This past January, London’s Daily Star tabloid announced urgently that an upcoming episode – “the most controversial episode ever”! – of The Simpsons on the Sky1 network “pokes fun at Islam” and “is certain to enrage Muslim fanatics.” As anyone who morbidly follows this sort of thing (as I do) knows, enraging Muslim fanatics is hardly an accomplishment of Halley’s Comet-like rarity. It doesn’t take much: books, cartoons, teddy bears named Mohammad, posters of puppies, piggy banks, a Burger King ice cream swirl and the Nike logo (both of which apparently too closely resembled the Arabic script for “Allah”), are just a few of the recent Western offenses that have sparked their frothing outrage worldwide.
Yet despite the Daily Star‘s perversely hopeful tone, there was no violent reaction in the UK from said fanatics, nor was there one in the United States after the episode originally aired here last Thanksgiving weekend (in a grimly ironic twist, the same weekend as the devastating mass murder and mayhem committed in Mumbai by a band of – wait for it – Muslim fanatics, or as the culturally sensitive media preferred to call them at the time, “gunmen”). So why no Muslim fury over The Simpsons?
In the episode “Mypods and Broomsticks,” Homer Simpson believes a local Muslim couple are terrorists planning to blow up the Springfield Mall. It turns out, unsurprisingly, to be a misunderstanding; no plot is being hatched after all. As a spokesman for London’s Sky1 reassuringly sums up, “At the end of the show, all the issues are resolved and Homer realizes the error of his ways.” In other words, Homer was wrong to suspect Muslims – despite seeing them unload dynamite in their garage, despite hearing them discuss blowing up buildings, despite finding the schematics of the targeted local mall on their computer, and despite the fact that, in the real world, Muslim fanatics do have an impressive track record of blowing up innocent civilians.
The moral of the toon: coming forward to protect your community from a possible terrorist attack by Muslims, even with an abundance of probable cause, marks you as a buffoonish bigot. So, contrary to the Daily Star‘s claim, the episode did not poke fun at Islam, but at Homer. Simpsons creator Matt Groening explained to Sky1: “Cartoons deal in stereotypes. We try to be sensitive.” Well, sensitive to the murderous rage of Islamists, anyway, since the episode ridicules the stereotyping of Muslims as terrorists, while stereotyping Homer as an Islamophobic, paranoid, ignorant American.
Thus CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, ever-ready with a quick denunciation of any criticism of Islam or any association of it with terrorism, instead whipped out a statement approving of the episode’s plotline and congratulating the show’s creators “for tackling the disturbing phenomenon of Islamophobia.” If I were CAIR, I’d be much more concerned about tackling the disturbing phenomenon of violent jihad committed by fanatics who have supposedly hijacked my religion (then again, CAIR is currently tackling revelations that it is a Muslim Brotherhood front group committed to replacing American democracy with Sharia and theocracy). What if Homer Simpson had been right, and the Muslim couple intended to murder and maim hundreds at the local mall? I guess CAIR would rather that he keep quiet and stifle his Islamophobia than act on reasonable suspicion, report the possible bombing to the authorities, and save countless lives.
Admittedly, those are cartoon characters in the service of comedy writers whose aim is to give the topic a light treatment; but they nonetheless reinforce the default PC position that only stupid bigots draw a connection between Islam and terrorism. In the real world, meanwhile, Osama bin Laden and his ilk are busy making that connection themselves, and political correctness won’t save you from them.
“Mark, this is all very fascinating,” I hear you say,”but doesn’t Obama’s election mean that America is now safer and more ‘well-liked’?” (A concept I previously bashed here) “Won’t our Islamist enemies respond more peacefully and diplomatically to his flaccid ‘open hand’ policy and his many cringe-worthy expressions of pro-Islam sycophancy?” First of all, no less an authority than bin Laden himself has made it clear that he considers Obama no different from his predecessor. Second, since Obama has taken office, over 40 American-born Muslims or converts have been arrested for plotting terrorist attacks here and abroad, including Najibullah Zazi, a Denver-based Muslim who apparently is connected to al Qaeda and at the center of what could have been a catastrophic terrorist plot; Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, for attempting to car-bomb a Dallas office tower; and Muslim convert Michael C. Finton, who planned to blow up a federal building in Springfield (Illinois, not the one in The Simpsons). Even as I write this, Tarek Mehanna and cohorts, apparently desirous “to participate in Islamist holy war,” were arrested in Massachusetts for plotting to attack a mall in the U.S. Are all Muslims terrorists? Of course not; indeed, the fundamentalists have no qualms about targeting Muslims who aren’t onboard with the notion of embracing Sharia and a worldwide Caliphate. But make no mistake, there are untold numbers of Islamists here in America, and many of them want to kill you.
What can you do about it? Join a great activist organization like Brigitte Gabriel‘s ACT! for America, buy The Citizen Soldier Handbook: 101 Ways for Every American to Fight Terrorism by my friend Michael Mandaville and put his action items to work, or simply keep your eyes open and trust your instincts. The LAPD recently rolled out a community awareness program called iWATCH, a neighborhood watch service designed to nip terrorist plots in the bud by providing citizens with a hotline to report suspicious activity. Seems a little long in coming – nearly ten years after an alert customs officer arrested Ahmed Ressam at the Canadian border and foiled the “millennium LAX plot” in late December, 1999 – but better late than never. Skeptical, pseudonymous police officer “Jack Dunphy,” pointing out that iWATCH bluntly warns against ethnic profiling, believes the program will be hamstrung by political correctness. He may be right; time will tell. In any case, if only programs of this sort were promoted as frequently on television as Obama’s volunteerism propaganda (which includes nothing about combating Islamic terrorism), Americans would become more conscious of a local role they can play in the war-formerly-known-as-the-war-on-terror.
“The price of freedom,” said Thomas Jefferson, “is eternal vigilance.” Not willful blindness, not political correctness, not naive complacency, but vigilance. While the current administration has its hands full demonizing its critics, winning the praise of dictators worldwide, and embracing anti-American radicals and Sharia supporters, radical Islam continues to wage war against us on our own soil. It’s up to each one of us ordinary Americans, us Citizen Soldiers, to throw off the yoke of political correctness, disregard trumped-up accusations of Islamophobia or racism, and help law enforcement protect our communities and our country from the enemy among us.