The Most Inexcusable Crime in the Muslim World

Gatestone Institute, by Uzay Bulut, June 16, 2015:

  • Even visionary calls for Islamic reform by Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, were not publicly welcomed by a single Western leader.
  • An ideology that encourages its adherents to engage in deadly rioting, burn down embassies, and kill people over cartoons, but that shows no great signs of sorrow as little girls are sold and raped, most likely does not have much to contribute to advancing civilization.
  • An ideology that treats women as property, that murders or imprisons intellectuals and that sentences a blogger to 1000 lashes and ten years in jail — if he survives — has no right to blame troubles on the West or anyone else.
  • This view has nothing to do with the West or any kind of Western intervention.

Violence and intolerance envelop the Muslim world. People who commit barbaric acts — slaughtering Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus, almost anyone — say they are merely upholding Islamic sharia law against “blasphemy,” apostasy and “unbelievers.” These Islamic extremists daily take those laws in their own hands, murdering anyone who wants to think freely or differently. Every day, arrests, trials, floggings, torture and the murder of journalists, poets, students and human rights activists are a routine practice.

In 2013, a Pakistani Professor of English, Junaid Hafeez, was arrested and jailed on blasphemy charges after a student affiliated with the Jamaat-i-Islami party accused him of insulting Muhammad, the founder of Islam, on Facebook. His original lawyer, Chaudhry Mudassar, left the case in June 2013 after facing a multitude of death threats. His second lawyer, Rashid Rehman, was shot dead in his office in front of his colleagues on May 7, 2014. His current lawyer, Shahbaz Gurmani, has received death threats, including guns fired outside his house, and a letter from the Islamic State (ISIS), warning him against pursuing the case, and stating that he will be beheaded unless he stops.

Junaid Hafeez remains in jail.

On December 28, 2014 the Egyptian writer Fatima Naoot was brought to court for allegedly “insulting” Islam. Her “crime” was to write comments on her Facebook page criticizing the slaughter of animals during Eid al-Adha, the Muslim feast of sacrifice. “I will not be defeated even if I am imprisoned,” Naoot told Reuters. “The loser will be the cultural movement.”

Fatima Naoot is a columnist and poet with a critical mind. She has the courage to speak out against the injustices in her society — traits apparently too threatening for many Muslims.

Article 98(f) of the Egyptian Penal Code prohibits citizens from “ridiculing or insulting heavenly religions or inciting sectarian strife.”

But in Egypt, the law seems to function only against followers of religions other than Sunni Islam. According to the 2014 annual report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom,

“The bulk of the charges target Sunni Muslim entertainers, prominent personalities, and journalists. Yet the majority of those sentenced by a court to prison terms for blasphemy have been Christians, Shi’a Muslims, and atheists, mostly based on flawed trials. Some 40 percent of the defendants were Christians, a high percentage when compared to the approximately 10-15% Christian population.”

A Muslim cleric, Hussein Ya’qoub, said in 2009, “The Jews are the enemies of Muslims regardless of the occupation of Palestine. You must believe that we will fight, defeat and annihilate them until not a single Jew remains on the face of the earth.”

Another Muslim cleric, Sallah Sultan, said in a speech aired on Hamas TV in 2012, that people he meets everywhere “thirst for the blood of the Jews…. Israel used girls with AIDS to seduce young Egyptians and infect them,” he said, evidently without bothering to validate the story, which is just another example of fabricated Jew-hate.

Neither cleric has yet been brought to court for proudly calling for genocide, but Fatima Naoot is tried for criticizing the slaughter of animals during Eid al-Adha.

On August 30, 2014, an Iranian photographer, Soheil Arabi, 30, was sentenced by a criminal court in Tehran to death by hanging for “insulting the prophet of Islam” (Sabbo al-Nabbi) in Facebook postings. On November 24, 2014, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence.

Soheil Arabi (right) was last year sentenced to death by an Iranian court for “insulting the prophet of Islam” in Facebook postings.

In 2014, Raif Badawi, 31, a Saudi blogger and creator of a website intended to foster debate on religion and politics, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and 1 million Saudi riyals (about $267,000) for “adopting liberal thought” and “insulting Islam.” Badawi received the first 50 lashes of his sentence on January 9, 2015, outside a mosque after morning prayers, “surrounded by a cheering crowd who cried incessantly ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest)” during the whipping.” The sentence was upheld last week by Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court; the only reprieve can come from King Salman.

In Islamic Sharia law, a free mind is the most inexcusable crime in the Muslim world. Being imprisoned, tortured or put to death for having one is also the reason there are centuries between Muslim countries and the West in the field of human liberation. To Euripides, “Not to speak one’s thought, this is slavery;” to many Muslim countries, free thought is death.

Those who have the courage to try to abolish this “slavery” in the Muslim world are forced to pay a huge price. The young Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousefzai, was shot in the head for demanding an education. Lawyers representing people trying to abolish this “slavery” or other allegations — even fraudulent ones — are killed.

You can blow up children at school; deliberately run over innocent people for the sake of jihad; slaughter people at prayer and then distribute sweets to celebrate your “victory;” devalue a woman’s worth in countless ways — by taking four wives, beating them, then with a word divorcing them — and you will be praised by many Muslims for being a “hero,” a “martyr” or a “true Muslim.”

This view has nothing to do with the West or any kind of Western intervention. It was not the Europeans, the United States or the State of Israel that spread these coercive sharia-based laws against blasphemy and apostasy among Muslims.

The Muslim regimes, which do not know even the definition of liberty — and their systematic criminalization of free speech; their suppression of inquiry and creativity; and their unending intertribal fights — are the reason their people have remained in the seventh century.

The rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria; the expanding reach of Iran into four more countries (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen) as the United States retreats from three (Libya, Yemen and Iraq), and the indifference of much of the Muslim world in the face of this new catastrophe, all indicate that there is not yet much hope for positive change in the Muslim world. Even visionary calls for Islamic reform by Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, were not publicly welcomed by a single Western leader.

Apart from the defenders of liberty such as Hafeez, Naoot, Arabi, and Badawi, the situation seems to be getting grimmer by the day. A pamphlet handed out by ISIS answers over 27 questions, including: “Can all unbelieving women be taken captive?” and, “Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?”

The pamphlet also approves of enslavement, rape (including of prepubescent girls), beating to achieve gratification [darb al-tashaffi], and torture [darb al-ta’dheeb].

An ideology that encourages its adherents to engage in deadly rioting, burn down embassies, and kill people over cartoons, but that shows no great signs of sorrow as little girls are sold and raped, most likely does not have much to contribute to advancing civilization.

An ideology that treats women as property, that murders or imprisons intellectuals and that sentences a blogger to 1000 lashes and ten years in jail — if he survives — has no right to blame its troubles on the West or anyone else.

Uzay Bulut, born and raised a Muslim, is a Turkish journalist based in Ankara, Turkey.

