Human Lie Detectors and Lunar Landscapes
by Kate Barry
A while back, I read an interesting article on human lie detectors. Scientists have known for years that physiological changes take place when a person lies, but this study looked at why some people are hard to fool and others tend to be gullible. The researchers found that there are people who seem to have an innate ability to subconsciously note the outward physiological changes in a person telling a whopper. Maybe it’s a slight dilation of the pupil or an instantaneous shift of the eyes or a change in body language. Something tips off people who are sensitive to catching such tell-tale signs. Of course, human lie detectors range from very very good to so gullible they will buy lakeside, lunar real estate. “Whadda ya mean, lunar means on the moon?”
While I certainly don’t claim to be in the very very good category of human lie detectors, I’m fairly decent at noting my internal warning meter when it beeps. Imam Feisal Rauf, from the first time I saw him speak, sent my meter into a beeping fit.
Nothing he says seems to line up properly with what he does. The whole idea of an Islamic Cordoba Cultural/Community/Mosque/Bridge/Park 51–actually located at Park 45–complete with a swimming pool, hardly seems like a venture someone of great sensitivity, as Imam Rauf states of himself, would ever consider locating well within the field of debris and ashes of where The World Trade Centers once stood. You don’t need an internal meter to grasp that. Heck, even people who now know they own lunar property get it. Of course, 29% of the population still think they own a nice lakeside lot in Arizona.
The more I listened to Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, the more uncomfortable I got with their message. After Rauf’s appearance on the Larry King Show where he told Soledad O’Brian, “This crisis could become much bigger than the Danish Cartoon crisis which resulted in attacks on Danish embassies in various parts of the Muslim world”, I gave up on trying to give him the benefit of doubt. Not even a complete difference in world view could explain away such a statement. He’s lived here since he was 17. He was educated here. Nah, he knew exactly what this center would mean to Americans and what it would mean to the Muslim world. He made a choice and by golly, he’s stuck by it, even if it means telling us that if the center isn’t built, the Muslim world will perceive it as an insult and might have a temper tantrum. Yes, he must build his bridge to sensitivity whether New Yorkers want to be cuddled or not…or somebody somewhere might be compelled to blow up something or someone.
And he’s a moderate Muslim? What exactly does that mean anyway? Throughout my travels about the information highway, I didn’t find a single guideline that defines what moderates believe. Do they have a handbook? How about a creed? Since all Muslims esteem the same texts, which part of these texts do moderates leave out? Which of conflicting verses do they choose since the Qu ‘ran states later verses abrogate the older one and the later ones are not very warm and fuzzy toward the disposition of infidels? Do they completely separate the religious aspects of Islam from the political/militaristic Sharia mandates? My meter tells me that threats of violence are found in the unabridged Islamic texts. Not very moderate of you, Imam.
After 9-11, President Bush asked Americans to be our best, to not turn our pain and anger on innocent people. America didn’t. There were instances, instances I and every other sane adult condemns, but there was not then, nor now, an open season on Muslims. America has proven she’s not Islamophobic, yet, that word keeps popping up from both the Imam and his wife, the talking heads, and the lakeside-lot owners. In fact, the DOJ dispels this idea by reporting crimes against Muslims have steadily fallen since 9-11 and they were, then and now, still fewer than religiously-motivated crimes against Jews and Christians.
Despite the lack of evidence of Islamophobia, the meme continues to fill the airwaves. The president admonished Americans to be tolerant. We have. We are, and it’s not working.
Tolerance never works. It’s a one-way street where one group, a minority, demands concessions or special rights from another group, the majority. Even when demands are met, the tolerated’s triumphant joy fizzles quickly. They don’t feel any better. They’re still miserable, angry and empty. They contributed nothing to the relationship other than the energy it took to work themselves into a rage. It’s a hollow victory. No one likes to be merely tolerated. Soon, they need another fix. The tolerant, who quickly tire of being hit up and blamed for everything wrong in the tolerated’s life, aren’t feeling too charitable either. They made concessions, often in a genuine desire to do the right thing, to help, and the mental toddlers just keep demanding more and more. Tolerance is a recipe for sure failure, a complete breakdown in the process of being an adult. Both sides have failed the test.
Respect is a two-way street where both parties have something to gain and something to lose. Respect is contingent on integrity, honor and mutual contributions. Yeah, it’s harder, but it works and everybody is happier.
Imam Rauf is working the wrong side of the fence. We get it. We recognize his right to build the center, but Muslims must also recognize our right to peacefully protest it. We’re not the problem in this kerfuffle. I realize the Muslim world blames America for all the evil everywhere, for screwing them in deals, and I’m sure there are instances where I might even agree with them that our government has acted less than honorably, but they might want to look first at their own leaders, who like nearly all people in power, are prone to bribery and talking out of both sides of their mouth. That’s as fixed in nature as lunar landscapes being located on the moon. And there’s taqiyya and kitman; the officially sanctioned lie to advance Islam. Face it, Mr. Clandestine Jihadist, your own leaders have sold you down the river when they saw an opportunity to use you to advance their own power. Still, no matter who or what kicked off the tantrum, Muslims are responsible for their behavior.
If Rauf and Ms. Khan want us to respect them as moderates and as the peaceful new face of Islam, then they need to outline to us exactly what that means, complete with definitions for words such as ‘moderate’, ‘terrorist’, and ‘innocent’, then live by it. Rauf’s role in the Sharia Index Project is going to be hard to overcome. By his own actions and his own conflicting statements, he has harmed his credibility, possibly irreparably.
If Rauf is in the least bit interested in redeeming himself, he can start by spending his speeches on his brethren who are prone to temper tantrums and explain to them how giving respect is required to get it. He might also explain about freedom of speech and how it is the only true way to have a dialogue and sometimes you might not like what’s said, but mature people get over it and move on. He might also point out that the American government does not endorse, enforce or grant special treatment to one group over another. The concept of equal justice is a worthy topic. He might also mention that Muslims living in America are free to practice their religion, but the U.S. will not accept Sharia and it shouldn’t. Ever. True moderate Muslims should be pleased to not have to worry about living under oppressive laws. And bad behavior will only make the chance of dialogue much harder, if not impossible. Perhaps he should mention that those of his brethren who cannot abide by those simple truths would be happier to remain where they are, but those who can truly separate religious worship from political and militaristic ideology are truly welcome as friends and neighbors of Americans. Temper tantrums will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Maybe he should point out that if Muslims immigrate to America, they should do so because they want to assimilate into American culture, which is diverse and honors its citizens’ roots. Be an American who happens to be Muslim. They’re valued citizens.
Actions, Imam Rauf, speak louder than words. Be the moderate you say you are. Separate religion from Sharia that cannot legally or otherwise usurp the Constitution, federal or state laws. Preach equal justice from every mosque in this country and in the Middle east. You have a choice. You can either be remembered as the imam who led Islam out of the 7th Century into enlightenment or you can be remembered as the man who didn’t lie well.
Americans’ inner meters are working well now and we’re all looking at you, Rauf. The responsibility is yours to make the right choice to stop the Cordoba House and turn your energy to true reform. Violence is the responsibility of the people who commit it and yours, if you continue to distort the issue and encourage violence by blaming America for feigned insults to Islamic people halfway around the world. Muslim behavior is not America’s responsibility. It’s not Great Britain’s. It’s not Italy’s. Nor Sweden’s, nor Denmark’s, nor any other country’s. It’s yours, Imam Rauf, and Islam’s responsibility. Make no mistake, we won’t be fooled again.