Saturday, December 4, 2010

High On A Hill Stood A Lonely Goatherd

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past forty-five years, you know that what comes next is: "Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo. . . ." The movie version of The Sound of Music included a puppet show performed by the Austrian von Trapp family and The Lonely Goatherd was the featured number.

It's hard not to yodel along with the goatherd, but in Austria today you had better be careful about trying that. Americans can look to Austria (and much of the rest of Europe) for the latest manifestation of political-correctness and fear of Islamic reprisals for any negative mention of the religion of peace. If we don't quickly restore the First Amendment as the Founders intended it, and get rid of all "hate speech" laws, we may find ourselves in an equally ridiculous situation.

Ignoring the fact that Austria is already prosecuting anybody who speaks ill of Islam, it could get worse. Absent a First Amendment, we could be prosecuted for whistling Dixie, but in Austria, yodeling is as Austrian as apple strudel. If we simply ignore free speech as an issue, we can understand how zealous prosecutors in Austria have gone after writer and university lecturer Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff for the crime of "prejudicial incitement." That's Austrian politically-correct speak for her having criticized Islam and Sharia laws at a seminar. But yodeling???????

A man so far identified in court documents only as Helmut G., a 63 year old Austrian retiree, was mowing his grass on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Helmut says: "And because I was in such a good mood, I yodeled and sang a few songs." He should have picked his singing style and neighbors better. You see, Helmut made the mistake of yodeling at the same time his adorable Muslim neighbors were having prayers in their house. Helmut was just singing and yodeling on his own property, while the charming neighbors were praying inside and broadcasting it outside in their yard with a loudspeaker. The neighbors were exceedingly disturbed by Helmut's yodeling during their special hour of loudspeaker prayer, and reported him to police for felony lawn mowing and yodeling during their special time.

As the saying goes, you can't make this stuff up. Here's how the ultra-sensitive practitioners of the religion of peace described Helmut's yodeling: "The yodeling sounded like the call of the muezzin (on that claim alone, Helmut should counter-sue for defamation)." Helmut denied their claim that his yodeling was an attempt to mock-imitate them. The court didn't care. It issued Helmut a substantial fine. If Austrians can't tell that the sweet sound of their native yodeling doesn't sound at all like the cats-in-heat muezzin, what hope is there?

Though we are far behind at this point, the Europeans are showing us the way on a case-by-case basis how to squelch freedom of expression by claiming it is the best way to prevent anti-Islamic violence. Americans are already self-censoring by trying to figure out which case might hold that the former rules of expression and debate have been changed. Islam has already cowed its critics and unintentional "disturbers of the peace" such as Helmut G. in Europe, and there's no sign that it's going to get any better. After all, the elites are simply forestalling violence and hate. Sounds a little like the Obama administration who told critics that "they had better be careful what they say." No hard rules or law, just make it up as you go along.

In order to avoid violence against Muslims, let's take a look at the American statistics on anti-Muslim violence and "Islamophobia." And I'm going to try to give it a little context as well. When I cite these incidents, you should keep in mind that these are reported incidents, including but not limited to incidents which have been investigated and in some cases prosecuted.

According to official government statistics for the year 2009, there were a total of 107 anti-Islamic "hate crimes" against persons and/or property totaling 128 individual counts and 132 victims. That is only slightly above the post 9-11 lows in 2008. The numbers have been steadily declining since the obvious year of 2001, when there were 413 incidents reported nationwide. Zero would be a good number, but this doesn't exactly sound like either an escalation or an epidemic. In fact, it doesn't sound like much of anything.

Let's look at what was also happening in 2009 in the non-Islamic hate crimes arena. Anti-Jewish incidents totaled 931. Absorb that--it's nearly nine times as many as anti-Islamic. And then there's the per capita rate. Government figures put the Jewish (religious/ethnic) population of the US at about 6.5 million. Coincidentally, the Muslim population is somewhere in the same neighborhood. But CAIR and other headline-grabbing, population-inflating Muslim organizations put the Islamic population figure at closer to 12 million. So let's use their figure and see that the per capita rate of anti-Jewish hate crime is more than seventeen times that of anti-Islamic hate crime.

Anti-black hate crimes reported totaled 2,284 and anti-white hate crime totaled 545. Hate crimes against "other" religions than Islam, Judaism or Christianity totaled 109. There were 89 reported anti-Christian hate crimes. At the extreme end, people were killed (murder or manslaughter) for being black, white, Native American, Hispanic, or gay. But not one single death has been reported on the basis of anti-Islamic crime. Despite the mass murder of 3,000 civilians in New York City by Muslims, Americans appear to be a very tolerant people--particularly toward Muslims.