AFDI Rolls Out New Free Speech Billboard Campaign Featuring Muhammad Cartoon

AFDI-billboard-640x480Breitbart, by Pamela Geller, June 8, 2015:

The human rights advocacy group the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) has announced a new billboard campaign to defend freedom of speech and stand up to violent intimidation.

AFDI President Pamela Geller said in a statement: “Because the media and the cultural and political elites continue to self-enforce the Sharia without the consent of the American people by refusing to show any depictions of Muhammad or showing what it was in Texas that had jihadists opening fire, we are running a billboard ad featuring the winning cartoon by former Muslim Bosch Fawstin from our Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas.”

The new free speech campaign went up on 100 billboards today in St. Louis.

Geller explained: “Drawing Muhammad is not illegal under American law, but only under Islamic law. Violence that arises over the cartoons is solely the responsibility of the Islamic jihadists who perpetrate it. Either America will stand now against attempts to suppress the freedom of speech by violence, or will submit and give the violent the signal that we can be silenced by threats and murder.”

“Speech that is offensive to some must not be curtailed, but protected (i.e., the Mohammed cartoons). Freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society. Without it, a tyrant can wreak havoc unopposed, while his opponents are silenced. If speech that offends a group is outlawed, that group has absolute power, and a free society is destroyed. A group that cannot be criticized cannot be opposed. It can work its will no matter what it is, and no one will be able to say anything to stop it.”

Geller added: “There is nothing about this cartoon that incites violence. It is within the established American tradition of satire. If America surrenders on this point, the freedom of speech is a relic of history.”

AFDI Vice President Robert Spencer stated: “Many people on both the Left and the Right are saying that we should do nothing to provoke Islamic fundamentalism. The immediate answer would seem to be that we should do nothing to provoke violent jihadis, that the prudent thing to do would be to avoid doing things that anger them. But if we did that, they would not they stop coming at us. Last September, an Islamic State spokesman boasted: ‘We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us; He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.’

In light of that, what is the point of asking whether or not we should provoke them? They’re already provoked. A more useful question now is whether it is really productive and helpful to signal to them that we will acquiesce to their threats of violence and change our behavior accordingly, or whether we will instead signal to them that their violent threats are not going to frighten us into submission.”

The ads have been submitted to run on billboards in the St. Louis area. The next city will be going up tomorrow.

AFDI stands for:

  • The freedom of speech – as opposed to Islamic prohibitions of “blasphemy” and “slander,” which are used effectively to quash honest discussion of jihad and Islamic supremacism;
  • The freedom of conscience – as opposed to the Islamic death penalty for apostasy;
  • The equality of rights of all people before the law – as opposed to Sharia’s institutionalized discrimination against women and non-Muslims.

Join the AFDI Facebook page here.

Egypt Proposes ‘International Law to Criminalize Contempt of Religion’

Reuters

Reuters

Breitbart, by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D, June 8, 2015:

On Sunday, Egypt’s minister for Religious Endowments, Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, called for an “international law to criminalize contempt of religion,” which would make it a crime to publish articles or cartoons showing disdain or ridicule of religions.

Contempt of religion is already illegal in Egypt, with a punishment of between six months and five years in prison and a fine of 500 to 1,000 Egyptian pounds. In recent years, many people have been arrested on this charge and faced trial. As recently as last week, an Islamic show host was sentenced to prison in absentia for accusations of being in contempt of religion.

A Ministry official announced the proposal in Gomaa’s name during a conference for world religious leaders in Kazakhstan this weekend.

Though Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has not publicly weighed in on the proposal, he has been calling upon Egypt’s Islamic institutions, including Al-Azhar, the Ministry of Religious Endowments, and Dar Al-Iftaa to “renew religious discourse” since early this year.

The president has emphasized the importance of “correcting religious speech so that it is in accordance with the tolerant Islamic teachings,” as well as insisting that it “eliminate sectarian disputes and confront extremism and militancy.”

This is not the first time such a proposal has been made. Last January, following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars called for protection for “prophets” and urged Islamic countries to submit a draft law to the UN, outlawing defamation of religions. The union said the UN should then issue a “law criminalizing contempt of religions and the prophets and all the holy sites.”

Though Gomaa has said he believes such an international law should criminalize contempt of religion universally, “without any discrimination,” skeptics are already wondering whether a statute of this sort would not invite selective enforcement based on personal beliefs.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, a legal organization, warned that under such a law, “anyone could be presented to court” for publishing an article, images or any material on any religion if the opinion expressed is different from that of the ruling faction.

The warning is not an exercise in hyperbole. Complaints of selective enforcement of Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa are a regular occurrence in countries that still have them, such as Indonesia, Pakistan, and even Egypt itself.

According to Paul Marshall of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, while Islam is zealously guarded, people publicly insult Judaism and its adherents “everyday and every way in Egypt,” without anyone being called to task under the contempt of religion law.

Thus, while the Egyptian law is, in theory, meant to discourage people from offending people’s religious sensitivities, it is, instead, used to stifle free speech and intimidate those who do not subscribe to the standard.

More importantly, the principles of freedom of speech and of the press are meant not only to protect the speech of individuals with whom we agree, but above all, to protect those with whom we do not agree.

A healthy criticism of religion, like criticism of politics and culture, is a hallmark of a free society. All freedoms can be abused, but their abuse does not negate their value or the wisdom of defending them.

Also see:

Mary, Muhammad, and Hypocritical Media Dhimmitude, From The New York Times, to Fox News

By Andrew Bostom, May 30, 2015:

Clay Waters of Newsbusters (h/t Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch) underscores the rank “free expression” hypocrisy, and sheer dhimmitude, of the New York Times, resplendent once again, in its Thursday, May 28, 2015 “Arts” section. A prominent photographic reproduction of the 1996 Ofili painting, “The Holy Virgin Mary”, which accompanied the story about its sale, included an accuratedescription of the painting’s contents. The Times report also made a rathercontemptuous assessment of then New York Mayor Giuliani’s reaction to Ofili’s deliberately insulting work, an unabashed “artistic” exercise in scatology and pornography.

The Australian collector David Walsh is selling Chris Ofili’s 1996 painting “The Holy Virgin Mary,” which caused a furor when it was shown at the Brooklyn Museum in October 1999 as part of Charles Saatchi’s touring “Sensation” exhibition of works by Young British Artists (YBAs). The eight-foot-high depiction of a black Virgin Mary, encrusted with a lump of elephant dung and collaged bottoms [i.e., naked buttocks] from pornographic magazines, outraged religious leaders and Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who described Mr. Ofili’s painting and other works in the show as “sick stuff.” Mr. Giuliani’s attempts to close the exhibition by withholding public funds were rejected by a federal judge.

Yet the Times remains steadfast in its refusal to show any drawings of Muhammad, despite their obvious centrality to—wait for it—the news, given the very recent mass murderous Muslim reactions to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in Paris, and the failed attempt at similar jihadist carnage in Garland, Texas. The latter occurred following an educational conference which displayed historical and contemporary Muhammad images, produced by Muslims and non-Muslims, alike, and also included a contextual discussion of Islamic “blasphemy law,”which is antithetical to free speech as enshrined in the first amendment to our U.S. Constitution.

