This year, things are different. I found a full-time job, a way to stay in New York, and more friends. This year, I looked forward to Eid like I did when I was a child. I didn’t slaughter a goat in my nonexistent back yard, but I made my parents send me photos of the goat. And I did find a halal butcher (Yelp to the rescue) and called him.
“I need two legs of lamb.”
“Sorry miss, we don’t serve meat to people we don’t know,” he said.
Was this guy for real?
“I need them for Eid. My name is Zainab.”
I leveraged my Muslim capital. He paused.
“When do you need it?”
Now, to be clear, I think business owners should be able to serve whoever they want to, just as customers should be free to avoid businesses they view as unfairly discriminatory. But imagine this same scenario where I call up a baker and say "I need a wedding cake," and they respond "we don’t bake cakes for people we don’t know." I then respond, "I need it for a wedding. I am a Christian who believes that marriage is between one man and one woman," and they respond, "When do you need it?"
If anyone in a liberal city or state got wind of such a thing happening, that baker would be immediately dragooned before the local human rights commission, the state attorney general would take up a crusade, and/or the state labor commission would press charges on the grounds that doing this is discriminatory under public accomodation laws. Heck, if business owners merely have opinions about gay marriage, regardless of whether their business is discriminatory in who it hires or serves, this happens:
The Denver Council’s Business Development Committee has stalled a seven-year deal with Chick-fil-A because CEO Dan Cathy spoke out against gay marriage back in 2012. Cathy, after being flogged for this misconduct, backed off , saying he regretted getting involved. But that won’t do. There are no prisoners in this culture war.
And yet, Muslims are somehow completely immune from being targeted in this culture war even though public accomodation laws demanding you serve people regardless of race, creed, sex, and sexual orientation are clearly being violated. This is not a hypothetical. In the last year, there have been ongoing legal sanctions against bakers in Oregon and Colorado for refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings. In both cases, the bakers weren't even broadly discriminatory: They're happy to serve gay customers, they just don't want to participate in an event of religious significance that violates their beliefs.
At the same time, earlier this year, comedian Steven Crowder got Muslim bakeries on film refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings:
Now I have been covering issues of religious freedom and business owners extensively. Maybe there have been a few cases under the radar, but I haven't heard of a single case of local or state authorities going after Muslim business owners for discrimination. If this has has happened, it certainly hasn't become a national news story the way that nearly every Christian baker, florist, or wedding phtographer that objects to participating in gay weddings has -- to say nothing about how the media went out of its way to seek out and demonize the one rural pizza parlor that wouldn't cater gay weddings for the express purpose of demonizing Indiana's legislature for passing basically the same religious freedom law nearly the entire Democratic party embraced in the '90s.
A prominent Pakistani-born women's rights activist is asking presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, to pledge not to accept donations from foreign nations that oppress women. Raheel Raza, the Canadian journalist behind the documentary film Honor Diaries, is requesting all the presidential candidates, from both parties and both "men and women," to sign her pledge.
The tragic slaying of three Muslim college students in North Carolina is dominating the headlines today. According to his Facebook page, the killer was a committed atheist and a political liberal. I think it's very rarely helpful or fair to connect political beliefs to the acts of possibly deranged or mentally ill individuals, and thankfully some of the smarter liberal commentators such as Steve Benen agree with me on this point.
The website Vox.com appears to still be thriving, despite my best efforts to warn people off of their willfully ignorant "explanatory journalism." As I have previously observed, we're on the tail end of a media "golden age for liberals where, to paraphrase Kipling, all the young turks were paid for their writing, and none of them paid for their sins."
The young state of Kosovo—with an Albanian majority of more than 90 percent, of whom 80 percent are Muslim—declared its independence in 2008, but now faces a “risk from extremist religious currents, which requires . . . counter-measures at a strategic level.” Further, Kosovar Albanians have an agenda for a return of their people and culture to Europe, not an orientation toward the Middle East.
Secretary of State John Kerry will host "an Iftar dinner for Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni," according to a copy of his schedule released by the State Department. The dinner will also be attended by "Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat."
Muslim Americans in Michigan, including a local newspaper editor, will be rallying Friday in Dearborn to protest the YouTube film, "Innocence of Muslims" and advocate for blasphemy laws. Here's an image of a poster advertising the rally:
While most of the informed Western public is aghast at the economic and political chaos that appears to be overtaking the government in Athens, southeast Europe has seen aggravated Islamist turmoil in the Balkan Muslim-majority lands and minority communities on and near Greece’s borders.
When Army Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, accused of plotting planning a deadly bombing and shooting attack on soldiers at Fort Hood, made his first appearance in court in Waco, Texas, today, he yelled the name of accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan.
Hasan is facing the death penalty for allegedly killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 in an assault on Fort Hood in November 2009.
Illinois senator Dick Durbin opened his Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing this morning on civil rights for Muslims by quoting George Washington. "In this land of equal liberty, it is our boast that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws," Durbin said, making it clear that this is the principle he's aiming to uphold today, as he tries to tackle concerns about how Muslim Americans are treated in this country. But his main focus was placed on rhetoric, not civil rights abuses, toward Muslims.