Burch: Let's hire a fox to watch the hens

Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold’s next move, logically, would be to hire the KKK to teach his deputies how to deal with the “black problem.”

Arnold recently allowed the Strategic Engagement Group to provide “training” on “the dangers of Islam” for his employees and officers of the Murfreesboro, Smyrna and La Vergne police departments. SEG has been accused of “painting Muslims as violent believers” and greatly exaggerating the danger of “Shariah law” to Americans. The “training” seminars were unsurprisingly held at a church, the World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro. So much for separation of church and state.

WOC pastor Allen Jackson is a vocal opponent of Islam who was quoted by ABC News as saying, “We have a duty to investigate anyone under the banner of Islam.” That statement singles out millions of Americans for “special attention” and sounds suspiciously like what Hitler said about the Jews.

SEG vice president John Guandolo, who conducted the seminar, recently said of American mosques, “They do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.” So much for the Constitution, religious freedom and the right of American citizens to assemble peacefully.

It is disturbing and disheartening to think of Tennessee police officers going to a church to be indoctrinated into Islamophobia by evangelists of intolerance.

What does the SEG “teach”? One way to verify what such groups believe and teach is to visit their websites. Here’s what I found prominently displayed on SEG’s home page: “The Global Islamic Movement includes the fifty-seven member states of the Organisation (sic) of the Islamic Cooperation ... Islamic Jihadi organizations like al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Whoever wrote the sentence above knows little about the world outside American borders, since the proper English spelling of “civilization” replaces the “z” with an “s.” Hence, there should be a “sic” after “sic” (and perhaps a “sick” also).

The statement is false, as the “member states” oppose rather than agree with al-Qaeda, an organization they see as a threat to their own sovereignty and stability. If they agreed with al-Qaeda they would obviously be waging all-out war on Israel and the U.S.

The website goes on to describe the “unified” threat presented by a “global” Islamic movement that doesn’t really exist. Islamic extremists are relatively few in number and only loosely organized. And there is no evidence that Muslim countries like Morocco are actively trying to “take over the world” or force Americans to submit to Shariah law. Even if they were, they lack the air forces, navies and amphibious landing vehicles necessary to conquer Cuba, much less the United States. Nor is there any danger of Shariah becoming the law of our land, because of a little thing called “democracy.”

And of course it is patently unfair to paint more than a billion people with an absurdly broad brush, accusing them of being involved in some sort of cosmic plot. I know many Muslims personally who believe in compassion and good works, not armed jihad. Mohammed himself said that the most important jihad (“struggle”) is the one waged with oneself.

But how many Christians who damn Islam out of hand have ever taken a Koran in hand and studied its better teachings? Of course most ancient religious texts contain highly dubious ideas, including the Bible, which in a plethora of verses commands or condones racism, intolerance, slavery, sex slavery, infanticide, matricide, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

How would Christians feel, if they, their loved ones and their religion were judged by the worst Bible verses and the beliefs and actions of extremists like Hitler and Timothy McVeigh? Should Christians who continue to practice bigotry cast the first stone at another religion, before they attend to the gigantic beam of hypocrisy clouding their eyes and obscuring their vision?

If Christians want peace, they need to look squarely in the mirror, face reality, and realize that 9/11 was primarily the result of a half-century of terrible racial injustices inflicted on Palestinians and other Muslims by the governments of Israel, Great Britain and the United States. The way to achieve peace is to correct those injustices, not go on yet another religion-inspired witch hunt against the victims. If a Muslim here at home has committed a crime, by all means enforce the law of the land, but guilt by association and collective punishment are the methods of fascists, not the American Way.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices

59 Comments on this post:

By: Mike Burch on 2/17/12 at 5:23


I never said that every Muslim who blows himself up is protesting what happened to the Palestinians.

I said that, according to the men who plotted and carried out the 9-11 attacks themselves, their main motivations where the plight of the Palestinians and U.S. actions in the Middle East. On those two counts, it is hard to argue with the attackers.

Americans have been known to kill other people, then kill themselves. That's not just a "Muslim" thing. People sometimes kill other people and themselves out of despair. The actions of Israel and the U.S. in the Middle East have caused a lot of despair. The actions of U.S. allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have also caused a lot of despair. If our government was not aiding and abetting so many of the bad guys in the region, less of the anger and resulting violence would be aimed at us.

What I'm saying is that we ought to do the right things, and stop contributing to the horrors suffered by the people in the region. Then we are far less likely to be the targets.

By: Mike Burch on 2/17/12 at 5:30

Loyal Rebel,

Our problems with Iran didn't start 33 years ago. They started in 1951 when the CIA, led by Kermit Roosevelt, incited a coup to topple the democratically-elected government of Iran. Iran's president at that time was a doctor who was highly regarded and had been on the cover of TIME as man of the year, if I remember correctly.

