The War Party's Jihad in Oklahoma

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A small but passionate segment of the population is sick with worry over the incalculably small possibility that Muslims may someday force their daughters to wear burqas, yet indifferent to the fact that those same daughters can’t board a commercial flight without being virtually strip-searched or physically molested by a TSA functionary. Former Oklahoma state legislator Rex Duncan, recently elected District Attorney for Osage County, is the dutiful tribune of that myopic and misguided constituency.

Duncan is a polyester Pharisee, an embodiment of punitive populism. Like many contemporary “law and order” conservatives, Duncan holds forth at considerable length and with great passion about the evils of government power, except when it is exercised in its purest and most malignant form by way of the State’s apparatus of regimentation and destruction.

Duncan has consistently pressed to expand the reach and power of the domestic police state. His enthusiasm for the Warfare State was displayed a few years ago when he sponsored a measure creating a specialty state license plate memorializing the “Global War on Terrorism.”

Oklahoma ranks fourth among the states in the percentage of its male population behind bars, and leads the nation in imprisoning women. Each inmate costs Oklahoma taxpayers $22,000 a year. Reducing that population would do much to reduce the size, power, and expense of government. Yet as a state legislator, Duncan — perhaps in anticipation of his new career as a prosecutor — worked to expand the state’s prison-industrial complex.

In 2008, Duncan (who was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee) and like-minded colleagues submitted 73 bills either creating new felony offenses, or enhancing existing criminal offenses and their corresponding penalties. One amplification suggested by Duncan would have imposed the death penalty for repeat sex offenders.

Cheerfully anticipating a windfall for the “corrections industry,” Duncan suggested that the state government throw some money at the good people who build and operate “private” prisons. He also sought to exploit the supposed immigration “crisis” to expand the odious practice of property forfeiture.

During Oklahoma’s 2010 legislative session, Democratic Representative Mike Shelton proposed a measure to “crack down” on the sale of drug paraphernalia. To provide a tactile illustration of the supposed threat his legislation would address, Shelton bought a bagful of glass crack pipes at a local convenience store and attempted to hand them out to his colleagues. When approached by Shelton, Rep. Duncan refused even to touch such an accursed object.

“It’s drug paraphernalia,” Duncan sniffed, according to an eyewitness to the incident. “It’s a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in county jail just to have one in your possession.”

Duncan appears to believe that possession of a Koran should likewise be seen as a criminal offense, or at least evidence of criminal intent. There is an element of irony here, given that Duncan’s hyper-punitive and highly sectarian view of government authority isn’t all that different from what one would expect from a medieval Mullah.

Three years ago, the Oklahoma Governor’s Ethnic American Advisory Council attempted to give Duncan — and every other state legislator — a copy of the Koran embossed with the state seal as a gift commemorating the state’s centennial. Duncan could have politely accepted the gift (publication of which was paid for by private funds), perhaps burying it wherever he keeps his unopened wedding presents. But this would have meant foregoing an opportunity for a public display of self-enraptured sanctimony.

“I object to the use of the state Centennial Seal and the state Seal all in an effort to further their religion,” Duncan complained. He pointed out that he had gladly received a Centennial edition of the Bible presented to him by the Baptist General Convention in Oklahoma. “Mine is proudly on my desk on the Capitol and I don’t think I ever read a part of it that condones the killing of women and children in furtherance of God’s word,” Duncan commented, apparently ignorant of the moral implications of that observation regarding the murderous foreign policy he and like-minded Religious Rightists endorse without qualification.

Marjaneh Seirafi-Pour, chairwoman of the Advisory Council and a practicing Muslim, explained that handing out the Centennial-themed copies of the Koran was “a peaceful, thoughtful project [intended] to introduce ourselves to leaders.” It’s difficult to escape the impression that Duncan is offended not by anything Seirafi-Pour and her fellow Muslims have done, but rather by their simple existence — or, at very least, their perverse insistence on being treated as law-abiding individual citizens of Oklahoma, rather than part of an undifferentiated mass of menace.

Duncan’s most notable accomplishment as state legislator was his central role in composing Ballot Question 755, which would amend the state constitution to forbid courts from considering or using international law” or “considering or using Sharia Law.” Duncan and his colleagues grandly entitled the measure the “Save our State” amendment.

According to Duncan, Question 755 was a “preemptive strike” against an effort to impose Sharia Law. Professor Joseph Thai of the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law described it as “an answer in search of a problem.” However one characterizes the measure, it was approved by 70% of those who cast a ballot in Oklahoma’s mid-term election.

Two days later, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a complaint on behalf of Oklahoma resident Muneer Awad, seeking a restraining order against implementation of the amendment. Federal District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange granted a temporary restraining order, opining that the amendment amounts to a constitutionally impermissible burden on those who adhere to one particular religious tradition.