It must be emphasized, however, that The New York Times’ acquiescent dhimmitude, vis-à-vis its self-imposed “ban” on displays of any images of Islam’s prophet Muhammad, is shared uniformly by all our major television media,notably Fox News (see here; here; here; here; and here). The abject dhimmitude of Fox News is particularly egregious given the network’s continuous preening verbal support for free speech, and its history of appropriately condemning the hypocrisy of displaying works like Ofili’s Virgin Mary, but not artistic images of Muhammad.

I have included both the Ofili painting, and. just below it, Muslim “apostate” artist Bosch Fawstin’s drawing of Muhammad—a pure free speech political cartoon, which garnered first prize at the Garland conference exhibition—for juxtaposition.

Any rational, honest, objective human being should discern—and acknowledge—the stark contrast between these images.

How profound is our media dhimmitude that even “alternative” Fox News, by its repeated actions— i.e. refusing to display Fawstin’s sober, thoughtful Muhammad drawing, not Fox’s empty “free speech support” rhetoric—has effectively conflated Ofili’s dung-clotted, pornographic buttocks-collaged Virgin Mary, an “artistic” exercise in gratuitous profanity, with a brave ex-Muslim’s plaintive, non-profane image extolling our bedrock liberty, freedom of expression?

Ofili-Mary-778x1024

My Winning Mohammad Contest Drawing

Assassin’s Veto: Our Muhammad Ad Spurs D.C. Metro Transit Authority to Ban All ‘Issue’ Ads

Screen-Shot-2015-05-26-at-9.57.21-AMPJ Media, By Robert Spencer On May 29, 2015:

The winner is clear, and to the winner be the laurels. There is one man only that all people — regardless of race, creed, color, political perspective, nationality, and whatever else — must respect: Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has moved to prevent our American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) ads, which feature a cartoon of Muhammad, from being featured on city buses. With this, Muhammad’s ascendancy is complete: he is the man of the hour.

On CNN, Chris Cuomo demonstrated the fealty we all owe to the messenger of Islam in a Thursday morning interview with my colleague, AFDI President Pamela Geller (I am vice president of AFDI). Cuomo repeatedly referred to “the prophet Muhammad.” As far as I know, Cuomo is not a Muslim and does not believe that Muhammad is a prophet. Also, CNN is not an Islamic organization, yet CNN’s chyron read: “PROPHET MOHAMMED ADS SUBMITTED TO BUSES, TRAINS.”

Cuomo and CNN are not the only ones offering this respect to Muhammad alone. Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Sean Hannity are not Muslims, yet during their coverage of the jihad attack on our Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas — Hannity and Kelly did defend our right to freedom of speech — they all referred to “the prophet Muhammad.”

How often do you hear the media refer to “the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?” Muhammad is the man whom all must respect, whether they actually accept that he is a prophet or not.

Now, the taxpayer-funded Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has shown us what that respect is all about. To avoid losing a First Amendment lawsuit over our ad featuring the winning Muhammed cartoon from Garland along with the caption “SUPPORT FREE SPEECH,” the MTA has chosen to no longer accept all “issue-related” ads.

The cartoon is not obscene or profane. It simply lampoons Muslims’ attempt to intimidate the West into submitting to Sharia blasphemy laws. The cartoon depicts Muhammad shouting: “You can’t draw me!” and the cartoonist responding, “That’s why I draw you.”

The MTA’s decision was motivated — solely — by fear. It was motivated by the kind of respect that Bob Dylan described in his film Masked and Anonymous: “I got a lot of respect for a gun.” The D.C. MTA recognizes that if they run ads featuring a Muhammad cartoon on their buses, the buses could be — and probably would be — targeted by murderous Islamic jihadists. Realizing that, they have two choices: a) protect the buses and their passengers, and in doing so protect freedom of speech as the cornerstone of a free society, or; b) refuse to run the ads, thereby signaling to murderous jihadists that being a murderous jihadist is a successful position in a growth industry.

The MTA has shown that its respect for Muhammad can be obtained at the point of a gun. This action ensures that other Islamic jihadists will be encouraged to press American non-Muslims to show more respect for Muhammad and Islam. They will press for that respect in exactly the same way they have before: with threats of more violence. The MTA, with the eager support of the mainstream media, has canonized the assassin’s veto and assured that the veto will be exercised more than ever.

Cuomo rambled on CNN about wanting to avoid causing offense. This never crossed his colleagues’ minds when they hailed “Piss Christ” as a monument to freedom of expression. Christianity has not earned their respect because Christians have not attempted to gain that respect at gunpoint.

Whatever we may actually think about him, Muhammad is now “the prophet Muhammad” for all of us. Like Orwell’s equally absent and lethal Big Brother, we had better love him — or else.

All this sums up the order of the day: now we must do the bidding of whoever declares that he will kill us unless we do his bidding. CNN is fine with that. O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Greta van Susteren, and others putatively on the right are fine with that.

Fittingly, in this superficial and secular age, the most superficial and secular of all are carefully referring to Muhammad as “the prophet.” Their homage to the man who proclaimed “I have been made victorious through terror” is a notable emblem of their submission to the cult of violence that overshadows this era.

***

Also see:

Here Are al-Qaeda’s Guidelines for Which ‘Blasphemers’ to Assassinate

aqiswarningPJ Media, By Bridget Johnson On May 28, 2015:

Two weeks after the latest murder of a blogger for professing disbelief in the Islamic prophet or simply promoting a secular society, al-Qaeda’s new chapter in southeast Asia has issued an update about who will be targeted next.

The bloggers hacked to death in brazen, public attacks thus far have all been in Bangladesh — one of the three victims in less than three months was an American citizen — but the English-language posting of the terrorists’ target list suggests that forthcoming attacks may not be limited in scope.

Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh considers itself a “brother” of al-Qaeda, as Ayman al-Zawahiri has united South Asia jihadist groups under al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. The chapter was announced last September after what al-Zawahiri said was two years of set-up work with regional Islamist leaders, with a consultative council already operating for a year before the official announcement.

Their newest warning posted online vows to target:

  • “Those who are insulting our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Allah (S) and our religion Islam. We have no problem with the atheists bloggers, atheism or with other religions or belief but we will not tolerate insulting out Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We are targeting those who are insulting our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the name of atheism.”
  • “People who are not allowing to follow the rulings of shariah. He/She might be a teacher of a University, College or School. He/She might be a leader of a certain area or locality or a political party. He/She might be a Judge, Advocate, Engineer or Doctor etc.”
  • “Those who are presenting Islam wrongly in His/Her writings or talks and trying to keep Muslims far from the real teaching of Islam which is one of the main agendas of crusaders in the Muslim nations all over the world. He/She might be a well known writer. He/She might be a poet or free thinker or so called intellectuals. He/She might be an editor of a newspaper of magazine. He/She might be a actor, journalist, producer, director or actor etc.”
  • “Those who are opposing, lowing and presenting wrongly the rulings of shariah by his/her talks or writings using media or any other means of publications.”
  • “Those who are trying to destroy Muslim social values by introducing and spreading the nudity and zina [sex outside of marriage] among the Muslim youths.”
  • “Those who are tying to remove the shariah rulings from the existing Islamic systems, values, cultures and economics.”
  • “Those who are trying to stop the establishment of Islamic rulings (Shariah).”

