Hate Crimes — Real and Mostly Imagined

Every now and then a story comes along that has you checking the calendar to make sure it’s not April Fools Day.  You say to yourself, “This just can’t be right.  It’s got to be a joke.”  Except, it isn’t.

Such a story popped up in the news recently.  This is how the Washington Post covered it:

BERKELEY, Ill. — Safoorah Khan had taught middle school             math for only nine months in this tiny Chicago suburb when she made an unusual request. She wanted three weeks off for a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The school district, faced with losing its only math lab instructor during the critical end-of-semester marking period, said no. Khan, a devout Muslim, resigned and made the trip anyway.

That was in 2008.  So you might think that’s how the story ends.  A teacher asks for time off right in the middle of the school year; school officials says no; she quits.   Think again.  Here’s what has now happened, as the Washington Post reports:

Justice Department lawyers examined the same set of facts and reached a different conclusion: that the school district’s decision amounted to outright discrimination against Khan. They filed an unusual lawsuit, accusing the district of violating her civil rights by forcing her to choose between her job and her faith.

Never mind that Ms. Khan’s religion allows her to make the pilgrimage any time in her entire life.  And since she’s only 29 years old, odds are she probably would have plenty of time to go, when it wouldn’t interfere with her job.

But, as the Washington Post reports, “she longed to make the hajj[pilgrimage], one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, which Muslims are obligated to do once.”

The next time the hajj falls on her summer break is nine years down the road.  Too long a wait for Ms. Khan.  Her lawyer told the Post, “This was the first year she was financially able to do it. It’s her religious belief that a Muslim must go for hajj quickly … that it’s a sin to delay.”

But Michael Esposito, the town’s former mayor, said,  “The school district just wanted a teacher in the room for those three weeks. They didn’t care if she was a Martian, a Muslim or a Catholic. How come we bow down to certain religious groups? Why don’t we go out of our way for the Baptists or the Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

Perhaps because they’re not special and Muslims are – at least as far as the Obama Administration is concerned.  Anti-Muslim hate is “the civil rights issue of our time,” according to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

In fact, it apparently is such a big problem that just a few weeks after the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on radicalization in the Muslim community in America, Senator Dick Durbin, a liberal Democrat from Ms. Kahn’s home state of Illinois,  announced that he will hold a hearing in the Senate – but not on the problem of radicalization. Durbin’s hearings will be about anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States.

So just how serious a problem is anti-Muslim bigotry?  One incident of hate is one too many, of course, but William Bennett and Seth Leibsohn – the authors of the The Fight of Our Lives:  Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth, and Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam, provide us with some interesting statistics:

It turns out that 8.4 percent of religious hate crimes in America were anti Muslim in 2009, the most recent year on record.  That same year nearly 72 percent of religious hate crimes in this country were anti-Jewish.  That translates to 107 hate crimes against Muslims in all of 2009; 931 against Jews.

“Of course each and every hate crime is horrific, and we wish there were zero hate crimes in America,” Bennett and Seibsohn write, “but the larger point is important for context. If a radio host or some cable commentator or U.S. senator said, ‘The United States discriminates against Jews’ or ‘Jews have a particularly hard time in the United States’ or, ‘There is a lot of anti-Jewish bigotry in America,’ it would simply not comport with most people’s — or most Jewish Americans’ — understandings of 21st century America. And yet, we accept at face value the storyline of wholesale anti-Muslim bigotry in America.”

Ms. Khan’s case is working its way through federal court in Chicago.  There won’t be a decision by April first of this year.  But maybe by April Fools Day 2012.  Except there’s nothing funny about our President’s pandering to Muslims – especially when there is no evidence that they are being targeted as a group for hate crimes.

As for the children who would have to endure a substitute teacher for three weeks while Ms. Khan was away in Mecca. As they say on the playground:  tough noogies for you, kid.

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  • mla style

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  • http://estuarypublications.com Darryl Mockridge

    I like that “Every now and then…”
    That’s at once both hilarious and extraordinarily kind of you.
    (I snorted like Snerd for five minutes.)
    Every now and then I put on a tie and go off to work.
    darryl mockridge

  • Pingback: Hate Crimes — Real and Mostly Imagined | changeicanbelievein.org()

  • The Z Man

    I’m waiting for this Administration to support conscious rights (for health workers, re: abortion, other health issues) with the same passion that the Administration pursue anti Islamic charges. There has been an (old) case of a nurse who was forced (for fear that the nurse would lose her job) to assist in an abortion, even though the nurse was a religious and abortion is against the nurse’s faith. I’m still waiting.

