Up until the winter of 09, Muzzammil Hassan was known as the founder of Bridges TV, one of those ubiquitous ventures meant to normalize Islam in the American context. There was all the usual talk about promoting moderate Islam, even though Bridges TV broadcast “Current Issues” which focused on building bridges to such average Americans as David Duke and assorted other Neo-Nazis and shock collar wearing types. Then in a shocking turn of events, Muzzammil Hassan beheaded his director of programming and wife at the TV station after she had received an order of protection against him.
Now almost two years later, Hassan will finally get his day in court. And his defense will be that he was a battered spouse, who was abused by his diminutive wife, until after years of physical abuse, he snapped and was forced to kill her. And behead her. Never mind that his previous two wives each filed for divorce on the grounds of domestic abuse, and that the family of his second wife actually sacrificed two goats in thankfulness that she escaped the marriage alive. Or that the murder happened less than a week after Hassan was served with divorce papers. In his own mind, Hassan is still the victim. And while this murder is only one case, it provides a narrow window into a mindset in which the perpetrator is always the victim.
Hardly a terrorist plot against Americans is unraveled, before cries of Islamophobia go up. A visitor from another planet, hearing all the shouts of Islamophobia would assume that there were constant attacks on Muslims all across the United States. Except there are hardly any. In New York City there were eleven incidents, none of them fatal. Compare that to Egypt, a Muslim country with less than a third of America’s population, where numerous Christian Copts have been murdered in just the last several months. (And Egypt is one of the more “moderate” countries in the Muslim world, moderate because we spend billions of dollars a year to back a dictator and his secret police in order to keep it that way.) Every few months, we turn up a Muslim plot to mass murder Americans, and for all the effort and energy invested in searching for domestic extremists, we haven’t found any cells of Americans preparing to car bomb Muslims.
Then of course there’s Israel. After conquering the land and spending nearly a thousand years subjugating and persecuting the native Jewish population– the Arab ruling class realized that Jewish nationalism hadn’t perished after all. Not all the degrading laws or the abusive treatment had suppressed the Jewish desire to reclaim their own country. Which they began to do after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the end of Muslim supremacy over the region. Naturally the Arab Muslim world responded with all the tolerance and reasonableness you would expect from people who were so insecure about their sense of superiority that they needed to pass special laws forbidding synagogues and churches from being taller than mosques. There were riots, massacres and bombings. Then when the British left, seven Arab Muslim armies, backed by assorted militias and bandits tried to destroy Israel. After only managing to take half of Jerusalem, along with Judea, Samaria and Gaza– they tried it again nearly twenty years later, and lost them as well. And then they became the victims.
Here we come to the Muslim world’s definition of victim as someone who tries, but fails to kill you. Guantanamo Bay has a cargo load of “victims” whose victimization consists of being captured by the American soldiers whom they failed to kill. At home, their treatment of enemy prisoners consisted of a hole and a hand grenade in the best case scenario, and dismemberment and torture in the worst. But when they were forced to stand in the presence of infidel women and had interrogators berate them about their body odor, suddenly they became victims. And this point of equivalence would not even register with them. In their minds, the people they killed were non-Muslims or not “true Muslims” and therefore subhuman. If they had been able to empathize with their victims, they would not have done what they did. But as for themselves, they are members of a superior people who may not be mistreated this way.