Tuesday was a depressing day to be in Erie County Judge Michael E. Dunlavey’s courtroom, Dunlavey said.
So when someone e-mailed Dunlavey a joke on Wednesday that riffed on Eddie Murphy’s “Saturday Night Live” Buckwheat skits — which Dunlavey had enjoyed — he quickly forwarded it to court colleagues who, he thought, might need a dose of humor.
Dunlavey said he now realizes the joke, which contained a reference to Islam, might not have seemed funny, particularly to Muslims.
Dunlavey, a military intelligence expert, served as the head of interrogations at the Guantanamo Bay prison for suspected terror suspects in 2002. That and his extensive travel during his military service has probably made him more aware of Islamic culture than anyone in the court, he said.
Dunlavey said Friday he was thinking of Eddie Murphy and not Islam when he forwarded the joke.
Upon reflection, he said, he realized that Muslims would not be aware of the Murphy skit and would likely be offended by the joke.
Does he think every Muslim in the U.S. arrived yesterday? This piece of ignorance is worse than the joke.
It’s also pretty insulting to think that interrogating prisoners at Gitmo, a human rights sinkhole, and traveling around the world as part of colonial armies makes him “aware of Islamic culture.”
The problem is not being offended by a joke. The problem is whether this judge would be impartial to all the parties who may appear in his court.
Here’s an Arabic proverb which might benefit Judge Dunlavey:
العذر أقبح من الذنب
The excuse is worse than the sin.