  • Brendan Horn

    Eric Holder is actually stupider than I thought if he thinks that Anti-Muslim hate is the civil rights issue of our time. It is known that on one day around three thousand Americans were murdered by people who considered themselves Muslim. Those radical Muslims would have gladly told anyone that they were motivated by their religion to commit those murders. I think preventing another such murderous attack is a more pressing issue than worrying about someone who was denied a vacation.
    In my memory, I am not aware of a single Muslim who has been murdered for his religion in America. I am not even aware of one case where a Muslim was physically abused for being a Muslim in this country. People have complained about the pastor who burnt some paper with words on it. This is considered one example of Anti-Muslim bigotry in America and has gotten quite a bit of press. Yet the senseless murderous response to this book burning seems like an afterthought to people like Karzai and Obama and the mainstream media. Compare the burning of a book to the decapitation of innocent people. People who are willing to commit murder over a book are people who are desperately searching for a justification to satisfy murderous impulses. The fact that these murderers satisfied their murderous impulses by murdering four people from Nepal who obviously had no connection to the book burning proves that these people simply wanted to commit murder and were glad they were given an excuse to commit murder. Preventing such people from committing murder is the real human rights issue of our time.
    A message to Eric Holder: preventing a future terrorist attack should be considered a more pressing issue of this time than preventing legitimate denials of vacations.

    • http://MSN BillH

      That killing of 3000 people, which was motivated on religious grounds, qualifies as a major hate crime.
      So Eric the Red is interested in some hate crimes, but not other hate crimes. As retained counsel of record for Al Qaeda when he worked for Covington & Burling, he should have recused himself from the post of Attorney General, however that would have required a level of ethics that Eric is completely unfamiliar with. With his record of working corruption on behalf of common criminals (Mark Rich) and revolutionaries (Puerto Rican terrorists), a thinking person might even question Eric’s qualifications for any position of responsibility with the government.

  • KrisL

    What I find disturbing is that some of the people who disagree with Mr. Goldberg on this site are also saying nasty things about Jews. So these people think it’s terrible to disparage people of some religions and/or races but not others? This seems wrong and hypocritical.

    • Cameron D. MacKay

      The reasons that the Left is comfortable saying nasty things about Jews are simple:
      1. The Arabs have more votes in America than do the Jewish community;
      2. The Jewish community will not strike back at them with physical violence, therefore it takes no courage to be Anti-Semetic;
      3. Socialism has had a long history of Anti-Semitism (ref. Joe Stalin)
      4. They sterotype “Jews” as being rich capitalists exploiting the poor working class.
      5. They were taught that being against the state of Israel is the fashionable stance if you want to be part of the liberal elite.
      6. Their lord and master, “fluffy the teleprompter guy” sits in the WH and tells them to be against the State of Israel …. so they have no choice but to follow.

  • Berg

    If any one is looking for islamophobia in America she or he would be able to find it here, in this case.




  • socabill

    Wasn’t it Sandy Kofax who refused to pitch on the Sabbath? (he’s Jewish, BTW)

    Notwithstanding, I agree with the sentiments in your article, Bernie.

    • http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/ Bernard Goldberg

      pls tell me yr kidding. Sandy Koufax refused to pitch on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. That was between him and the Dodgers. The Dodgers could have said you have to pitch. And there would have been a showdown. The HUGE difference is that the federal government didn’t get involved in any way whatsoever.

  • Marshal Kagan


    You are being disingenious are you not. Quoting figures for 2009 when every sensible person knows the enviroment for muslims post the new york mosque (which is late 2010) has been difficult to say the least. Anti- semtism is a very minor issue these days. I don’t know why you insist on trying to elevate jewish issues where no problem exists.

    Quite frankly, your site is a magnet for frequent anti muslim hatred. Your contributors such as Ron Kean, Ken Besig Israel and CCNV continually sprout racist and anti Islam messages on your site. You seem very inconsistent on when you choose to stop bigotry. Your actions depends on which group the hate is directed against.

    It is your site and your prerogative. I guess, your site is directed more at sad, paronoid, hateful right wing jews (with a few gentiles thrown in for good measure).

    Go ahead and do what you do best my good friend.

    • Cameron D. MacKay

      I take umbrage with your suggestion that Goldberg’s “site is directed more at sad, paronoid,(I assume you mean “paranoid”), hateful right wing jews (with a few gentiles thrown in for good measure.

      Firstly, if you take the time to follow Goldberg his primary focus is on bias in the media which generally is an expose of liberal bias in the media. This does not prevent him from pointing out conservative bias in the media which he recently did in his discussion of the conservatives criticism of Obama’s policy in Libya.

      Secondly, Golbberg is a self proclaimed conservative but contrary to the Left Wing mantra, that does not axiomatically translate into racism. In fact, the Left’s continuous charge of racism is really getting quite boring and does much to dismantle their self professed claim of being “intellectual elites.”

