The staggering ignorance of Sally Kohn

We’ve been talking this week about Sally Kohn, a grassroots community organizer turned CNN commentator who, as we’ve seen, could use a little less ideology and a little more historical perspective – plus (not to be too cruel about it) the kind of general knowledge that you need to get at least one or two $100 questions right on Jeopardy.

sally2
Sally Kohn

Yesterday we mentioned an article Kohn recently wrote after her first-ever visit to the Netherlands. As we noted, she interviewed Tofik Dibi, whom she identified as “one of the country’s leading Muslim political figures.” She quoted Dibi as telling her that Dutch tolerance is a myth, a lie, an illusion, and that he spends every day in the Netherlands feeling as if he’s the object of suspicion just because of his religion.

As it turns out, Kohn left out a few tiny details about Dibi. For one thing, he’s apparently a Muslim only by heritage. He wasn’t brought up in a religious home. His parents divorced when he was a child. He attended a Catholic school, not a madrass. As a young man, he joined the Green Party, which gave him such a great welcome that, within a very short time, his name was placed near the very top of its list of parliamentary candidates, essentially guaranteeing his election. In 2007, at age 26, he entered parliament, where he remained until 2012.

Tofik-Dibi
Dibi in parliament

During those years in parliament, Dibi was considered a major Dutch politician – and a major leader of the Dutch Muslim community. Last year, however, after leaving politics, he wrote a memoir in which he came out as gay, explaining that he hadn’t come out earlier because he knew that Dutch Muslims would never have considered a gay man to be a legitimate Muslim leader.

In short, Dibi, who skyrocketed to political power thanks to the support of non-Muslim Dutch politicians and voters, has little apparent reason to complain about Dutch “Islamophobia.” What he has suffered from, beyond question, is Islamic hostility toward gay people.

sally11Now, there’s no way of knowing whether he told Kohn any of this during their conversation. But the simple fact is that every major detail of his political career is publicly available information. We can only assume either that Kohn didn’t take the trouble to look up even the most basic facts about her interviewee, or that she chose to edit the story of his career – and, perhaps, trim his personal testimony – in such a manner as to ensure that it fitted her narrative. For the unfortunate reality is that Kohn, like so many useful gay stooges on today’s left, prefers not to acknowledge the brutal reality of Islamic gay-hatred – although she’s perfectly happy, of course, to proffer the ugly lie of Dutch “Islamophobia.”

How did Kohn conclude her Amsterdam piece? “In the United States,” she wrote, “I’d come to think of tolerance as a linear progression….Here in Amsterdam, things were spun around. Or maybe just round. Openly gay politicians were rabidly anti-Muslim.…Amsterdam was neither enlightened nor close-minded but constantly shifting, not progressing along a line but simultaneously occupying multiple points on a circle. Like a wheel of cheese. Or maybe spokes on a bike. Constantly turning.”

islamneth
A part of Amsterdam that Kohn apparently didn’t visit

We submit that the only spinning was going on inside Ms. Kohn’s head. A bit of unsolicited advice for Ms. Kohn: first, close your left-wing ideological prayer book and open your mind to the facts, whether you like them or not. Read up on Islamic history, theology, and law. Face up to the harsh reality of jihad, going back to the very founding of the faith and the Islamic attempts over the centuries to conquer Europe. Learn about the ways in which the current wave of Islamic immigration has replicated those efforts – and has transformed Europe in ways that threaten the very liberalism for which you claim to stand. Struggle to understand that if “very liberal” and openly gay Dutch people are exercised over Islam, it’s precisely because they’ve lived at close quarters with it long enough to know that it is, at its very roots, the very opposite of liberal, especially when it comes to gays.

Which brings us, at last, to the August tweet with which we kicked off this week. We’ll look at it tomorrow.

Silly Sally

sally9Longtime left-wing activist Sally Kohn, now a CNN commentator, is married to a woman named Sarah Hansen. It should be no surprise to anyone familiar with Kohn’s politically and culturally claustrophobic personal history that Hansen, too, is a left-wing activist who for several years was head of something called the Environmental Grantmakers Association and that these two gals met (what could be more romantic?) at the 2003 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Together they have one child, a daughter who would today be about seven or eight years old. In February of last year, that child was the subject, or pretext, of an op-ed published by Kohn in the Washington Post. 

sally-kohn-familyIts headline: “I’m gay. And I want my kid to be gay, too.”

Yes, the headline was deliberately provocative. And just plain silly. In the piece itself, Kohn reassured readers that she’d never actually try to force gayness on her daughter. “[N]o matter what,” she maintained, “I’d want my child to be herself.” Immediately after making this claim, she offered the following example: “If I lived in, say, North Carolina, with an adopted son from Morocco, I’d like to think I would encourage him to be Muslim, if that’s what he chose. I’d do this even though his life would probably be easier if he didn’t.”

Stop and roll that around in your mind for a minute or two. Not that Kohn seems to have done so. No, it doesn’t appear to have occurred to her that if she had a son who became a devout Muslim, it might well be her life, and her spouse’s – not his – that would be made considerably more difficult, if not downright endangered, by that development. It’s hardly a public secret – although Kohn seems blissfully ignorant of it – that most young men who decide to convert to Islam, or to begin to take their Islamic faith more seriously, tend to pursue courses of study that, shall we say, inculcate in them attitudes toward homosexuality, toward Jews, and toward independent-minded women that would not make a mother like Sally Kohn feel exceedingly comfortable.

sharia5aThis brings us back to Kohn’s piece about Amsterdam, which we mentioned yesterday. You’ll recall that it came as news to her that Amsterdam is located in the Netherlands. Obviously she knew zilch about the Dutch. So who best to lecture us about them? In her piece, entitled “Is Amsterdam Really as Tolerant as it Seems?”, she started off by telling us that during her visit to Amsterdam, the Dutch kept telling her how tolerant they are. And yet – gasp! – a “very liberal and enlightened” person with whom she had coffee ended up “verbally bashing Muslims.”

Kohn was, needless to say, shocked.

Since she doesn’t quote her interlocutor, it’s not clear what Kohn means by “verbally bashing Muslims.” One strongly suspects that rather than “bashing Muslims” as individuals, her “very liberal” acquaintance was offering honest criticism of Islam as an ideology, a culture, a phenomenon.

islamnethNow, you might think that someone in Kohn’s position would know enough about recent European developments to at least not be shocked by the spectacle of a “very liberal” Dutch person criticizing Islam. As we’ve seen, however, Kohn can’t be counted on to be up on anything outside her own extremely narrow sphere of contemporary political commentary and ideological analysis within a U.S. context.

But you might at least expect that she’d have enough intellectual curiosity to want to understand why a “very liberal” Dutch person would have a problem with Islam. Alas, no. Kohn doesn’t think that way. Indeed, the more one reads her and listens to her, the more one suspects that, strictly speaking, she doesn’t do much thinking at all.

dibi
Tofik Dibi

How did she respond, then, to the trauma of hearing a “very liberal” Dutch person criticize Islam? She reached out to Tofik Dibi, whom she described as “one of the country’s leading Muslim political figures.” Dibi gave her an earful. He told her that Dutch tolerance is “an illusion. Or a delusion. The Netherlands is not actually that tolerant.” He charged the Dutch with having become more “Islamophobic” since 9/11 and the 2004 butchery of journalist Theo van Gogh on an Amsterdam street by a Dutch-born jihadist. “Tofik,” Kohn wrote, “described feeling like a dark cloud of suspicion was always hovering above his head.”

What Kohn omitted to tell the reader about Dibi was that he’s hardly a typical “Muslim political figure.” Meaning what? Tune in tomorrow.