Awad, who directs CAIR’s Oklahoma branch, insists that the purpose of his lawsuit is to

“show our fellow Oklahomans that Muslims are their neighbors and that we are committed to upholding the U.S. Constitution and promoting the benefits of a pluralistic society.” Duncan maintains that such conciliatory talk is mere persiflage intended to give cover to the ongoing “hideous invasion” of the Sooner State by the Mohammedan Horde.

As is the case with several other states, Oklahoma has seen an increase in Muslim immigration in recent years, much of it composed of refugees from countries that have been on the receiving end of Washington’s armed benevolence. If he were sincerely concerned about stopping that “invasion” of Oklahoma Duncan would be agitating for an end to the military meddling that helps generate it.

Like many others who share his worldview, Rex Duncan eagerly supported George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, in which U.S. military personnel — most of whom were Christian, many of whom were Jews — were used to install Sharia Law at gunpoint. This is leading to the religious cleansing of Iraq’s Christian population, many of whom are part of congregations with roots going back to the apostolic era.

As Syrian Catholic Archbishop Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka of Baghdad pointed out in an October 15 address, Iraq is the land where Abraham was born, where many of the events chronicled in the Old Testament took place. Christians in that land have endured persecution and great periods of suffering — the “last being the American occupation.” Since the “liberation” of Iraq in 2003, hundreds of thousands of Christians have been killed, terrorized, or driven from their homes.

“The invasion of Iraq by America and its allies brought to Iraq in general, and especially to its Christians, destruction and ruin on all levels,” lamented the Archbishop. “Churches were blown up, bishops and priests and lay persons were massacred, many were the victims of aggression. Doctors and businessmen were kidnapped, others were threatened, storage places and homes were pillaged.”

“Seven years have passed and Christianity is still bleeding,” he continued. “Where is the world conscience? All the world remains a spectator before what is happening in Iraq, especially with regards to Christians…. We ask the question of the great powers: is it true what is said that there is a plan to empty the Middle East of Christians and that Iraq is one of the victims?”

This is authentic persecution — not the cartoonish fantasies that clutter the adolescent minds of comfortable, self-satisfied Babbitts like Rex Duncan. Oh, how such people are titillated by the fantasy of standing in the gap like Horatius at the bridge, gallantly defending hearth, home, and feminine virtue from savagely bearded heathens!

Luxuriating in their suburban mega-church madrassas, invincibly certain of their collective righteousness, they can often be heard chanting praises to the Regime’s military arm as it visits death and misery on innocent people on the other side of the globe — including people whose faith they supposedly share.

Duncan’s “Save our State” amendment wasn’t written to address a legitimate threat; it is a form of political pornography that will almost certainly find an audience elsewhere, where we can find people peddling even grimier versions of the same product. Among the purveyors of such prurient fare can be found the Rev. Elijah Abraham.

A native of Iraq who converted from Islam to Christianity and now runs an organization called Veterans Against Jihadism, Abraham supports aggressive war against Muslims abroad and suppression of the individual rights of Muslims domestically.

In a recent interview with The New American magazine, Rev. Abraham was asked: "How should Americans view the mosques that are springing up all over our country?"

"When you look at a mosque … please don’t look at it as you would look at a church or a synagogue or Buddhist temple,” he replied, since a mosque can also serve as “a base of political operations” and also “a storage place for weapons."

"Would you contend that most mosques in the United States are also serving as weapons repositories?" the interviewer asked Abraham, to which the Reverend offered an eager and emphatic affirmative reply:

"Sure! Now, are there any weapons right now if I go to the mosque down the street? Do they have them? Maybe, maybe not. But that does not mean they would not have them."

Apparently, American Muslims have the burden of proving that they are not secretly stockpiling weapons in anticipation of waging a war of extermination against the infidels. Just to be safe, preemptive action of some kind might be necessary. On that subject, Rev. Abraham endorses a course of action much more assertive than Rex Duncan’s legislative “preemptive strike”:

"The best example I could give you is from the battle for Fallujah in April 2004 when the Marines went into a mosque and killed everyone in the mosque. The liberal media and the Muslim community in the West cried out…. If those are honest worshipers, what are they doing with bazookas and other weapons?"

The answer to that question, which should be obvious to any honest observer, is this: Those people were exercising their God-given right to defend their homes, families, and places of worship against criminal aggression by a foreign army that occupied their country without legal or moral authority of any kind.

That right inheres in every human being. If we assume that individual Muslims are people, we have to recognize that each of them has the right to armed self-defense. It would be interesting to learn if Duncan recognizes the right of a Muslim to self-defense. His actions are highly suggestive of his likely answer.

Three years ago, when he rejected the gift of a Koran from fellow Oklahoma residents, Duncan unctuously proclaimed that “most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology.” One axiom of the ideology to which he and those of his ilk subscribe is that no Muslim — of any age or station in life — can truly be considered “innocent.” You do the math.

William Norman Grigg [send him mail] publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program.

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