      Thirdly, if you would read Goldberg’s articles you would come across this statement “If a radio host or some cable commentator or U.S. senator said, ‘The United States discriminates against Jews’ or ‘Jews have a particularly hard time in the United States’ or, ‘There is a lot of anti-Jewish bigotry in America,’ it would simply not comport with most people’s — or most Jewish Americans’ — understandings of 21st century America.” Anyone with the ability to read English and has a modicum of intelligence would recognize that Goldberg is making the following point. Even though statistically Jewish discrimination cases were larger than Muslim discrimination cases …. no body would believe or sympathize with a Jew who complained that they were more discriminated that Muslims. “It would simply not comport” because in fact, America has been very generous and tolerant of the Jewish people and they have had ample opportunity to partake in the American dream and indeed many of them have done very well. (including Bernie Goldberg I suspect) Hence your allegation against Goldberg of “racism” on his website does little to substantiate the myth of the “liberal intellectual elite” and does much to substantiate the claim that liberals are intellectually lazy.

    • Ron Kean

      Moslems flee Moslem countries by the droves. When they start fleeing the US, then I’ll believe they have a problem.

      I’m not racist. I’m Islamaphobic. I think a lot of them want to kill me and they don’t even know me.

      • Ben Mcgurd


        Thanks for confirming that you are prejudiced and paranoid. What I don’t understand is why you are so sensitive to anti-semitism. If you can dish out you should expect to receive. In other words, if you cannot take the heat get out of the kitchen! You are hardly a productive member of our society. Take a trip down to Palestine (i guess it is called Israel these days) and hopefully some moslem takes you on a first class non stop journey to deep below!!

        • Ron Kean

          Millions of them want to kill Americans one at a time or kill with weapons of mass destruction. Millions of them think America is the Great Satan. If you’re an American, it’s time to think hard about your outlook. If you’re an American, we’re on the same team.

          • Ben Mcgurd

            I am American but I have nothing in common with you. I am aware that some moslems of middle eastern origin are crazy but I will not say the average moslem from Indonesia, India senegal or Nigeria wants to kill me. What I hate is when America is being dragged into Israel’s fight. That causes too many American’s trouble. The actions of that state gets put on America’s door. That is a major problem for my country!

          • Ron Kean


            You say, ‘That causes too many American trouble.’ The correct English is, ‘…too much trouble for America.’

            You also say, ‘…gets put on America’s door.’ It should be ‘…gets put at America’s door.’

            I detect that your native language is something other than English. No problem there. I just wonder what country you come from and how long you’ve been in America.

          • Ben McGurd


            The ever shallow idiot!! I actually made numerous attempts to make edits after typing furiously initially. The edits were not taken as the system went in suspense mode. Though you like to think you are intelligent, you are not. You are really nothing but an Odious little insecure hateful racist jew. I am American born and raised with allegience just to AMERICA!! I am sure you cannot say the same Mr Hebrew!

          • Ron Kean


    • http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/ Bernard Goldberg


      The numbers are what they are. If you choose to ignore them, that’s your call. But you lose credibility in the process.

      • Claire Napolitano


        I don’t think you addressed the issue raised by Marshal. He is not saying the figures are inaccurate. He is saying the figures pre-date the period when anti Islam feelings were/ are at its height.

        • Paul Courtney

          Claire, I’d say why address a red herring? What “every sensible person knows” is that anti-muslim hate crimes spiked up after a certain sunny Tuesday morning in Sept., 2001and have probably remained steady at this “peak” level. Does Mr. Kagan have any data showing this late ’10 spike, or should I ask everyone who knows? AT THAT PEAK LEVEL, IT’S STILL ABOUT 10% OF ANTI-SEMITIC CRIMES, which some visitors to this site think are on the wane. Mr. Kagan himself says it’s a very minor issue, don’t the numbers tell us anti-muslim bigotry is even less of an issue? Bernie’s point is not the hate-crimes against jews, it’s the fact that these crimes appear to be small potatoes to Eric Holder, yet a much smaller number of hate-crimes against muslims indicates the need for a justice dep’t crusade (oops, can’t say that), uh, war on anti-muslim bigotry. I first heard these numbers reported on Imus in the Morning, and did not get the impression that Imus was turning this into a jewish issue. I don’t recall any reporting late last year of a spike in anti-muslim hate crimes, and the only “everyone” who sensed an uptick was Katie Couric, with her hilarious Cosby show idea. And soon, she’ll have plenty of time to develop it.

      • Bernie Goldberg

        Ben McGurd

        This is a forum for civil discussion. Feel free to disagree with what I say … or with whay the people who leave comments say. But take your nasty anti-Semitism someplace else. I won’t ban you yet, but learn to be decent or you’re out.

        • Paul Courtney

          Mr. McGurd, looks like taking more time to edit may not help the underlying problem.

