Unflappable contrarian Christopher Hitchens asks why he's accused of "insulting 1.5 billion Muslims" whenever he challenges their faith in public. Arguing that no other group takes such umbrage when its empirical beliefs are questioned, the militant secularist concludes that the appeal to Muslims' feelings has an "unmistakable note of menace" behind it.
Hitchens invokes the case of a New York City college student arrested and charged with a hate crime for flushing a Quran down the toilet. The gesture may be vulgar, but "if I choose to spit on a copy of the writings of Ayn Rand or Karl Marx or James Joyce," he writes, "that is entirely my business." It's only the fear of its adherents, Hitchens claims, that makes the Muslim holy book special.