Cathy Young on Islam, Free Speech, and Democracy
The story that flew around the blogosphere last week was guaranteed to cause an uproar: A Muslim assaults an atheist for mocking Mohammed, and a Muslim judge dismisses the charges and berates the victim—and it all happens here in America. Suddenly, warnings about the threat of Sharia law on our shores got a strong boost.
In reality, writes Cathy Young, there was no "Sharia court," and the judge is not a Muslim. But, however egregious the misreporting of the story and the vilification of the judge—Cumberland Country, Pennsylvania magistrate Mark W. Martin—the actual facts of the story are troubling. Judge Martin's intent may have been entirely benign, but his handling of the case sends a bad message not only about freedom of speech, but about the place of Islam in American culture.