  • Clarence De Barrows

    We discourse, on and on, regarding these affronts to our way of life and our Constitution, but we seem powerless to effectively address the issues that present. It would appear the corruption is so prevalent in all departments of our government that the only recourse is, to paraphrase a Founder, for a little “fertilizer” to be spread at the “tree of liberty”.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    I thought the matter of religious exemptions had already been settled by the Supreme Court in Employment Division v. Smith, aka the “peyote” case. If not, then I want some time off to go to Graceland.

  • http://www.bigbureaucracy.com/ Ellie Velinska

    Was Ms. Khan planning on working during Ramadan? Should her classes be scheduled before sun-rise or after sun-down during that month?

  • Jean Pearson

    If Senator Durbiin is holding hearings on anti-Muslin bigotry which isn’t he including anti-Semitic bigotry, anti-Christian bigotry, etc.? If bigotry of any kind is unacceptable, why are we only focused on this? It seems anti-Christian and anti-Semitic bigotry are not seen as an issue in this country or is it just that it’s become more palatable?

  • EddieD_Boston

    Wow. Does any normal person believe this is discrimination? It wasn’t like she was taking time off to have a baby, something she has no ability to postpone.

    That’s why it was so refreshing to hear Donald Trump on O’Reilly last night. Somehow someway this foolishness has got to stop and, if he’s president, Trump won’t care who’s feathers he ruffles.

  • begbie

    This may be another case for the Supreme Court. Let’s get this out of the way sooner rather than later, because Obama may see to it that we replace a constitutional judge with a liberal one if one of them croaks or quits. The implications for employers such as myself is very scary indeed.

    And what does the school do in the interim? Do they hire another qualified teacher or put this particular course in a holding pattern with a less qualified instructor? School systems can’t afford delays like this.

    • Ron Kean

      There is an MD in the military who refused to follow orders on the grounds that it wasn’t proven that Obama is a natural born citizen so the order may not be legal. The MD has been court marshalled but his lawyers are trying to bring it to the Supreme Court. The lawyers want Sotomayer and Kagan to sit out the decision because their appointments would be in jeopardy if Obama wasn’t qualified.

      It’s a long shot but there may be hope.

  • Bruce A.

    Common Sense tells me that if Eric Holder had bothered to check the Fed. Govts employee policy on time off for religious observinces which do not fall on Fed. Holidays there may have been a diff. answer.
    In my case when I was employed as a civil servant I was told if I needed time off for a holidey etc. that I was to use any built up vacation time or if that was not avail. I would not be paid for the time off.
    This applied to everyone. No problem, no lawsuit, no headache. Of course that was over 20 years ago when we had more common sense in our lives.

  • Ron Kean

    There is sworn testimony on the record by one former Department Of Justice employee and one current employee that Holder’s people will not prosecute minorities for alleged civil rights violations against whites but will vigorously pursue legal action against whites who allegedly violate rights of a minority person.

    That’s different than one person calling another a ‘racist’ on a TV show, the radio, in print or on a blog. It is clear evidence that Holder’s actions are racist.

  • Cameron D. MacKay

    Mr. Goldberg:
    Your informative article would appear to raise some fundamental questions namely:
    1. How valid is this pandering to multi-culturalism?
    2. In the information age, with all its diverse media outlets, can political parties still play the old game of attending the synagogue on Saturday to express strong sympathy for the State of Israel, attending the Southern Baptist Church on Sunday to confirm their Christian heritage, and on Monday attend a Mosque to express their support for the Palestian’s cause?
    3. Should legal tools, such as Human Rights Commissions, be agents to promote particular cultural religious values or should they be restricted in scope to protecting clearly established “rights” such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, etc.?
    Re: #1 In Canada we have for years had the MSM and the political elite promoting multiculturalism to the point that Cities like Toronto have become a collection of cultural ghetto’s almost completely alienated from the National ethos. There appears to be a growing sentiment that “multiculturalism” is a failed experiment. There appears to be a growing recognition that multiculturalism is simply a façade behind which one finds the old special interest politics in its worst form.
    Re: #2 I have my doubts as to whether politicians can successfully pander to one group on one occasion and thereafter to espouse a completely opposing position to pander to another group. With the ever expanding modes of communication (internet blogs, websites, twitter etc.) it seems their hypocrisy soon becomes the news. However, I would love to see an editorial on this question by yourself since your understanding of the media far exceeds mine.
    Re: #3 I am gravitating to the position that these Human Rights Lawsuits have to be limited in scope. A serious definition of “rights” has to be crafted. Freedom of speech, freedom of Assembly, freedom of religion have traditionally been defined as freedom from serious physical or psychological intimidation which prevented a person from expressing their thoughts, having a peaceful meeting, or worshiping in their church of choice. I doubt the validity of protecting what some call “positive rights” through these Human Rights lawsuits. Specifically, as a High Church Anglican (Episcopalian for the benefit of Americans) I find disrespectful remarks about the Monarchy as “shocking to my sensibilities.” However, I have my grave doubts as to whether such “injurious affection” should be actionable as being discriminatory to my religious beliefs. It seems to me they would simply be an expression of Republicanism.
    All of the foregoing would seem to indicate that the American melting pot idea has more validity than this multicultural theory. After all, I am Anglo Saxon by genealogy, Christian by religion, but after five generations in this country I am Canadian by nationality. I agree with the Canadian talk show commentator, Charles Adler. I am not English-Canadian, Scottish-Canadian, Christian-Canadian ….. I am Canadian. I have more in common with Charles Adler (who says he is Jewish by ancestry) than I do with my relatives in Scotland. I can’t hardly understand their “English.” The reason is simple: Adler and I grew up in the same country, were taught the same values, hold the same basic beliefs about how a Canadian society should operate even though he and I have different religions and come from different races. We are both Canadians — not Jewish-Canadian or Scottish-Canadian.

