THE ROVING EYE 'Dude, you have no Koran'
By Pepe Escobar
As Islamophobia in the United States reaches bonfire of the vanities
proportions - involving a composite of talk show hosts, Republican politicians,
Tea Party agitators and wacko preachers (see
Nobody expects the American Inquisition Asia Times Online, Sept 11,
2010) - concerned citizens across the world should note that the anti-mosque
hate festival this past Saturday in front of the proposed site of Cordoba
House, the Islamic community center a couple of blocks away from Ground Zero in
New York, totally fizzled out; according to ground witnesses, there were way
more reporters present than rabid Islamophobes.
But as a graphic illustration of Islamophobia defeated, nothing beats what
happened in Amarillo, Texas, the same day. David Grisham, the wacko director of
one Repent Amarillo organization, who had planned his own Koran-burning session
in support of
Gainesville, Florida, pastor and instant global celebrity Terry Jones, was
about to commit the act in front of around 200 people when, out of nowhere
... the unlikeliest of heroes; Jacob Isom, a 23-year-old, bespectacled local
skateboarder. Isom himself described what happened to the Amarillo-Globe News:
"I snuck up behind him and took his Koran, he said something about burning the
Koran, I said 'Dude you have no Koran,' and ran off." The righteous
skateboarder even had time to add to a startled Grisham, "Youíre just trying to
start holy wars," then handed the unburned Koran to a local Muslim leader.
Repent Amarillo is one of those typical wacko militia American groups,
referring to itself as the "Army of God" and with a promotional material
modeled on army recruiting pamphlets. Everyone is a target: gays, Muslims,
liberal Christians, environmentalists, breast cancer events that do not
highlight abortion, Halloween, "spring break events" and pornography shops.
Repent Amarillo even led a boycott against the city of Houston after it elected
Mayor Annise Parker - a lesbian. Their motto is, "We are the special forces of
spiritual warfare, we're looking for a few good warriors."
A lot of people at the would-be Koran-burning site in Amarillo put their hands
over a barbecue grill to prevent Grisham from lighting the fire. So this is not
only a story about a righteous dude acting like a model citizen. Itís in the
same spirit of another citizen observing the Hate Festival near Ground Zero,
holding a piece of carton with the words "Real Americans don't burn Korans". At
the center of this response is the respect for the constitution of the United
States - which ensures the inalienable right of anyone to freely practice the
religion of oneís choice.
Cairo, Kabul, Kashmir, Peshawar should read into this that the vast majority of
Americans won't be cowed by fear and hate no more, and won't succumb to a new,
politically engineered, religious crusade. (Radical) maneuvers by free thinkers
and righteous skateboard dudes are showing the way; no paramilitary Christian
fascist resists being reduced to ridicule. Now if only Americans could redirect
their outrage against the Pentagon drone war against Afghan civilians.