As I wrote about earlier, the new Iowa GOP platform includes their opposition to the imposition of Sharia law in America. The implication of including something that on the face of it, is an absurd impossibility shows that many on the far right somehow believe that this is a real possibility with a President who's middle name is Hussein and who spent a few years in an being educated in an Islamic madrassa, despite a complete absence of proof.
Including it in their platform is about as redundant as opposing sexual molestation of children or opposing the reintroduction of slavery but then any conspiracy on the right, no matter how far fetched never seems to go away.
It's an idea that has been floating around on the right for some time now. It's manifested in the opposition to the Muslim center being built, near, not at ground zero as most opponents suggest. The building of a mosque is also at the source of an election battle in Murfreesboro in Tennessee where one Republican candidate has described Islam as a cult, not a religion.
In Florida, a church has scheduled a Koran burning celebration while in Southern California opponents have come up with a new wrinkle. They urge protesters to bring dogs to a demonstration against a mosque because 'Muslims hate togs".
Over the weekend a mosque and educational center in the Dallas area was vandalized with offensive graffiti and fire, causing $20,000 in damage.
Imagine the outrage if the shoe was on the other foot and a church in a predominantly Muslim country was similarly vandalized or if a mosque decided to hold a 'a bible burning' ceremony.
To it's credit, the Bush administration did an excellent job in tamping down most anti-Muslim sentiment in the aftermath of 9/11. It seems that lesson has long been forgotten by the right.
The assumption among many on the right is that all Muslims are either Jihadists or potential Jihadists so offending any of or all Muslims is justified. The people doing the above will differentiate themselves from their fanatical Islamic counterparts by claiming that we don't fly jetliners into buildings or blow ourselves up to kill all those around them. We are civilized and they are not. The comparative levels of fanaticism. however, are far more difficult to separate absent actions of terrorism.
There is no doubt these anti-Islam protests and actions are getting far more publicity in Muslim countries. There is equally no doubt that this is giving Islamic militants more fuel for their hatred of all things Western. These actions will push moderates into the Jihadi camp.
Have we learned nothing from the past? The military and CIA in questioning prisoners in Iraq found that the atrocities at Abu Ghraib did more to help Al Qaeda's recruiting than any anything else. To quote Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does."