    In the case which you describe in your article, it strikes me that one of the fundamental cultural values of an American is that Americans live up to their business contracts. (I say this having had several experiences doing business with Americans.) It strikes me that this lady entered into an employment contract with the school. American culture expects people to honour the terms and conditions of their contract. There is no rights without a parallel duty is an underlying American value. Therefore it seems if she wants the benefits of American citizenship she should comply with the cultural values of that society and live up to the terms of her contract. End of case.

    Yours truly;
    Cameron D. MacKay B.A. LLB.

    • Ricky Marcello


      Your article makes sense. You come from a totally objective standpoint. However, Bernie is a hypocrite. A lot of people take time of work to observe jewish holidays (not all of which are national holidays). Most employers are sympathetic to this jewish religious ceremonies (and should be to adherents of other religions). These are elements of multi-culturalism. Wearing the jewish cap on one’s head is not american is it? But you will not see the jewish comentators extending the same courtesy to other religions. They simply believe life starts and ends with them. No wonder so many people cannot stand them!

      • Cameron D. MacKay

        I apologize for my delay in responding to your thoughtful comments. Although I agee with your implied observation that some people insist on pushing their non-Christian beliefs forward in countries which have an overwhelming Christian tradition, I do not read that into this particluar article by Goldberg. Goldberg states in part: ” If a radio host or some cable commentator or U.S. senator said, ‘The United States discriminates against Jews’ or ‘Jews have a particularly hard time in the United States’ or, ‘There is a lot of anti-Jewish bigotry in America,’ it would simply not comport with most people’s — or most Jewish Americans’ — understandings of 21st century America. From this I take Goldberg to be suggesting that although the # of discrimination cases against Jews was statistically higher than against Muslims in that particular year, it would not be credible for Jewish people to howl about discrimination in America. The reason it would not be credible is because on the whole Americans are very tolerant towards the Jewish community and they certainly have had ample opportunity to partake in the “American Dream” and many have done very well.

        Although perhaps I did not express myself very clearly I was attempting to make the following points.
        1. As a Canadian who probably understands the American psychic more than a French man or German person, I think historically Americans have clearly defined what it is to be an “American.”
        2. Unlike some of the self appointed “intellectual elite” (who probably have less formal education than I do) I see no reason why Americans should be apologizing or having some self inflicted guilt trip about their American values.
        3. This recent trend in America to be apologizing for both their role in history and their American values is the fertilizer which spawns this recent innovation in the American political psychic namely “multiculturalism.”
        4. Canada has tried multi-culturalism and it has been a failure. America should not be adopting a policy which has proven to be a failure.
        5. (I think this is an important point) When a country has a clear concept of its national values and does not apologize for them and insists that if you immigrate into that country you are expected to live by those values …… that society, in fact, usually has a greater toleration for diversity. This is because their core values are not under attack and therefore they can be generous when it comes to varying religious practices etc.
        6. In short I am, (as a Canadian) saying to Americans stop all this apologizing, dithering, and guilt trips about the fact you are a country with a Christian tradition which has adopted the principles and philosophy of the western liberal democratic tradition. When somebody produces a society and culture which is markedly superior to the American society, I’ll let you know. In the meantime stop all this multiculturalism and get back to what you do best … being Americans. You may not be perfect …. but I don’t see China or Russia as enviable alternatives.
        7. One last point …. would you please ask the Red Sox and Yankees to be a little more “tolerant” of the Blue Jays this year. Stop bullying us or we will be bringing a discrimination case.

        • Ricky Marcello


          I said your article is objective and makes sense. I did not say I agreed with every part of it. I could nenetheless follow your point of view. The thing with America is that it is an amalgamation of people from many different countries and cultures. There is increasingly becoming an American ideaology but what is that and what is its roots. Its roots would probably spawn from Europe, Asia, Africa and the wherever. America is multi-cultural. The predominant American language is English! English is the language that originates from a foreign land and a different continent. English was not spoken predominantly in this land 600 years ago!!

