by Conor Friedersdorf
Andy McCarthy's latest asserts that "intolerance is not just part of al-Qaeda, it is part of Islam." It's a piece that gets right to the point:
Non-Muslims are barred from entering the cities of Mecca and Medina not merely barred from building synagogues or churches, but barred, period, because their infidel feet are deemed unfit to touch the ground. This is not an al-Qaeda principle. Nor is it an “Islamist” principle. It is Islam, pure and simple.
Of course, non-Mormons are banned from LDS temples, and non-Catholics aren't allowed to partake in the Eucharist. And I'm sure there are many more exclusionary religious practices engaged in by non-Muslims, but 9/11 9/11 9/11, so Mr. McCarthy holds Muslims to a higher standard, and waxes darkly about the intolerance of Islam.
The rest of his piece largely consists of the dubious conflation of true Islam with modern day Saudi Arabia, as if the globe and history aren't replete with very different incarnations of Islamic society, and cherry-picking passages from the Koran in order to assert that its least defensible words define the true nature of Islam.
One reason it's good that I don't work at National Review is that I'd be tempted to get a fake Koran made with Leviticus inserted into it, and provoke Mr. McCarthy into citing all sorts of Bible passages as evidence that the religion they're part of is inherently intolerant. (In case it isn't clear, I do not think Christianity is intolerant.) In the end, my mischievous antics probably wouldn't do much good, so I'm glad that among the magazine's many talented staffers is Reihan Salam, whose admirable capacity for respectful engagement often exceeds my own.