Most of the vitriol that has been generated by the outraged left has been heeped on Rep. Rex Duncan, who was one of the first to decline the offer. He has been accused, unjustly, of holding a press conference to make his decision known. As I wrote below, this didn't happen. In the face of conclusive evidence that it didn't happen, the new spin is that he copied the media on the e-mail in which he declined the Koran. Only problem is, he didn't do that, either!
Rep. Duncan was kind enough to forward the e-mail he sent to the Governor's Islamic committee, declining their offer. The exact content of the message follows:
>Please remove my name from the list of legislators receiving a
>complimentary "Oklahoma Centennial Quran."
>Please encourage your fellow Oklahoma Muslims to speak out and
>condemn acts of violence committed in the name of Muhammad and the
>Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women
and children in the name of ideology.
>Representative Rex Duncan
Most of the critics of Rep. Duncan have been only been quoting the line about "killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology." This sentence, without the sentence that precedes it, seems rightfully peculiar. Parsing the message is a tried and true rhetorical trick.
Are the critics claiming that Duncan is wrong when he intimates that acts of violence are committed in the name of Muhammad and Islam? Only a fool would suggest this isn't happening in the world. Do the critics claim that "Oklahoma Muslims" have been virtually silent with regard to what is happening and that a frightening number of American Muslims support terrorism in the defense of the faith? Studies have proven this is the case.
Did Rep. Duncan "refuse" the Koran, or simply "decline" the offer. There is a difference. His tone is obviously polite and diplomatic. The reason he sent the e-mail in the first place is that the committee asked the legislators to let them know if they were going to decline the gift. Duncan did so.
Politely doing as he was asked was characterized in a press conference today as "hateful words."
In reporting the press event, the Tulsa World also purposely parsed Duncan's message, taking his remarks out of context to make him look bad. The World writes:
Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, refused a gift of Islam's holy book earlier this week, saying, "Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology." Other lawmakers joined him in refusing the gift, offered by the Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council as part of the state's centennial celebration.
Go back and read Rep. Duncan's message. Is he "refusing" or politely "declining?"
The World further reports:
"Today, I'm an American Muslim, speaking for our brothers," said David
Bernstein, executive director of the Jewish Federation.
"Hateful words inevitably lead to hateful actions," he said.
Where are the hateful words? Millions of Americans, including me, share Duncan's frustration that "peace loving Muslims" are not openly and frequently condemning the radicals of their faith. Are we never to put our frustrations, no matter how politely constructed, into words?
The other troubling bit of media bias that is rampant in the hyperbolic coverage of this story is the fact that nobody reports that Rep. Duncan is anything more than a elected member of the legislature. What has never been reported since this broke is Duncan's military service.
Here's what is written in Rep. Duncan's on-line profile at the State House web site:
Lieutenant Colonel, OK Army National Guard. Rex has served 28 years in the
Guard, Reserves and active duty.
He volunteered for active duty following 9/11 and served 16 months as a
Special Forces officer with the Special Operations Command-Central. His duty assignments included Middle East and Horn of Africa.
He currently serves as Battalion Commander of 2/189th Regiment, Regional
Training Institute in Oklahoma City.Awards and decorations include: Special
Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault, Pathfinder and
EIB badges and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
Surely, Rex Duncan knows better than any of those who have criticized him as bigoted, what has been done in the name of Islam. After all, the man has served his country bravely in the Middle East. How many of the critics have done the same?
Even if you think this biases his worldview, you would surely have to agree that his service is at the very least a mitigating factor that the readers of the newspaper and the online forums who know little or nothing about Duncan's past, have a right to know.
The feeding frenzy surrounding this manufactured event is predictable. Those that see the rise of Islamo-Fascism as the greatest danger facing the West today have grown accustomed to the tactics of the anti-war types and their allies in the liberal denominations and faiths.
We'll just keep telling the truth and hope enough of it seeps out to make a difference.