          America is a melting pot of different peoples with different cultures. Multi culturalism is part of what makes America America.

          • Cameron D. MacKay

            Ricky: I certainly accept your foregoing comments because America definitively is “an amalgamation of people from many different countries and cultures.” To deny the validity of that proposition would be to move from historical fact to fantasy. The key word is an “amalgamation”.
            However, I think it is also true (unlike Canada) that America adopted the “melting pot theory.” Early in its history, America defined some fundamental core beliefs which defined what it was “to be American.” I think this was part of what de Toqueville observed and wrote about in his famous book on America. This “melting pot theory” did not mean that America was a society which emerged from a single tribe – it meant that there were certain core values to which you were expected to ascribe to if you moved to America. Republicanism, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, democracy, and a whole host of other core values had to be adopted to “be an American.”
            Outside these “core values” there was remarkable latitude for diversity and many cultures introduced practices from their home land which took on an American flavor and became an integral part of the subsequent American landscape. However, just because the American melting pot incorporated a vast mix of different non -core values from other cultures — did not make it “multi-cultural.” All of these cultural practices from other countries inevitably became peculiarly American.
            This “melting pot approach” is markedly different from “multi-culturalism. “ If you look at Canada it was the joining of two more or less equally powerful cultures namely English and French. It became a joint venture in which they were two different “solitudes” with very different values, practices, and language. The “melting pot” theory could not be adopted for historical and political reasons. Therefore Canada started with “bi-culturalism” which presupposed the maintenance of both cultures and a rejection of the idea that they should melt into one. As different nationalities immigrated to Canada , this “bi-culturalism” evolved into “multi-culturalism”. The result was a vast variety of cultures co-existing with one another with almost little or no sense of common values. This diversity was celebrated as something truly distinctive from America but it produced a country in which no one knew or could agree on what it meant to be “a Canadian.” It resulted in large cities like Toronto becoming a collection of racial ghettos.
            My point is that Canadians are now recognizing that this “multi-culturalism” did not work. Therefore why should America try to go down the same road?

          • Ben Mcgurd


            What are the “core values” you talk about. If you examine it further these “core values” are “caucasian values” that not all native americans, blacks, asians or latinos want or aspire to nor should they be subjected to. Caucasian immigrants never bothered to learn the native american language or culture. They came with their own culture and their language! Others have and will continue to do the same.

          • Cameron D. MacKay

            Ben: Although I concede that originally the “core values” were caucasian values, I think that as America evolved and its demographics obviously came to include other cultures and races, these “caucasian values” also evolved with the input of these other cultures. I do not think it is fair to say that these “American values” are presently the sole possession and property of the caucasian segement of American society. It is much more complex than that. Not only were these American values the property and possession of Martin Luther King but the African American inherantly contributed to the evolution of those American values and continues to do so.
            The assumption that people can immigrate to America with no intention of adopting the fundamental American values because this is just white cultural imperialism always sells nicely in the Universities. Where the tire hits the road is when there is a clash of these values. e.g. Is America, which not only accepts the division between Church and State but also the idea of sexual equality going to accept Sharia Law? It is my suggestion that this is where this “cultural relativity” and “moral equivalency” moves from some sort of misconception of the principle of toleration into the hard world of reality in which common sense dictates that America is not going to adopt some sort of midieval world view.

          • Ben Mcgurd


            Your reference to sharia law is disingenious. The laws of the US (as you know) has roots in English law. English law in its most basic has its roots in the moral code found in the torah (the old testament). As you know, most American’s are not jewish!. The key though is that US laws are a mixture of commonwealth law that originates from England, laws passed by respective states and laws passed by federal legislative houses (both the US senate and house of reps). At the moment, Moslems account for a mere 2% percent of the population. We live in the era of representative government where our laws reflect the predominant views of the people through their legislative representatives. Sharia law cannot be a part of US laws unless its people want to pass laws that are consistent with that philosophy.

            In respect to America’s core values, yes some african american’s have signed on to the american dream to the extent that that means “every person should be free to realise their dream of success”. That is a universal value and not an American value. May be you should explain what your view of the American “core value” is? May be once that is established we can better understand what the other is actually talking about.

          • Cameron D. MacKay

            Ben: Possibly you could see if you can pick American core values out of the following:
            1. Democratic elections
            2. Sexual mutilatiion of females
            3. Separation of Church and State
            4. Stoning women who are alleged to have committed adultery
            5. Peaceful transition of power after defeat in an election
            6. Dictator killing thousands in an act of genocide if they oppose his governing
            I’m a bit confounded by your remark that reference to sharia law is disingenuous. The fact is that there have been numerous calls both in United States and Canada for the right to operate under sharia law as a parallel system to the legal systems we have in place. I suspect that you don’t want to take your cultural relativism to its logical conclusion because some sort of sophmoric relativism leaves you feeling comfortable.