As for 2010, the hysterical left and the radical Muslim groups such as CAIR, cheered on by the MSM, point to the cabbie-slashing and immense opposition to the Ground Zero mosque as evidence that anti-Muslim hatred is growing. That is not supported by the facts. Authorities nationwide are reporting figures that appear closer to 2008 than to 2009 (in other words, lower). The actual figures for 2010 will not be available until 2011, but even the burning of the Islamic mosque where Portland Christmas Tree bomber Mohamud Ahmed Mohamud prayed would increase the total 2010 incidents by exactly one.

To date, yodeling in America has not yet been added as a new anti-Islamic hate crime, but I'm sure Eric Holder is working on that. Still, if our less restrictive speech statutes allow more "anti-Islamic" expression than those of Europe, yet produce next to zero actual crime, why are we following their lead? That's simply a combination of political-correctness and kowtowing to the outrageous sensitivities of one religion while allowing "anything goes" with the other religions. It also may have something to do with the fact that the "other" religions don't behead people who aren't of their true faith or who speak ill of their prophets.

Author, lawyer, and hate speech analyst Adam Turner has concluded that the left and Islamics have convinced themselves that the following "Commandments" must be obeyed:

1. Thou shalt not accurately describe Sharia law (see Geert Wilders and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff).

2. Thou shalt not criticize any Islamic doctrine (see Wilders and Sabaditsch-Wolff).

3. Thou shalt not report on and/or criticize the funding of terror by Islamists (see Rachel Ehrenfeld).

4. Thou shalt not disparage, nor even depict, the Islamic Prophet Muhammed (see the Jyllands-Posten Danish Cartoons and South Park).

5. Thou shalt not criticize the appropriateness of building any mosque, anywhere (see the Ground Zero mosque debate).

6. Thou shalt not admit to any politically incorrect thought(s) about Muslims, even if you immediately disavow it (them) as "irrational" and denounce it (them) on air (see Juan Williams).

So think once, twice, thrice before whistling Dixie or yodeling lest your neighbors accuse you of Islamophobia.


Tehachapi Tom said...

O'boy I have been struggling for a way to display my distaste for the polito-religious identity of Islam.
Hawk thanks for the list you have identified the prime areas for creative thought. You only listed six
but that should be enough to stay busy with for a few minutes.

You did say the group was praying inside their house and had speakers outside blaring away did you not? Wouldn't that be the first crime? Disturbing the peace will get a response here, probably not though if it's Muslims.

Good read on absurdity.

Unknown said...

Tehachapi Tom: The religious/political nature of Islam is what a great many people miss. Among the rest of us, our politics and our religion are separate entities which influence each other. In Islam, they are one and the same.

Crime is in the eye of the beholder. One group has managed to convert much of its uncivil behavior into the grounds for suing or prosecuting those who object. Case in point--loudspeakers OK, yodeling bad.

AndrewPrice said...

Austria is a beautiful country with interesting politics and an interesting history. After all, it was in 1683 at the Gates of Vienna that they held back the Ottoman Empire and changed the course of Western history as it marked the end of the Ottoman Empire's expansion into Europe.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I agree (my mother's family is from Bavaria which shares a lot in common with the mountain Austrians). They did indeed hold back the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna, but they don't seem to be doing as well this time. Maybe the Trapp family singers can help, but I doubt it. After all, they might be tempted to yodel.

BevfromNYC said...

Thanks, I can't get that dang Goatherd song out of head!

Unknown said...

Bev: LOL I wondered who'd be the first. At least where I live now, my inability to stop yodeling isn't considered anything more than a little eccentric. First my kids, now my grandkids, insist on watching Sound of Music at Christmas time, and it's mid-February before I can get the dumb song out of my head.

StanH said...

Wow! I believe he was fined somewhere around $800.00 US for yodeling. I believe a little Islamophobia is a healthy thing these days. We must take back the English language, and restore honesty, by affirming our 1st amendment rights, without exception. We have no right not to be offended. The West is slowly losing it’s greatness to an insipid cult, that have the morals of the Klan. I really have no patience with this crap any longer, it must be thrown back with every ounce of energy. I see us in the not too distant future having to save Europe again. If we have to do it a third time, being a baseball fan, three strikes you’re out. We’ll just keep it this time.

Unknown said...

Stan: The Lord helps him who helps himself, and like you, I'm beginning to develop that attitude towards Europe. We've discussed this before, and what they are doing is feeding the beast in hopes it will eat them last. Oddly, much like their economics, they seem to be moving to a more conservative stance (Germany's Angela Merkel in particular) while we gleefully toss the First Amendment and pander to those who would destroy us if they can. Paraphrasing the quote misattributed to Volatire: "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death my right to criticize you for saying it."

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