Yesterday, I spoke about the Muslim community of Lodi, California, and their apparent greater concern about an FBI informer who had been among them than a couple of their fellows who had allegedly joined Al Qaeda. This caused a bit of a heated discussion in the comments, including one person who wanted to know if I was next going to call for internment camps or Holy Wars.
That was flagrantly stupid, but I’ll treat it seriously to make my point. No, I’m not going to call for either of those any time soon. Further, I’ll even point out that what they did in Lodi wasn’t illegal. It’s a principle of law that you are not obliged to report crimes or wrongdoings (except in very special cases, where certain people are called “mandatory reporters”). The Muslim community of Lodi was under no legal obligation to report the alleged terrorists among them, and did not.
But I look beyond the letter of the law. Indeed, society is more than laws. What these Muslims in Lodi did was, to my way of thinking, reprehensible. And there must be consequences for their choices.
The consequence, to me, is the forfeiting of the presumption of patriotism. They are losing the good will of their fellow Americans, who more and more believe that they can trust in the common bond that unites Americans to outweigh the sense of loyalty Muslims feel towards each other when those come in conflict — regardless of what their fellow Muslims might have done.
The greatest enemies the United States faces right now are Muslim extremists. This puts American Muslims (of the non-extremist bent) in a conflict — whose side will have their sympathies? Their fellow countrymen, or those who are dishonoring and besmirching their faith?
And every time another American Muslim chooses the latter, the more they lose that presumption of patriotism. And that is not any kind of penalty or discrimination, but a simple consequence of their choice.