By Howard Portnoy

Right now, the headlines revolve around the most recent shooting of a black man by a member of law enforcement in Charlotte, N.C. Overnight, the family of Keith Lamont Scott were privately shown two police videos of Scott’s shooting, along with their attorney, Justin Bamberg. After the viewing, Bamberg reported that “it is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr. Scott is holding in his hands.”

This only aggravates an already tense situation in the city, which has already witnessed a second shooting death of a  black man. Justin Carr, 26, died of gunshot wounds he sustained during protests Tuesday night. A short time ago, police arrested another protester who has been charged with the shooting:

All of this angst is grounded in a myth initiated by, among others, Barack Obama and members of his administration. As I wrote yesterday, Obama, in his response to the arrest of his friend “Skip” Gates by Cambridge, Mass. police, early in his presidency, declared on national TV:

[T]here’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.

Since Obama hurled down that contentious gauntlet, the narrative has gradually been amped up by liberal politicians and the mainstream meida into the charge that blacks are killed by law enforcement disproportionately. But are they? Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has researched the matter using government-supplied data and determined that historically whites and Hispanics are killed by police at three times the rate of blacks. Some will argue that that still represents a disparity since blacks make up only 12% of the population, but that argument conveniently overlooks the disproportionately high rate of crimes committed by blacks.

Blacks are not the only group on which liberals, in government and out, have conferred “victim” status. They have done the same with Muslims, who now freely interpret any adversity, including run-ins with the community at large, as “Islamophobic.”

Witness the events unfolding in Yonkers, N.Y., a suburb of New York City, where a Muslim group acquired an 108-year-old house with designs on converting it into a masjid, an Arabic word for mosque. The house, shown below, is an elegant old mansion whose “distinctive features include fieldstone walls, half-timbering, stucco and a large turret tower.”

Image: Google Streetview via NBC News

Paving paradise and putting up a parking lot (Image: Google Streetview via NBC News)

According to news reports, the house is in need of structural repairs, which the Islamic Community Center for Mid Westchester has every intention of making. But the group also plans to institutionalize the building by, for example, adding an unsightly parking lot. Objecting on purely aesthetic grounds, a local citizens group, the Colonial Heights Association of Taxpayers, applied for landmarks status for the house. Last year, the City of Yonkers granted the application.

In response, the Islamic Community Center has filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that the granting of the application was a “pretext to discriminate against plaintiffs because of their religion, their religious practices, and against their religious institution.” The court documents state further:

The landmark designation severely restricts the nature and type of renovations [the center] can undertake on its property. The landmark designation denies [the center] the right to have a house of worship bearing all relevant Islamic characteristics.

Spokespeople for the mosque have appeared on local TV, claiming that if any other religion were involved, no application would have been filed.

There is no basis for that claim or for claims of religious discrimination at all. Did the city behave deviously in a way that would hamstring the mosque? I’d say so. Was it because they hate Muslims? Go fish.