The al-Qaeda chapter claims it won’t target any people just for not being Muslim, but declared open season on “those who are trying to insult our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Allah (S) and our religion by any means such as writings, talks or physical works.”

Ananta Bijoy Das, a science writer whose numerous books included one on evolution, was hacked to death by four men wielding machetes and cleavers May 12 as he went to work in the city of Sylhet.

AQIS issued a statement afterward announcing they were “delighted” to be responsible for “one Islamophobic atheist blogger sent to hell.” They accused Das of “taunts” to Islam.

Das knew his life was in danger, and tried to get a visa to go to Sweden for a press-freedom event. Swedish officials denied the request last month, afraid that the writer wouldn’t return to Bangladesh.

In February, Bangladeshi-American secularist blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death on a Dhaka street. “The target was an American citizen.. 2 in 1. #America recently martyred 2 of our brothers in #Khurasan & #Shaam. #Revenge+#Punishment,” Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh tweeted afterward.

Roy was a dual U.S.-Bangladesh citizen who lived in Georgia and was in Bangladesh for a month. His wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonna, was with him at the time of the attack and was severely wounded, with one of her fingers severed by the pair of machete-wielding attackers.

His blog in the 90 percent Muslim country, mukto-mona.com, translates to “free thinking” and featured atheist, humanist and nationalist writers. He was also an author whose books included The Philosophy of Disbelief and The Virus of Faith — further stoking outrage of Islamists.

Das contributed to mukto-mona.com.

After Roy’s murder, secular blogger Washiqur Rahman wasn’t going to take it from the Islamists. He posted a Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoon and used the hashtag #IamAvijit. Rahman was hacked to death at the end of March.

Two suspects out of three attackers were seized at the scene of the crime: students at an Islamic school who said they were acting on orders to kill Rahman.

Al-Qaeda issued a video at the beginning of this month saying AQIS was behind those assassinations and more, including the February 2013 murder of secularist Bangladeshi blogger Rajib Haider.

“Praise be to Allah, these assassinations are part of a series of operations initiated by the different branches of al-Qaeda on the orders of our respected leader Sheikh Ayman al Zawahiri (may Allah protect him),” AQIS leader Asim Umar said. “It is equally part of our commitment to fulfill the oath of Sheikh Osama [bin Laden] (may Allah have mercy on him).”

The assassination campaign, Umar stressed, is teaching “a lesson to blasphemers in France, Denmark, Pakistan and now in Bangladesh.”

Though not specifically mentioned by the al-Qaeda directive, the message was released two days before Friday’s “Draw Muhammad” event outside of a Phoenix mosque.

Charlie Hebdo defends freedom under fire

Jean-Baptiste Thoret, a film critic for Charlie Hebdo, will receive an award for courage in freedom of expression from the PEN American Center. Credit Earl Wilson/The New York Times

Jean-Baptiste Thoret, a film critic for Charlie Hebdo, will receive an award for courage in freedom of expression from the PEN American Center. Credit Earl Wilson/The New York Times

American Thinker, by Andrew E. Harrod, May 26, 2015:

“We don’t negotiate with the freedom of speech,” stated Jean-Baptiste Thoret, film critic for the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, during a May 1 presentation before an audience of about 100 at Freedom House in Washington, D.C.  His words, stated during an American visit to receive a PEN free speech award for his colleagues murdered during a January Paris jihadist attack, have continuing importance, as the subsequent May 4 Texas jihadist attack showed.

PEN American Center executive director Suzanne Nossel introduced the panel by justifying her organization’s recognition of Charlie Hebdo for “rejecting the assassins’ veto … on behalf of all of us.”  Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Gėrard Biard explained that the publication’s past caricatures of Islam’s prophet Muhammad were a literary response to violence perpetrated by “Islam fundamentalists,” the “political part of Islam.”  Self-censoring such caricatures would “send the wrong message to people who use violence” – namely, “you are right to kill people, because it works.  People are afraid[.] … You can tell people what to do.”  Concessions are also no guarantee of security; he recalled Algerian journalists facing jihadist threats in the 1990s, stating, “[I]f you speak they kill you; if you don’t speak they kill you.  So speak.”

For Thoret, self-censoring Muhammad would have been the “beginning of the end” for any press freedom as exercised by Charlie Hebdo.  “You will always find someone who will be offended by what you do” and therefore groups besides Muslims would raise other censorship demands.  Yet “humor is a very serious thing,” he said with attribution to Mark Twain(more accurately, Winston Churchill), and a cartoon can sometimes make people think more than an article.  Every intellectual publication like a cartoon manifests a “little victory” for freedom, like the jury acquittal in the 1957 film classic 12 Angry Men.

Biard noted how unique were such “little victories” concerning speech on Islam.  Only Charlie Hebdo and another French publication republished the globally controversial Danish Muhammad cartoons in 2006 after their initial French publication cost the job of France-Soir’s chief editor.  As criticized by Charlie Hebdo’s late editor Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, a chief target and victim of the January attack, Biard noted that the French “press turned its back to us” and “suffered a lack of courage.”  While many publications agreed in principle with the cartoons’ publication, they deferred to security concerns.

As event moderator Robert Ruby from Freedom House noted, Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonist Rénald “Luz” Luzier had also joined the ranks of those who would no longer draw Muhammad, stating that he had lost interest in the subject.  Ruby asked whether fear motivated the decision of Luz, a man who escaped death in Charlie Hebdo’s office massacre by a fateful lateness in getting to work.  “I don’t know, maybe he doesn’t think it is worth it,” responded Biard.  He noted how Luz saw immediately after the shootings the bloody corpses of his colleagues lying on the floor with upturned buttocks, images that dominated his drawings in the following days.

Biard rejected criticisms that Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad caricatures had exhibited prejudice, objections that had caused 145 PEN member writers to condemn its awarding Charlie Hebdo.  “We never published racist cartoons” at Charlie Hebdo, “historically … an anti-racist magazine” whose “DNA … is anti-racism,” he stated.  “We don’t attack weak people; we attack powerful,” he argued, including the powerful political force of Islamism.

Asked from the audience why French law allowed Muhammad satire but prohibited Holocaust denial, he responded that the “difference with the Holocaust is it is a fact.”  “You can mock a symbol, but you cannot deny the dignity of six million men.”  Muhammad satire simply is a part of how “we at Charlie Hebdo are against everything iconic.”