He was replaced by the brutal Shah of Iran, a US puppet, who made the people's lives miserable.

So we started the mess in Iran, 61 years ago. Our mistakes led to the rise of Khomeini and the current regime. Then we started giving money and weapons to Saddam Hussein, who used them to wage war with Iran. The fighting led to around a million deaths, if I remember correctly.

So the people of Iran have damn good reasons to hate the US and a strong case for developing nukes to keep our government from trying to dominate them.

By: Mike Burch on 2/17/12 at 5:40


I never said Muslim nations are perfect. Some Muslim nations are more tolerant than others. Some are obviously nightmares of intolerance. However, as long as some Muslim nations are more peaceful than the U.S., it makes no sense to say that Islam is worse as a religion that Christianity, which is what most Christians seem to want to believe.

How many millions of non-Christians have Americans killed in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Iraq (somewhere between 500,000 to a million children died of hunger BEFORE the invasion of Iraq, due to US-imposed economic sanctions)?

No nation on earth is more bellicose or warlike than the "most Christian nation" on earth. Let's not look at our more primitive past, but at our recent past and present.

How can Christianity be "better" than Islam when a number of Muslim nations are more peaceful than the US?

By: yogiman on 2/17/12 at 11:14


It seems all religions are perfect. If you don't believe me, just ask them. Every religious group I have ever known has the attitude, "I'm right, y'all are wrong. Just come on to my church." They're all willing for you to come the their church but will refuse to come to yours.

So the question is: Which one is the right one? When God created this world, why did he allow so many different religions to come into it?

By: dargent7 on 2/18/12 at 4:50

Mike: I have to take issue...
Tim McVeigh blew up the OK Building. He watched it explode from across the street, then drove away.
Rudolph blew up abortion clinics with nails in pipe bombs, never himself.
The Uni-Bomber, Kazinski, blew shit up but never himself.
Americans tamper with Tylenol with poison, never takin' a heepin' helpin' themselves.
Americans send anthrax to US Senators via the US Mail, never ingest the stuff themselves.
Americans are chicken-shit when it comes to killing themselves along with everyone else.
The exception is the guy who stalks his ex-wife, girlfriend at work, kills everyone, then kills himself. Or the guy who is about to loose everything in a divorce and kills the kids , wife, and himself.
The 2 punks who did Columbine, killed 13, then both committed suicide. A pac.
Muslims blow themselves up to go see A'llah and get the 78 virgins.
Americans just kill themselves because they believe they'll evaporate into nothing and be gone forever. They obviously don't believe in an afterlife. Muslims believe in an afterlife, 100x better than their sand and flea infested one now, so want to get there asap.
It IS all about religion and ideology.

By: Loner on 2/18/12 at 8:51

It's HOLY WAR, Darge...the worst kind of war. Holy War brings out the suicidal aspects of war-fighting...the quick trip to paradise, the legacy of one's honor etc. The glory of martyrdom is an intoxicant. It spawns mass hysteria. Common sense, rational reasoning and logic are out the window.

Rick Santorum would be the perfect guy to lead us into the End Times...unlike some politicians, who claim religious affiliations for political purposes, Richard the Zion-Hearted, is a genuine believer.

As a Judeo-Christian Zionist Zealot, Richard the Zion-Hearted would willingly assume the position of vassal to the Israeli Prime Minister.....the pro-Israel lobby and the pro-Israel Super-PACS may decide to back the sanctimonious Santorum...if so, Obama is a 1-termer, IMO.

By: Rasputin72 on 2/18/12 at 9:48

I must have missed the point of the article. I thought the Sheriff was trying to get his people ready for a coming crime wave? He assumed the crime would be coming from the same places and citizens that produce 65% of the crime and therefore hired a "KKK" type outfit to teach his people how to deal with it.

From the comments I have read the Christians were offended and also criticized.

By: govskeptic on 2/18/12 at 4:25

Rasputin, you are right to wonder where this discussion has gone. Those most
offended were first the Press, then the Muslims, then those that think the
Christians are worse and more dangerous to the US than the Muslims. The
final group is still mad at Bush and War in General,lastly, those that dislike like all
faiths and it's discussion.. Add them all up and everyone is disturbed..

By: yogiman on 2/18/12 at 11:54


I don't claim to be a religious scholar in any shape, form, or fashion. I only know what I read about the different religions after a "little episode" I went through as a child that got me to thinking about it.

Basically, in all religions, churches or any other religious organizations, there is good people "in it" as well as well as people in it for the name only. And that includes the Muslim religion as well as the Christian religion.