Thursday, October 17, 2013

What's at the Root of Khurrum "I'm Not a Sock" Awan's Steynophobia?: He Doesn't Get the Joke

In an interview with CTV news in 2009, Khurrum Awan 'splains what's behind his gripe with Mark Steyn and Maclean's. According to Awan, the magazine published a whole bunch of articles which asserted, among other things:
  • that Muslims commonly engage in sex with minors and animals;
  • that Muslims drink the blood of non-believers;
  • that the CBC sit-com Little Mosque on the Prairie is part of a conspiracy to make Islam acceptable just like homosexuality in Western society.
Wow, that does sound really bad.

Let's deal with the charges one by one.

1) Sex with minors/animals: Islam's founder married a minor. Sorry, but that happens to be a fact, and it's the reason why some Muslims in our day think it's okay to "marry" pre-pubescent girls. Sorry, but that too is a fact. As for having sex with animals, that's the "Muslims are sheep-shaggers" canard, which I dealt with here.

2) Muslims drink infidel blood: In a Maclean's column about the Ceeb's Little Mosque on the Prairie, Mark Steyn writes:
In a debate at Trinity College, Dublin, recently, the aforementioned Omar Brooks said that Muhammad's message to non-believers was: "I come to slaughter all of you." He meant it, but come on, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to weep with laughter.

Warming to his theme, he said, "We are the Muslims. We drink the blood of the enemy, and we can face them anywhere."
In other words the line about the blood-drinking was something a Muslim said. Steyn was merely quoting him.

 3) The Little Mosque "conspiracy": Here are the opening paragraphs of the aforementioned column. You tell me if Steyn is alleging a real "conspiracy":
The other day I was giving a speech in Washington and, in the questions afterwards, the subject of Little Mosque on the Prairie came up. 
"Muslim is the new gay," I said. Which got a laugh. "That's off the record," I added. "I want a sporting chance of getting home alive." And I went on to explain that back in the nineties, sitcoms and movies began introducing gay characters who were the most likeable and got all the best lines, and that Muslims were likely to be the lucky beneficiaries of a similar dispensation. In both cases, the intent is the same: to make Islam, like homosexuality, something only uptight squares are uncool with.   
At the time I hadn't seen so much as a trailer for Little Mosque. But it seemed a reasonable enough assumption that nine times out of 10 the joke would be on the "irrational" prejudices and drearily provincial ignorance of the Saskatchewan hicks. And sure enough, if you settled down to watch the first episode, it opened up with some stringy stump-toothed redneck stumbling on a bunch of Muslims praying and racing for the telephone. "Is this the Terrorist Attack Hotline? You want me to hold?" 
Well, of course, the local Anglican vicar tries to explain that he's just rented the parish hall to a harmless group of local Mohammedans. "This is simply a pilot project," he says reassuringly. 
"Pilot?" gasps the redneck. "They're training pilots?" And off he goes to the talk-radio blowhard who is, naturally, a right-wing hatemonger.
Try as hard as I might, I can find no dire "conspiracy" being alleged here. But then, I "get"--as Mr. Awan apparently does not--that Steyn is doing what he always does; what he's famous for, really: riffing on a serious subject in a funny way.

Later on in the column, Steyn says he'd
love to see a really great Muslim sitcom. After all, one of the worst forms of discrimination is to exclude someone from the joke. Gags are one of the great pillars of a common culture, which is why bicultural societies tend toward the humourless: see Belgium. (Before you call in a hate crime to the Council on Belgo-Canadian Relations, I should point out I'm semi-Flemish.)
Semi-Flemish and totally hilarious!

Too bad Mr. Awan (like that old sourpuss, the Aytollah Khomeini) seems to have been born sans a funny bone.

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