Thoret noted similarly that Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons overwhelmingly treated non-Islamic themes.  A recent 10-year review of 523 magazine covers, for example, determined that 485 dealt with political and other matters, while only 38 involved religion, 21 on Christianity and only seven concerning Islam.  Observers who accused the Muhammad caricatures of racism also overlooked a French cartoon tradition of grotesque faces.  In any given case, the “quality or the intelligence of the cartoon” is the “most important criteri[on].”

“Our lives changed, it’s obvious” in the Charlie Hebdo assault, Biard observed; “in half an hour we became a world symbol” out of a small magazine.  Thoret likewise discussed how many cartoonists had previously lived carefree lives but now needed security guards.  Ruby noted a comment by a Le Monde cartoonist to the editor at the center of the Danish cartoons controversy, Flemming Rose, that the Charlie Hebdo attacks are merely the beginning.

Biard expressed feelings of Charlie Hebdo being overwhelmed in its newfound role as a sometimes isolated defender of free speech.  “It’s not our job to be a symbol.  Our job is to make people think and laugh.”  On the other hand, free speech “values belong to everyone and everyone has to stand up for these values,” something requiring more than additional security precautions.  “You must answer violence also by your behavior, the citizens’ behavior,” he stated.  In an era of global jihad threats, it is the “only way that democracy can survive.”

This article was commissioned by The Legal Project, an activity of the Middle East Forum.

Pamela Geller and the hijacking of America

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American Thinker, By Larissa Scott, May23, 2015:

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I couldn’t help thinking, I could have been a passenger on one of those planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. Today the feeling is back, as if we are all passengers on a hijacked plane the size of America, heading towards an imminent crash. The question is, knowing what we know now, what are we going to do about it?

Shortly before American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower, an Egyptian-born jihadi, Mohammed Atta, addressed the passengers over the intercom:

“Just stay quiet, and you’ll be okay.  We are returning to the airport… Nobody move.  Everything will be okay.  If you try to make any move, you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane.  Just stay quiet… Nobody move, please…  Don’t try to make any stupid moves.”

Twenty minutes later they died a horrible death, accompanied by hundreds of people inside the North Tower. Had the passengers known the real plan, they might have attempted to take matters into their own hands and possibly avert a bigger disaster. But they likely believed Mohammed Atta, especially since no hijacker had deliberately crashed a plane before.  Many were probably thinking, Let the government sort it out, that’s whom the terrorists always blackmail. We just need to stay quiet and make no stupid moves. Of course we’ll be okay.

Tactical deception, especially when lying to non-Muslims, is legally sanctioned under Sharia, which is a mainstream, universal Islamic law.  In Sunni Islam, such practice is referred to as mudarat, or taquiyya.

Fast-forward fourteen years to Garland, TX.  Jihadists drove a thousand miles to enforce Sharia blasphemy laws. The cop who shot them to death likely prevented a gruesome massacre. We are now being told that this would not have happened and everything would have been okay if Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer had stayed quiet and didn’t make any stupid moves, such as, organizing the exhibition of Mohammed cartoons.

This is exactly the behavior of passengers on a hijacked plane. We hope that everything will be okay as long as we remain quiet and make no stupid moves. We willingly trust the voices on TV and hope the government will sort it out. We want to believe that every act of Islamic terrorism is an isolated incident, that they only target the government, and that the 58% of Muslim-Americans in a 2012 survey who think that that critics of Islam in the U.S. should face criminal charges, with 12% of them favoring the death penalty for blasphemy, are not part of a bigger phenomenon. Just stay quiet and nothing bad will happen. After all, no terrorist has ever hijacked and crashed an entire nation before.

Alas, nations have been consistently hijacked and crashed throughout history. This has always been executed according to the same blueprint, which originated in the 7th century Islamic conquests and is known to Islamic jurists as the Pact of Umar.

While the ‘s precise origins are a matter of legend, its conditions, based on Muhammad’s treatment of conquered people, have gained a canonical status in Islamic jurisprudence with regard to relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, otherwise known as dhimmis, and as such became a subset of Sharia law.

Given that Sharia by definition cannot be altered any more than one can alter the Koran or the Sunna, and even talking about reforming Sharia is considered blasphemous, its medieval rulings about what dhimmis are allowed or not allowed to do, are still in effect today. According to a recent Pew survey, the majority of Muslims worldwide want Sharia to be the law of the land everywhere; that includes the Conditions of Umar, even if those who practice them may not necessarily refer to them by that name.

Settling in non-Muslim countries, Muslim minorities traditionally bring with them Sharia law, which prescribes them to punish dhimmis who overstep certain boundaries regardless of what the local law says, because the “God-given” Sharia law will always be superior to the “man-made law” of the dhimmis.

Under the many Conditions of Omar, dhimmis aren’t allowed to criticize anything that has to do with Islam, including the very conditions of subjugation under which they live. Dhimmis are supposed to remain ignorant about Islamic teachings and can only refer to Islam in positive terms. Mocking, insulting, cursing, or even upsetting Muslims in any way, testifying against a Muslim in court, or raising a hand against a Muslim, even in self-defense, is forbidden.

Criticism of a Muslim person by a dhimmi — even if it’s based on undeniable facts, constitutes “slander” and is punishable by death. In contrast with the Western definition of slander — false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation — Sharia defines slander as any statement a Muslim would dislike, regardless if its degree of accuracy. This works in conjunction with another Sharia ruling, which gives all Muslims an open license to murder the offender wherever they find him. That doesn’t mean all Muslims will do it, but if someone volunteers to do the killing, he will not be punished under Sharia. In modern times, this means an open season of vigilante street justice on any critic of Islam anywhere on the planet.

Suddenly, the medieval choices jihadis place before their victims are all over today’s news coverage, just as they were originally set out in the Koran:  convert to Islam, submit to the Muslim rule and pay a non-Muslim religious tax called jizya, or die by the sword. Those who submit, as we’ve seen in the territories conquered by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, are doomed to a life of humiliation, subjugation, discrimination, and confiscatory taxation.

Dhimmi translates as “protected person,” which is similar in meaning to protection racket: what a nice dhimmi community you have here, shame if anything were to happen to it. You are protected from violence as long as you obey the conditions and pay the protection money. But if any of the dhimmis act up or “made a stupid move,” his or her action puts the entire dhimmi community in jeopardy of jihadi retaliation, where anyone is fair game for collective punishment.

Western nations with a significant share of Muslim immigrants are now learning to live in a state of permanent vulnerability and fear that one of them might upset a Muslim and thus provoke rioting or jihad slaughter. As a result, Western dhimmis are learning to police each other and make sure no one in their community makes any “stupid moves.”

Pamela Geller just did that. Her exhibition of Mohammed cartoons has crossed the line of permissible dhimmi behavior, and for that she has become a target of criticism by the American media, including some conservative commentators. Among the many stated reasons why Pamela should have “just stayed quiet,” the main argument remains unstated: she made a stupid move and now we’re all in danger of retaliation.

The real questions the media should be asking is, if we aren’t already living under the Conditions of Umar, what would we do differently if we did?

