Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The View From Muslim-Americans

The Pew Center for the People and the Press has released results from a new poll of Muslim Americans’ attitudes on the United States. Good news, according to the Dallas Morning News’s headline: “Poll: Most Muslim-Americans reject suicide bombings”

Not so much, according to USA Today,which has the banner: “Poll: A quarter of younger Muslim Americans support suicide bombings in some circumstances.”

The Media Line blog chose to accentuate the positive, noting that “A majority of American Muslims believe that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be found in which Israel exists ‘in a way that the rights and needs of the Palestinians are met.’ Only 16 percent expressed the view that if Israel exists, Palestinians cannot be taken care of. The more educated elements of American Muslim society overwhelmingly support the positive view.”

Allahpundit at Hot Air is more interested in the result that nearly half of all respondents now see the war in Afghanistan as wrong, and only 35 percent favor it. “Is the lesson to take away here that Muslims will even oppose war on an Islamic regime if that regime is the Taliban and it’s in response to 9/11?” Allahpundit asks. “Or is the lesson simply that there are a lot more Muslim Democrats than Republicans, and Democrats now oppose war on the Taliban?”

Little Green Footballs notes that while Pew “headlines their survey as showing Muslims are ‘middle class and mostly mainstream,’ it’s that ‘mostly’ part that’s a problem” in that “younger Muslims in the U.S. are much more likely than older Muslim Americans to say that suicide bombing in the defense of Islam can be at least sometimes justified.”

Stephen Schwartz, writing at TCS Daily, feels the poll results reflect a broader problem of Americans’ perceptions of Muslims and vice versa. He is frustrated by “the failure of the mainstream media to focus on and give voice to moderate Muslims, of what he calls “the personalities embodying the Islamic ‘counter-jihad,’ the principles that impel them, or the daily facts of their struggle.” This myopia has a steep price, says Schwartz: “Ignoring moderate Islam is merely a variation of obliviousness and laziness about radical Islam. In its worst effects, MSM silence about moderate Islam discourages the recruitment of moderates to anti-terrorist activism, but also deters the solidarity of non-Muslims who could otherwise assist moderate Muslims.”

Like most polls, the Pew study will raise as many questions as it answers, but its main conclusion seems to be that Muslims “are decidedly American in their outlook, values and attitudes.” O.K. Now, if only we could decide what American “outlook, values and attitudes” are, I guess we’d be set.

– Tobin Harshaw


The Meaning of ‘Democrat’ in Montana

If any state symbolizes the new Democratic Congressional majority, it might be Montana: a former Republican bastion that now has two Democrats, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, in the Senate. Matt Singer at Left in the West however, is beginning to have qualms about the sort of Democrats that get elected in conservative states. He considers the two Montanans’ votes against the Reid-Feingold bill, which would have put a timeline on funding for the war in Iraq, to be partisan treason.

There’s a couple problems with this — first and foremost, it’s misleading. As a staffer from one of their offices told me himself, there’s this whole false understanding that passing Feingold-Reid would literally mean that tanks in Iraq would start running out of gas and the like. That’s simply not true — and it’s not how our government actually operates. Our Senators shouldn’t perpetuate myths.

Second, they’re both using common right-wing attacks to undermine progressive Democratic leadership. They could have both simply said, “My position is that the President and the Pentagon need to come up with a plan. This bill doesn’t accomplish that.” Instead, they threw in a gratuitous, “Leading members of my own party want to ‘pull out the rug’ on our troops in a way that ‘I believe compromises the safety and security of our troops on the ground.’” Those are Mitch McConnell’s talking points.

  • Michael J. Totten reports from Beirut that “for the first time since Syria’s withdrawal that a terrorist bomb has exploded in a Sunni area. The others have been in Christian areas.” The significance? Totten writes: “Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari laughably says the terrorists in Northern Lebanon — who are still battling it out with the Lebanese Army — are Al Qaeda and that they are fighting for the U.N. tribunal to punish the assassins of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. It will require a gullible mind indeed to believe Al Qaeda has taken up the cause of the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon.”

  • Tom Goldstein at Scotusblog offers an incisive take on how the Supreme Court is viewing cases on racial preferences these days:

    I think we can now say with even greater confidence that, assuming the race cases are decided by a single majority opinion (as seems likely), the programs are going to be invalidated in an opinion per the Chief Justice….

    As for the outcome, both the Chief Justice and Justice Alito are most likely to support the challenges to these programs. The Chief is most likely to assign the opinions to himself, given their exceptional importance. Also notable is the fact that Justice Alito wrote two majority opinions in the previous sitting (November), making it quite unlikely he would get the “double” assignment of the race cases.

    It remains possible that Justice Kennedy is writing his own majority opinion going the other way (i.e., favoring one of the programs) in one of the cases. That seems to me very unlikely. Justice Kennedy is no fan of the use of race in government decision making.

  • — Tobin Harshaw

    No comments: