It turns out that tolerant, moderate Malaysian Muslims didn’t see things quite that way. They took the Christians’ ecumenical gesture as an affront — an effort to proselytize for Christianity or, as Imam Rauf himself put it, “to manipulate the word [“Allah”] to win converts.” So the tolerant, moderate Muslims did their usual Terry-Jackass-Jones-on-steroids routine: They didn’t just burn Bibles, they fire-bombed churches. Non-Islamic proselytism is prohibited by sharia, as Imam Rauf, who wants the United States to be more sharia-compliant, could tell you.
And what did Rauf do? Did he condemn this blatant Christianophobia? Did he lecture Malaysians that the Herald
was perfectly within its legal rights to invoke “Allah” in the service of Christianity, and that living in a tolerant, pluralistic society that ensures free expression means accepting the Herald
’s actions even if they make Muslims uncomfortable?
Are you kidding?
Instead, Imam Rauf took to the newspapers to admonish Christians on the need to show more sensitivity to Muslims’ feelings. “My message to the Christian community in Malaysia,” he proclaimed, “is that using the word Allah to mean the Christian God may be theologically and legally correct, but in the context of Malaysia, it is socially provocative. If you want to have influence with people in Malaysia, you must find a way to convey your message without provoking this kind of response.”
You know what else might be “socially provocative”? A giant mosque at Ground Zero.
– Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.