            In reference to your last point, simply because other countries such as Canada also subscribe to a particular value does not detract from the fact that it is an American core value if it is deeply held by an overwhelming majority of the American public.

            The point that I am making which you are evading is simple. I am an Anglo Saxon, conservative, and probably considered “part of the establishment” having practiced law for 30 years. I am also a firm believer in a constitutional monarchy. If I chose to become an American citizen, would I be entitled to take the oath of allegiance to The Republic and then subsequently attempt to promote constitutional monarchism in the U.S. by any means including violence and intimidation. I think that Americans would have the right to insist that if I applied for citizenship in the United States I am obliged to accept their system of government which is republicanism. Given they are a free society, they would permit me to campaign for a constitutional monarchy and if I was able to topple the Democratic and Republican parties then hats off to me. However, Americans surely have the right to insist that I can’t have it both ways. I can’t apply for citizenship with full knowledge it is a republican system — take the oath of allegience to that system of government — then practice sedition under the guise of “multi-culturism. I think Americans are entitled to say to me … if you are going to try to institute constituional monarchy through unconstitutional means .. please stay north of the forty-ninth parallel and enjoy the winters.

          • Ben Mcgurd


            The obligation of any aspiring citizen of America is to obey its laws. There are ways in which laws can be changed in this country. An aspiring citizen can lobby for changes within the laws set by the system. If a person wants to be governed by Sharia law (as a parallel system), then that person would have to compete in the market place of ideas and get a significant proportion of the population to agree it is in fact a good thing from their perspective. It cannot be done by threats of violence or by bombing people up. As long as the agitation is done within the law and is passed in accordance with the law then it would work. Our laws reflect the predominant values of the majority of our people at any point in time.At the moment Sharia law is not a realistic proposition because American’s dont care for it. I am sure you are aware that people can decide to have recourse to arbitration to solve disputes. Moslems can agree by contract that sharia law will underpin contractual relations between parties and any dispute resolved by arbitration. Don’t forget that there are jewish systems that apply to disputes between fellow jews here in the US. Any dispute between such jews can be resolved in the beth din. The judgment delivered in the beth din would be binding under US law. That is a parallel legal system so to speak is it not??

            If your suggestion of Sharia law is meant to be more extensive as to cover non contractual aspects then that can only be achieved if the peoples representatives in the legislature passes such laws and it receives the president’s assent. That is how democracies work.

            I should remind you that the republican’s oppose abortion on moral grounds (rooted on the Old testament notion “though shall not kill”). The religious right don’t seem to accept the plain division between state and church. It is the same logic that influences the opposition to gay marriage. The US state is still in evolution. The state is becoming more removed from the church but the influences remain (in so far as the republican party is concerned) strong. Despite the strong influence of the church, very insignificant religions (from a numerical perspective) such as Judaism and Islam want some kind of adjudication of disputes to take into account those two religions. Judaism, by virtue of being a part of the US for longer, have been more successful with the Beth di. Islam is trying to have aspects of its systems similarly recognised. Also not that a significant number of African American’s are muslim. They have been in the states since the 1600s. They have every right to worship as they choose and to lobby for changes that they want (within the laws set by the state and in accordance with the US constitution).

            Your reference to American values are therefore very woolly in deed.

