This is the kind of news that can make one lose all faith in humanity:
A western Pennsylvania school district has decided not to stage a Tony Award-winning musical about a Muslim street poet after members of the community complained about the play on the heels of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
The Tribune Democrat of Johnstown reports Richland School District had planned to stage “Kismet” in February but Superintendent Thomas Fleming says it was scrapped to avoid controversy.
Fleming tells the newspaper that sensitivity is understandable in part because one of the hijacked planes crashed in nearby Shanksville.
I’m all for sensitivity but what, in the name of all that’s holy, does a musical about a Muslim street poet have to do with the tragedy of 9/11?
On Thursday, I will be giving a talk at the local community center about the significance of the Muslim presence on the Iberian Peninsula starting from the year 711. The following words will open the talk: “At the beginning of the 8th century, Europe was truly a place of intellectual and spiritual darkness. Its ancient knowledge, art and philosophy had been lost. Only a distant memory of the former glory persisted in the minds of Europe’s very few remaining intellectuals. And then, in 711, an event of truly earth-shattering proportions took place. I am talking, of course, about the arrival of the Muslim people who conquered the Iberian Peninsula and restored the culture, the civilization, the science, the arts, in short, everything that makes life worth living, to the Europeans.”
Does this text sound sensitive enough to everybody? Because I don’t really even know any more.