January 12, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Hitchens on Ellison's Koran

Rep. Keith Ellison had a clever way to punctuate his high-toned response to the Virgil Goode flap last month: He took the ceremonial oath on a copy of the version of the Koran that Thomas Jefferson edited. (Most Virginians know that Jefferson published his own version of the New Testament, deleting supernatural events and other things he didn't like.) Boy, did Keith Ellison show Virgil Goode!

Or did he? Christopher Hitchens has an apt retort to the pious pleas by new Rep. Keith Ellison for more tolerance in America:

In the first place, concern over Ellison's political and religious background has little to do with his formal adherence to Islam. In his student days and subsequently, he was a supporter of Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, a racist and crackpot cult organization that is in schism with the Muslim faith...

Now Rep. Goode doesn't look so bad, in relative terms. (Hat tip to Michael Oliver). Suffice it to say that Mr. Jefferson would not have looked kindly upon such a sect espousing intolerant, absolutist views. Hitchens also notes the irony that Jefferson was the first president to go to war with the Islamic world, launching punitive attacks on the Barbary states in North Africa -- as in "the shores of Tripoli." Jefferson may have been galvanized into action by hearing how Tripoli's envoy to London used the Koran to justify going to war against "infidel" nations, and taking slaves from them.

Hillary losing ground

According to the Washington Times, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's popularity has fallen in several key states. (Hat tip to Patrick Carne.) She has distinguished herself from the rest of her party by voicing clear support for fighting terrorists in the Middle East, so perhaps Bush's "surge" strategy may be dragging her down in the polls, ironically.