        • Cameron D. MacKay

          Thanks for the response which seems to fuse different dimensions of the “multi-cultural problem” so I will attempt to deal with them separately;
          American moral values … on which you suggest I am “wooly”. First, when you are talking about values of a nation, I think it is critical to be very restrictive in the scope of those matters which you consider to be “American moral values.” They have to be (a) fundamental beliefs about how the nation is to operate and (b) have an overwhelming consensus. Issues like the “abortion issue” and “gay marriage” in my opinion cannot properly be characterized as “American values.” I recognize that the religious right has a propensity to characterize them as such but I think that kind of thinking transforms “American values” into the “wooly” type of thinking you point out.
          Abortion” and “gay marriage”, as I understand the American political landscape, are issues on which there is anything but an overwhelming consensus in the American ethos. Additionally, even though the American social conservatives reference their religious values to buttress their argument this does not, it seems to me, translate their political position into “an American value.” To be an “American value” in the sense I am using the phrase, it has to transcend the Left-Right politics. Let me give you some examples from that esteemed American author Ben Mcgurd. First American value: “The obligation of any aspiring citizen of America is to obey its laws” Second American value: “If a person wants to be governed by Sharia law (as a parallel system), then that person would have to compete in the market place of ideas and get a significant proportion of the population to agree it is in fact a good thing from their perspective. It cannot be done by threats of violence or by bombing people up.” Third example of an American value “If …………… Sharia law is meant to be more extensive as to cover non contractual aspects then that can only be achieved if the people’s representatives in the legislature passes such laws and it receives the president’s assent. That is how democracies work. “
          I think you could get Michael Moore and Sarah Palin to both agree to the foregoing propositions. My point (on which I think we both agree) is that once a person starts claiming their particular political perspective represents “American values” when in fact there are many Americans who hold a different position and can lay down a reasonable rational defense of their position, that claim is flawed.
          The Principle of Toleration: As is the case in most western liberal democracies, America (discounting the bigots that exist everywhere) practices a large degree of toleration for competing ideas. As a general observation, America tolerates the expression of ideas which are opposed by an overwhelming percentage of the political ethos. This is part of their conception and practice of “liberty.” However, the question arises as to whether a society which espouses tolerance can tolerate concepts or positions which actively preaches intolerance? All I am saying is that those who espouse “toleration” cannot tolerate intolerance. Secondly, America holds certain values to be fundamental to the operation of their society. These values (albeit restricted in number) have served the American people very well and have produced a society which is envied throughout the world. Thirdly, if America is clear and unapologetic about what values are non-negotiable, there will in fact be more freedom not less freedom to express divergent political views. It is when a society is not clear and secure about their values that they start oppressing dissenting political opinions as an expression of that insecurity.. I sense (though I cannot prove it) that Americans of late are becoming apologetic about their fundamental values for which I, as a Canadian, see no need for them to be apologetic. This does not make them perfect, and it does not justify some of their more jingoistic claims … but in the broad brush of World history they seem to be batting well over the 250 mark.
          Finally, in Canada, for many years we failed to make a clear demarcation as to what values were non-negotiable and had to be accepted to be a member of the Canadian society. This misguided “toleration” served neither the immigrating people from a different culture nor the indigenous population very well. Recent immigrants failed to become part of the fabric of Canadian society and stayed within their communities and became ghettoized. They often ran into confrontation with the law as part of an inevitable culture clash. This Canadian idea of a “community of communities” simply did not work and created a sense of loss of the whole. The American “melting pot theory”, in my opinion, has proven more successful.

          • Ben McGurd


            Many thanks for your response. I believe the thread of your last response seems, to me, to suggest that America has not defined its core values (or principles) so to speak. Those things you say are” non-negotiable”. I disagree, America’s core principles are contained in its written Constitution. All laws passed by the state or federal legislature has to be consistent with the US constitution or it will be rendered null and void by the courts (Obama care legal dispute is a case in point). However, Society and its values changes with time. The US state therefore allows those “non-negotiable” values to be changed if approved by two thirds of the states of the US. My point being, the US is already fully set up and flexible enough to deal agitations from different interest groups. The New York mosque episode is a classic case in point for intolerance. The courts are there to ensure that mob rule (even if supported by most people at the time) is not allowed to trample on the rights of the minority. Similarly, whatever version of shariah that people may want to pass in the US will have to pass the tolerance test or it will be struck down by the supreme court (even if the federal legislature passes into law sharia consistent laws).

          • Cameron D. MacKay

            Ben: If you want to sit around and “negotiate” some compromised position on (a) sexual mutilation of females (b) putting to death alleged adulteresses by stoning and (c) genocide, go ahead but I think you’ll have the same luck as your president, “fluffly the teleprompter guy” when he offered to negotiate with Iran. My bet is that the vast percentage of Americans consider all of the foregoing to be “unamerican” and not subject to negotiation.

          • Terry Walbert

            Ben McGurd,

            You wrote, “Caucasian immigrants never bothered to learn the native american language or culture.”

            My reply: Sure they did. They learned English, which is the language of native Americans.

            “They came with their own culture and their language! Others have and will continue to do the same.”

            My Italian grandfather and my German great-great grandfather learned English as best they could. My Italian grandfather went back to Italy 50 years later and was back in the US in 6 months. He couldn’t deal with the old country.

        • Bernie Goldberg


          So you think that a Jewish person taking one day off for a religious holiday is the same as someone else wanting to take 3 weeks off for a religious pilgramage in the middle of the school year.?

          This is too dumb to spend time on.

          If you hate Jewish peoples in general, as I suspect you do, take your stupidity someplace else. You are not welcome here.

  • Tim Ned

    Bernie, I used to ponder if Holder’s decisions had deep and far reaching political intentions. After reading your article, and remembering the Rich pardon and the decision to try the gitmo prisoners in New York, I’m conceding that I was wrong. He’s a complete idiot!

    This is the first I’ve heard of this story and I believe it’s important. Thanks for writing about is as it appears the LSM is ignoring it.