When Muslims Assassinate

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Political Islam, By Bill Warner:

When Muslims assassinate Kafirs who offend Islam, they are following Mohammed’s perfect example.  Any Muslim is permitted to carry out the death sentence, vigilante justice. This is why there was an attempted assassination at Pam Geller’s Garland, TX event.

But what is the perfect Sunna on assassinations? There are five examples of Mohammed ordering people to be murdered because of what they said about him. There was a Jewish poet, an Arab poetess, dancing girls who sang satirical songs, a tribal chief who was planning to fight Mohammed and another Jew who offended Mohammed.

So the next time a Kafir who offends Islam is killed, it is because of Mohammed’s standing orders.

Fox News Lets Sharia (Donald) Trump Freedom of Expression

My Winning Mohammad Contest Drawing

By Andrew Bostom, May 14, 2015:

Last week Fox News’s Sean Hannity was uniquely supportive of journalist/activist Pamela Geller, hosting her on his show 5 nights in a row (including one evening with guest host, Eric Bolling). Ms. Geller remains underISIS death threat for conducting a thoughtful Garland, Texas event upholding freedom of expression in defiance of Islamic Sharia totalitarianism, enforced by would be mass murderous jihadist attackers, who were fortunately slain by an intrepid policeman. (The Garland event can be viewed in full here; and its 30 minute highlights, here). Earlier this week, Hannity courteously provided Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders, featured at the Garland free speech conference, aforum to explain his views.

Sadly, Hannity’s humane behavior was the exception at Fox News, and he was apparently forced to abide Fox News’s Sharia-complaint ban on actually showing the Garland conference’s liberty-affirming symbol—courageous ex-Muslim artist Bosch Fawstin’s brilliant drawing (shown above), which garnered first prize at the exhibit. Megyn Kelly, who conspicuously distanced herself from the conference organizers, also towed the Sharia-complaint line. Despite Kelly’s “passionate” rhetorical endorsement of free expression, she never displayed Fawstin’s drawing, emblematic of the craven hypocrisy decried in Robert Tracinski’s cogently entitled analysis, “Mohammed Cartoons: If You’re Not Publishing, You’re Pretending.” Jeanine Pirro stepped all over her Saturday evening (5/9/15) monologue warning of the threat of Sharia supremacism by concluding that the Garland event was a “dumb move,” segueing into an utterly uninformed, rather hostile interview of Geller, and kowtowing to Fox’s interdiction on display of the Fawstin drawing.

Worse still were Fox News’s “sorry seven” (a composite of hosts/guests), whose sniping, ignorant, and cowardly commentary was summarized in a series of extracts by Brendan James. The Fox News statements of Donald Trump best illustrate this toxic genre of sheer idiocy and cowardice—the latter made all the more despicable by the phony bravado with which it was conveyed.

I watched Pam Prior [sic], and it looks like she’s just taunting everybody. What is she doing? Drawing Muhammad and it looks like she’s taunting people…what are they doing drawing Muhammad? Isn’t there something else they can draw? They can’t do something else? They have to be in the middle of Texas and on Muhammad? You know, I’m one that believes in free speech, probably more than she does. What’s the purpose of this? She’s taunting them…I don’t know, maybe she likes risk. What the hell is she doing?

Overall, Fox News’s coverage of the Garland free speech conference was appalling—it amounted to journalistic dereliction of duty, indeed malpractice, for willful sins of commission and omission. I have elaborated on this depressing phenomenon at these blogs (here; here; and here), and yesterday (5/13/15) in an interview with Tom Trento, who attended and scrupulously recorded the entire Garland event. Please watch our interview embedded below, starting at 13:40.

See more videos with Tom Trento here: theunitedwest

SNL Sketch Effectively Mocks Fear of Drawing Mohammed

draw mohammedCSP, by Fred Fleitz, May 11, 2015:

Last Saturday, Saturday Night Live (SNL) did a skit that addressed the controversy stemming from the Garland, Texas “draw Mohammed” contest.
The sketch was a gameshow based on the game Pictionary in which one contestant is instructed to draw something and his teammate tries to guess what the drawing is.  Two contestants were so afraid when asked to draw “The Prophet Mohammed” that they left the paper blank.  Another teammate ultimately guesses what the drawing was supposed to be based on their fear of drawing it.

SNL deserves credit for taking on how the global Jihad movement is trying to use violence to curtail free speech.  This sketch broke with the mainstream media’s focus on attacking Pamela Geller, the sponsor of the “draw Mohammed” contest, for holding an event it claims was too provocative and “hate speech.”  By running a sketch in which the characters feared for their lives if they drew Mohammed, SNL portrayed what this controversy is really about and a side of it that some Americans probably had not heard about.

Although it conveyed an important message, the SNL sketch was cautious.  Clearly the show’s producers and actors were afraid to draw Mohammed and found a way to satirize this story without doing so.  While this is a shortcoming, the sketch effectively depicted the threat to free speech by the global Jihad movement and may help encourage more discussion about this threat.

Imam Anjem Choudary Tells Hannity That Pamela Geller Should Die

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Truth Revolt, by Caleb Howe, May 7, 2015:

On Fox News last night, Sean Hannity hosted what basically amounted to a verbal holy war between Islamic Imam Anjem Choudary and Pamela Geller. Choudary repeatedly stated that Geller knew the “consequences” for her actions, and that the consequences for her actions are death. He says that she isn’t even good enough to be called a pig. He said America was the real murderer, that all will come under sharia law, that any who insult the prophet should receive “capital punishment.”

This is a good time to remind our readers that people who talk about sharia in America are called conspiracy theorists, that Pamela Geller, who has been marked for death by Islam over cartoons, is the one being called “hateful” by our media, and that the official position of Smart People is that only a tiny few Muslims are terrorists and murderers.

As far as we know, Anjem Choudary isn’t a terrorist. Using the standard the media and the President use, he would not be counted in the “less than one percent” of Muslims who commit acts of terror or join ISIS or kidnap girls in Africa. Yet here he is on a major news outlet telling the world, as he often does, that he believes the exact same thing as the terrorists.

Nobody is a terrorist until they are. But it is clear that support for the murder of cartoonists extends beyond just the murderers themselves. Believing that those who insult Mohammed should be put to death does not mean you are in some exclusive terrorist-only club, or that you are a member of ISIS. It is not uncommon. It is a widely shared conviction. And what’s more, it’s put into practice by people who aren’t counted in that “one percent” we’re supposed to find insignificant.

Also see:

Videos! Media firestorm over Geller and Spencer’s tactics in the fight to protect free speech

freedom_of_speechI like Phyllis Chesler’s even handed assessment of this debate –

Many elitists and scholars favor  “nuance;” “sensitivity;” “anti-racism,” “inter-faith dialogue.” But they should favor freedom more and double standards less. Westerners have absolutely no trouble criticizing Christianity and Judaism. Why so much angst about criticizing one religion only: Islam?  If what Geller, Spencer, and Wilders have just done advances the cause of freedom of speech, we may not all have to follow their tactics, but we should at least acknowledge that we support their goals.

