Image by somecanuckchick via FlickrAmerican readers of the Ball Bounces not already familiar with Canada's Rex Murphy may wish to read Rex's column on the proposed (Near) Ground Zero Mosque.
One of Canada's best writers authors one of the better articles on the subject so far.
It is an almost boundlessly tolerant city and society — New York and America. But we must make a note on this point: A tolerance is being, and has been, shown, toward Islam, which Islam emphatically does not show to other creeds in regions or countries where Islam is predominant. In some Muslim places, a mere Bible in a suitcase is an indictable offence.
What is the numerical gap, I wonder, between the number of mosques in Western, nominally Christian cities, and the number of Christian churches or cathedrals in predominantly Muslim ones? In New York alone, there already are at least a hundred mosques. How many Catholic cathedrals, shinto shrines or Buddish temples in Saudia Arabia? On the subject of religious tolerance, that grand old rancid imperialist Kipling is still au courant: East is East and West is West, and ne’er the twain shall meet.* * *
I have been to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia two or three times and know what it is to have my luggage searched for the forbidden Book. A Jeddah airport security guard once thought he had caught a westerner in the act of smuggling in a forbidden liquid. He seemed quite perplexed and disappointed when he carefully unrolled my sock to reveal inside an empty souvenir Coke bottle from West Germany. Ah, those were the days! The Ball Bounces: international smuggler, agent provocateur, and collector of Coke bottles and cans.
My cover is blown. I was once Canada's Jason Bourne; I taught Jack Bauer everything he knows.
And that's the way the secret agent Ball bounces.