terror, “infidel-killing,” contravention of American laws, and the like—forswearing, that is, the parts of Islam that supposedly call for that sort of thing.

The first thing to know about all of this is that Lou Ann, etc. don’t actually want it signed; at least, they couldn’t want it for the reasons they say they do.

They wouldn’t believe the Imam’s pledge anyhow. Demanding it only makes sense if Lou Ann, etc. is unprepared to accept it in the first place. Think about it: If they were sincerely prepared to accept a promise to forswear terror or terror-support, such a pledge would be neither necessary nor sufficient. You might take the word of someone who tells you they aren’t a murderer (or a murder-supporter), if, for whatever oddball reason, they brought up the subject out of the cold blue. But if you already assume they might be guilty—and if you need a pledge, you do—then surely a paltry verbal assurance won’t be enough to make you feel secure: “Oh, you’re not going to chop off my head, you say? Shit, I really thought you might. OK, works for me!” Of course a guilty person has motive to claim innocence; a suspect’s own assurances are worthless for evidentiary purposes. Add to this that the anti-mosque contingent are absolutely convinced that Muslims will invoke taqiyya to lie to “infidels” to mask their true, sinister intentions.

So whatever the reason Lou Ann, et al, are making this demand, it isn’t because it would make them feel more secure about the Imam’s and his community’s intentions. So the motivation must be something else.

For reasons having nothing to do with “supporting terror,” the Center has good reason not to sign: It is insulting to impose “loyalty oaths” on one sector of the community and not others, especially when they come from open antagonists of that sector. (Zelenik was the first to allude to the new Center as a “training camp,” language which has stuck. At times, the construction is just openly referred to as “a mosque and training camp.”) This would be like the Klan demanding that black people pledge to bathe regularly and not steal in order to gain full entry into the community–after having widely accused the black community of failing to do both. Signing would just endorse that insult, and would imply that the connection (blacks-theft; Muslims-terror, etc.) has some prima facie plausibility—again, while giving their critics zero reason to back off.

But this refusal will be used by the anti-mosque crowd as more evidence that these crazy Islamists are ravening to take over. That’s probably what’s behind this. When they do this, keep the following in mind: Is it reasonable that the Imam, etc. would be OK with supporting terrorism, etc. but not with telling a lie (i.e., signing the pledge without meaning it, just to get the critics off their backs)? If they were really endorsing a nasty version of Shariah law, complete with injunctions to kill the infidels that request the pledge, why wouldn’t they just say they weren’t?

[p.s. The first "plank" of the pledge states: "Redda Law, the Shariah Law that allows the killing of Muslims who leave Islam, must be banned in Islamic teachings and in Shariah legal doctrine." So wouldn't the anti-mosque crowd have considered the possibility that the ICM would not wish to sign out of fear that it would bring a fatwa on itself for apostasy? I mean, they talk as though this happens here all the time.]

2 responses to “On requiring a “loyalty oath” of the Murfreesboro Islamic Center

  1. Suuuuure. And next up, a group of concerned citizens demands Catholic priests to sign a pledge that they won’t touch little boys.

  2. Sup “amerikanbeat” – I found you via a blog referral. Intriguing blog from what I have seen thus far. My entry point into Marxist philosophy was through Slavoj Zizek (and an array of Christian socialist writers )and working my way backwards into having a now well-worn copy of the Marx-Engels Reader.

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