If not, what exactly are our alternatives?

There are so many videos coming out that I decided to post them all here. I’ll be adding more as they become available. If you see any good ones, please post them in a comment.

Update, May 6: 16 videos and counting! Some very good discussions going on. Say what you will about Geller – she has jump started the mainstream media into covering the threat to free speech! The people who attended the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest did so voluntarily with knowledge of the risk. And AFDI paid for their own security. I myself would not have used such a tactic but Freedom of Speech is an idea worth dying for. This is an opening to educate the public on just how close we are to losing it. It is interesting that Geller in the past has come out against Quran burning as being unnecessarily provocative and has said that book burning is not the answer…more speech is the answer. Going forward, I think it will be hard for her to pull off another event like this due to the cost and finding a willing venue. Spencer said it cost about 50 thousand dollars in all.

Update, May 10: Pamela has been pointing out something completely missing in the Garland jihad attack coverage –

If we had a responsible media, they would report more of the positive developments in light of the terror attack. The jihadists were the end of the line. By drawing them out, we exposed their network. We were able to expose the network without getting anyone killed. The FBI are now going after the sources. They are gleaning intel from their computers as we speak. We smoked out a terror structure.

The FBI has put more American terror suspects under constant surveillance following the deadly attack. Every city across US had “subjects of concern.” The military is taking the threat seriously enough to raise the threat level to one of the highest levels it has reached since 911.

Islam and Free Speech: Missing the Point in Garland

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The purpose of the free-speech event was to highlight the threat posed by Islamic supremacists.

National Review, by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY May 4, 2015:

‘Even free-speech enthusiasts are repulsed by obnoxious expression.” That acknowledgment prefaces the main argument I’ve made in Islam and Free Speech, a just-released pamphlet in the Broadside series from Encounter Books. Alas, in view of last night’s deadly events at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, the argument is more timely than I’d hoped.

In Garland, two jihadists opened fire on a free-speech event that was certain to be offensive to many Muslims. The gunmen wounded a security guard before being killed when police returned fire. The jihadists are reported to be roommates who resided in Phoenix. As this is written, only one of them has been identified: Elton Simpson. The wounded security guard, Bruce Joiner, was treated and released. Joiner works for the Garland Independent School District, which owns the Culwell Center.

Simpson was apparently what my friend, terrorism analyst Patrick Poole, describes as a “known wolf.” That’s a radical Muslim whom the Obama administration and the media are wont to dismiss as an anonymous, unconnected loner but who, in fact, has previously drawn the attention of national-security agents over suspected jihadist ties.

Simpson previously attempted to travel to Africa, apparently to join al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda franchise. He was reportedly convicted of lying to FBI agents, though a judge found the evidence insufficient to prove he was trying to join the terror group. The al-Shabaab connection seems salient now: Police are investigating tweets about the Garland event prior to the violence, allegedly posted by a young al-Shabaab jihadist who is said to be an American citizen.

The Garland free-speech event was a contest, sponsored by Pamela Geller’s New York–based American Freedom Defense Initiative. Participants were invited to draw cartoons of Islam’s prophet, in homage to the Charlie Hebdo artists killed by jihadists in France. Besides Ms. Geller, the featured speaker at the event was Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian whose life has been threatened for years for speaking openly about the scriptural moorings of Islamic terrorism. Al-Qaeda has publicly called for Wilders to be killed, and a notorious Australian imam called on Muslims to behead him because anyone who “mocks, laughs [at], or degrades Islam” must be killed by “chopping off his head.”

In Garland, activists opposed to the violence endorsed by Islamic doctrine and to the repression inherent in sharia law were invited to draw caricatures of Mohammed, with a $10,000 prize awarded to the “best” one. The contest was sure to yield images offensive to Muslims just as transgressive artist Andres Serrano had to know the public exhibition of his Piss Christ photograph would offend Christians.

Yet, as I argue in Islam and Free Speech, it will not do to blame the messenger for the violence. The shooting last night was not caused by the free-speech event any more than the Charlie Hebdo murders were caused by derogatory caricatures, or the rioting after a Danish newspaper’s publication of anti-Islam cartoons was caused by the newspaper. The violence is caused by Islamic supremacist ideology and its law that incites Muslims to kill those they judge to have disparaged Islam.

It will not do to blame the messenger for the violence. The shooting last night was not caused by the free-speech event any more than the Charlie Hebdo murders were caused by derogatory caricatures.

Christians were offended by Piss Christ, but they did not respond by killing the “artist” or blowing up the exhibiting museum. If any had, they would have been universally condemned for both violating society’s laws and betraying Christian tenets. In such a case, we would have blamed the killers, not the provocative art. There can be no right against being provoked in a free society; we rely on the vigorous exchange of ideas to arrive at sensible policy. And the greater the threat to liberty, the more necessary it is to provoke. 

The threat to liberty in this instance is sharia blasphemy law. A bloc of Muslim-majority countries, with the assistance of the Obama administration (led by the U.S. State Department, particularly under Hillary Clinton), is trying to use international law to impose Islam’s repressive law to make it illegal to subject Islam to negative criticism. No sensible person favors obnoxious expression or gratuitous insult. But as I contend in the pamphlet, there is a big difference between saying “I object to this illustration of insensitivity and bad taste” and saying “I believe that what repulses me should be against the law.”

Ms. Geller’s detractors are predictably out in droves today, prattling about how the violence would not have happened were it not for the offensive display. No one would feel deprived by the lack of sheer insult, they say, so wouldn’t it be better to compromise free-expression principles in exchange for achieving peaceful social harmony? But that line of thinking puts violent extortionists in charge of what we get to speak about — an arrangement no free society can tolerate.

It is very unfortunate that this debate is so often triggered by forms of expression that non-jihadists will find insulting and therefore that even anti-jihadists will find uncomfortable to defend. This grossly understates the stakes involved. This is about much more than cartoons. As I outline in Islam and Free Speech, classical sharia forbids most artistic representations of animate life, not just expressions that are obviously sacrilegious. More significantly, it deems as blasphemous not just expressions that insult the prophet and Islam itself but also

critical examinations of Islam . . . especially if they reach negative conclusions or encourage unbelief[;] proselytism of religions other than Islam, particularly if it involves encouraging Muslims to abandon Islam[; and any] speech or expression [that] could sow discord among Muslims or within an Islamic community. And truth is not a defense.

It is not the purpose of Pam Geller, Geert Wilders, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, and other activists to insult Muslims. Their mission is to awaken us to the challenge of Islamic supremacists — not just the violent jihadists but also the powerful Islamist forces behind the jihad. Islamists are attempting to coerce us into abandoning our commitment to free expression. They are pressuring us to accommodate their totalitarian system rather than accepting assimilation into our liberty culture.

