The case of the hateful ham

Takeaway: This is where “hate crimes” legislation gets us. Second takeaway: This is where the inherent and credible threat of violence gets Muslims.

LEWISTON – One student has been suspended and more disciplinary action could follow a possible hate crime at Lewiston Middle School, Superintendent Leon Levesque said Wednesday.

On April 11, a white student placed a ham steak in a bag on a lunch table where Somali students were eating. Muslims consider pork unclean and offensive.

The act reminded students of a man who threw a pig’s head into a Lewiston mosque last summer.

The school incident is being treated seriously as “a hate incident,” Levesque said. Lewiston police are investigating, and the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence is working with the school to create a response plan.

This incident didn’t happen in a vacuum. Last August, a man rolled a pig’s head into a Somali mosque in Lewiston. But prior to that, according to a commenter on the SunJournal site reacting to this story, Somalis attacked apartments and cars with acid (apparently the SunJournal didn’t report on that, because I can’t find a story about it–it either didn’t happen or it’s down the media memory hole). And prior to that, white supremacists paraded around and acted like fools over the arrival of the Somalis. The mayor of Lewiston asked Somalis to stop moving to town 5 years ago, because their swift influx was maxing out the city’s resources. CAIR has been hovering over the situation the whole time. But note out of all of this behavior, the only group that actually got violent was within the Somali community (and that’s also the hardest to find any reportage of). White supremacists have been irrelevantly ranting for years. Kids have been mean to other kids forever. Acid attacks are new though.

Surely no one pondering hate crimes legislation ever thought that a slice of ham laying on a table would ever be considered a hate crime, with suspensions, the Center for the Prevention of Violence getting involved, the works. Hate crimes legislation was originally intended to add penalties to those who commit violence for some specific racial, ethnic or sexual orientation reason. Yet here we are, enforcing penalties on children when there has been no underlying crime committed.

It seems clearer by the day that Robert Ferrigno’s novel Prayers for the Assassin, in which the US has become a land ruled by black-robed menaces wielding sharia across society, may have been prescient. Little by little, sharia law is creeping in. There are occassional pushbacks, such as in Minnesota over the Muslim cab drivers who have refused passengers 4,800 times for wanting to transport alcohol or dogs with them in taxis. But for every pushback, there’s at least one setback. The kids at Lewiston Middle School have been taught a lesson: Don’t offend Muslims, intentionally or otherwise, in any way.

These kids in that school will grow up with this incident in mind, an incident in which secular authorities bowed to religious dictates, and idiotic ones at that, and instituted de facto Islamic law in an American public school. On the flip side, the Maine Humanities Council has made sure that the Somali side of the story in Maine gets enshrined via a small state grant. Separation of church and mosque*, anyone? Or is everyone still too busy worrying about Jerry Falwell and the so-called Christianists?

* Bryan’s shooting on location at the moment but he called to ask me to note here that he meant to say “mosque and state.” (AP)