An episode of "South Park" last month (a clip is available here and the entire episode here) offered a true pearl of religious-persecution wisdom. The premise of the entire show, in which a rally for Hillary "Hildog" Clinton is disrupted by a dirty bomb that has been slipped inside her, is that Cartman is trying to stop a new Muslim student from carrying out his terrorist plot. Why does Cartman -- who in another episode this season convinced the school that Kyle, the fourth grade's lone Jew, planned 9/11 and in a previous season emulated Hitler -- suspect young Bahir wants to nuke South Park?
Because he is Muslim -- no other reason is needed.
In the Daily News today, I touched on a theme of this "South Park" episode. (It was already in the works, and was turned in long ago. I swear.) Increasingly, Muslim Americans are talking about "Islamophobia." After 9/11, they felt misunderstood. Now they say they are being targeted for discrimination and persecution. One of the people I interviewed, Hussam Ayloush of the SoCal chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, spoke at length about the "industry of hate" that fuels Islamophobia.
Here's a recent post on his blog that names some names. "Are you a professional failure?" Ayloush asks. "... No more worries. Your hardships are gone. I have the right solution for you. Just become a Muslim basher and all your financial and low self-esteem troubles will be gone."
Making Ayloush's list is Steven Emerson, whose reporting for The New Republic last summer enshrouded in controversy the selection of local Muslim Maher Hathout for a county humanitarian award. Coincidentally, on the same day the "South Park" episode aired, The New Republic posted online another Emerson piece criticizing a mainstream Muslim American organization -- Ayloush's CAIR.
CAIR has been accused repeatedly of having terrorists ties, and Emerson again makes the claim, while taking aim at a recent NY Times article, posted here at the International Herald Tribune, that he thought was a CAIR apologia.
Emerson, a self-styled terrorism expert, has, of course, been a controversial figure.