You may not like the provocateurs’ methods. Personally, I am not a fan of gratuitous insult, which can antagonize pro-Western Muslims we want on our side. But let’s not make too much of that. Muslims who really are pro-Western already know, as Americans overwhelmingly know, that being offended is a small price to pay to live in a free society. We can bristle at an offense and still grasp that we do not want the offense criminalized.

It would be easy, in our preening gentility, to look down our noses at a Mohammed cartoon contest. But we’d better understand the scope of the threat the contest was meant to raise our attention to — a threat triggered by ideology, not cartoons. There is in our midst an Islamist movement that wants to suppress not only insults to Islam but all critical examination of Islam. That movement is delighted to leverage the atmosphere of intimidation created by violent jihadists, and it counts the current United States government among its allies.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Garland Shooting: The Jihad Against Free Speech Comes to Texas

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Breitbart, by Phyllis Chesler, May 4, 2015:

We are living in infamous times. Reality outpaces fiction, and the worst case scenarios keep unfolding in our daily headlines.

Critics of torturers and mass murderers are demonized as “extremists” and “provocateurs.” Israel is accused of human rights atrocities it has never committed by those very entities who themselves actually commit such atrocities; anyone who points this out is deemed an “extreme conservative” and a “racist.” Anti-infidel hate speech—as long as it is directed against America and Israel—is seen as protected by the First Amendment and by the doctrine of Free Speech; exposing the diabolical Big Lies is considered politically incorrect “racist” hate speech which has no place in the Western media, on campus, at the UN, or in any international human rights organization.

Either the West fights back or it surrenders to these Orwellian rules. Many Western intellectuals prefer scapegoating Israel and surrendering quietly to these diabolical Islamist rules rather than risk their reputations and their lives.

Some of us fight back. We do so in different ways. Some of us use only our pens. Others launch demonstrations and lawsuits. Some do both—and some push the envelope, looking for certain trouble, welcoming it, in order to provide an object lesson to those who will not see the Jihad that is upon us, the Jihad that only Israel once faced, the Jihad that is destroying the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Now jihad just took place in Garland, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, in the United States of America.

Enter Pamela Geller, the blogger-activist and founder of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), Robert Spencer, the best-selling author and founder of JihadWatch, and Dutch Parliamentarian and filmmaker Geert Wilders—all long-time freedom fighters against radical, terrorist Islamism. These three have just joined the august ranks of the publisher of the original Mohammed cartoons and the International and Danish Free Press Societies, not only in terms of their having all been awarded pariah status as “Islamophobes” and “racists,” but now in terms of having “provoked” criminal gunfire.

The British and American media has identified a suspected former terrorist Elton Simpson as one of the two gunmen who shot an officer protecting the AFDI’s Mohammed Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest award ceremony yesterday. Both gunmen were shot dead and an officer was wounded. The gunmen lived in Phoenix, Arizona and was on an FBI “No-fly” list.

Shortly before the attempted attack, an account believed (though not confirmed) to belong to Simpson tweeted “May Allah accept us as mujahideen.” Another tweet, registered toAbuHussainAlBritani reads: “When will the kuffar understand and stop insulting the prophet s.a.w? learn from history & save your people! #Paris #Denmark#Texas.”

According to the Daily Mail, followers of ISIS had been “calling for an attack online for more than a week after learning about the cartoon contest.”

This event was a “defiant gesture” in support of Free Speech in the wake of the January massacre of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists—and, I would add, in the wake of the cowardice of those PEN authors who are protesting the Freedom of Expression Courage award being given to a surviving Charlie Hebdo editor and a cartoonist.

Geller wrote on her website, “This is a war. This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?”

Free speech and, in America, the First Amendment, were crafted to protect all free speech, including that which some people find offensive or even scurrilous. We are not all meant to like or agree with it. This concept is the fruit of centuries of Western-style evolution, something that Islam has never enjoyed.

In Islam, “blasphemy” as well as “apostasy” are viewed as capital offenses. In 1988, when Salman Rushdie published a novel that the Ayatollah Khomeini profoundly disagreed with, the Ayatollah did not write an opposing novel or critique. In 1989, he issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death and the Iranian government backed this fatwa through 2005. Rushdie lived in hiding and with police protection. One of Rushdie’s translators was murdered, bookstores were firebombed, publishers threatened.

Publishers as well as authors began to self-censor.

In 2004, Dutch filmmaker, Theo Von Gogh was butchered by Moroccan-Dutch jihadist, Mohamed Bouyeri, who did not like Von Gogh’s (and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s) filmed critique of Islam’s treatment of women.

In 2005, Flemming Rose published the original Mohammed cartoons in Jyllens-Posten, the Danish newspaper. These cartoons were relatively tame. Jihadists secretly added some more malicious cartoons to the mix—and sent it around the globe via the internet. Violent and highly choreographed riots ensued around the world. Gunmen in Gaza invaded the EU’s offices there demanding an apology.

Between 2005-2013, protests spread across the Middle East. Infidel Embassies were attacked. Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons and reaped a whirlwind of lawsuits and attacks.

In 2008, the Danish police arrested several suspects who were plotting to kill Kurt Westergaard, the original Mohammed cartoonist.

In 2009, Yale University Press published a book about the cartoon controversy by Jytte Klausen. However, without telling the author, the Press removed the actual cartoons from her book.

In 2010, a Somali Muslim with an ax and a knife entered Westergaard’s house; luckily, Westergaard fought him off.

In 2010, American cartoonist Molly Norris proposed an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” She published her own rather harmless and funny cartoon. Norris has had to live in hiding ever since. In hiding. In America.

In 2011, Charlie Hebdo’s offices were burned down in an arson attack the day after they published an issue with the prophet Mohammed as the Editor-in-Chief.

In early 2015, Jihadists massacred 12 Charlie Hebdo writers in Paris; for good measure, they murdered five Jews later the same day.

Also in 2015, in Copenhagen, a gunmen opened fire at a debate on Islam and Free Speech. One documentary filmmaker, Finn Noergaard, was shot and three police officers were injured. The shooter, Omar Abdel Hamid el-Hussein, got away and soon after murdered a security guard at a synagogue; he was then killed.

Now, Jihadists have attacked Free Speech in America. Whether or not people find Geller, Spencer and Wilders “extremely provocative troublemakers” both they and We the People are absolutely entitled under our laws to exercise our First Amendment rights. About anything.

We cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater. Some believe that Geller et al are doing just that, causing trouble when trouble can be avoided if one only follows Islamist guidelines.

Many elitists and scholars favor  “nuance;” “sensitivity;” “anti-racism,” “inter-faith dialogue.” But they should favor freedom more and double standards less. Westerners have absolutely no trouble criticizing Christianity and Judaism. Why so much angst about criticizing one religion only: Islam?  If what Geller, Spencer, and Wilders have just done advances the cause of freedom of speech, we may not all have to follow their tactics, but we should at least acknowledge that we support their goals.

If not, what exactly are our alternatives?

*****

Let the conversation begin:

Watch VIDEO: CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Cross-Examines Defendant Pamela Geller