Construction equipment at the site of a planned mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee was set on fire last night in an apparent act of arson. A project sign was also vandalized. The determination of arson was a preliminary ruling and an investigation is ongoing. Nothing is yet known about who might have set the fire. Will this stop left-wingers from smearing anyone opposed to the Ground Zero mosque as accessories to the crime? Of course not.
The last smear campaign, launched immediately after the stabbing of a Muslim NYC cabbie, quickly fizzled when the perpetrator turned out to be a member of a liberal, pro-mosque organization. But that won't stop the usual suspects from doing the exact same thing. Check Memeorandum. They've already started. Smearing opponents is all they know.
Defenders of the Ground Zero mosque are horrified at the notion that -- as they see it -- all Muslims are being lumped together with a small minority of extremists. But they are perfectly happy to smear all opponents, even those who offer the most mild objections to a mosque in one specific location, as promoting violence and bigotry against Muslims in general. Guilt by association, even of the most utterly illogical variety, is quite alright as long as they are the ones assigning the guilt. Let's pretend that the person responsible for this arson is exactly what they are hoping for, a rabid bigot who hates all Muslims, opposing all mosque-building anywhere, and is the ultimate caricature of a so-called "Islamophobe." Even if that were true, committing an act of arson would also make him a violent extremist -- by definition a member of a tiny minority. There is simply no connection between an arsonist in Tennessee and the majority who just think the Park51 project near Ground Zero is in poor taste and should be located elsewhere -- none whatsoever.
It shouldn't even need to be pointed out, but there is also a huge difference between peaceful protest -- for whatever reason -- and violence. People peacefully protesting a mosque in Tennessee or anywhere else, even if their motives really are based on dislike of Muslims, are not in any way equivalent to arsonists or other perpetrators of violence. Those conducting the smear campaigns are not defending freedom, or standing up for the Constitution as they like to claim. They are in fact trying to suppress free expression and free speech that they disagree with, as is often the case with the left. Smears, name-calling and ridiculous attempts at guilt-by-association are not debate, they are a form of ad-hominem in an attempt to delegitimize and silence opponents. They can keep trying, but it's not going to work.