AFDI free speech victory: Philadelphia must run ad against Islamic antisemitism

8c0a8e142cb440ce8754fc552c00e292Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, March 12, 2015:

Ace lawyer David Yerushalmi’s parting words below are worth setting in stone: “A word of advice to government bureaucrats doing the Muslim Brotherhood’s bidding: we will sue you and you will lose. Act accordingly.”

At AFDI, we are not just raising awarness of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat with our campaigns; we’re also setting legal precedents that have implications that can’t be understated: for decades, the left has been chipping away at our First Amendment rights. Without most Americans realizing, they’ve placed almost as many hedges and restrictions around the First Amendment as they have the Second.

This has to stop. The freedom of speech is the cornerstone of any free society. Without it, a tyrant can do whatever he wants and those who oppose him won’t be able to speak out. That’s just what all too many of our “leaders” want today: to be able to do their evil deeds without a murmer of dissent from the public.

At AFDI, we are standing up and saying no. We are defending not just our own rights, but those of every American. In city after city, we are rolling back rules and regulations that for too long have allowed only one point of view to have a public hearing.

Enough is enough. If we don’t stand now for freedom, it could be lost to us forever. Our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the great cause of the defense of freedom. So do we.

“Federal Judge Orders SEPTA to Display ‘Stop the Islamic Jew-Hatred’ Advertisement,” American Freedom Law Center, March 12, 2015:

Late yesterday, a federal judge sitting in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted the American Freedom Law Center’s (AFLC) motion for a preliminary injunction, holding that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) refusal to run a “Stop the Islamic Jew-Hatred” advertisement on its advertising space violated the First Amendment.  As part of his ruling, the judge ordered SEPTA to run the ad.  (Read the judge’s Memorandum Opinion here).

The motion was filed on behalf of the advertisement’s sponsors, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and its co-founders, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and is part of a civil rights lawsuit filed against SEPTA last year.

In May of 2014, AFDI submitted the below advertisement for display on SEPTA’s advertising space:

Pro-Israel Ad

SEPTA rejected the ad, claiming that it “tends to disparage or ridicule any person or group of persons on the basis of race, religious belief, age, sex, alienage, national origin, sickness or disability.”

In its court filings, AFLC argued that SEPTA’s speech restriction is content- and viewpoint-based in violation of the First Amendment.  The federal judge agreed with AFLC on all of the issues presented, holding “that SEPTA’s anti-disparagement standard violates the First Amendment,” and stating further that he was “compelled to [reach this conclusion] under established First Amendment precedent.”

Robert Muise, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, commented,

“AFLC has made it clear in lawsuits across the country that government censorship of speech will not stand in the face of serious judicial scrutiny.  Indeed, it is refreshing, but unfortunately rare these days, to have a case before a judge who is ‘compelled’ by the law and not by his only personal biases or political agenda when deciding important constitutional issues.”

David Yerushalmi, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, added,

“Across the country, we have successfully litigated cases where government transit authorities permit the Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas front groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations to run ads misleading the public about Jihad and Islamic Jew hatred.  When our clients run ads exposing this Jew hatred, all of a sudden the transit authorities are worried about the ‘tone’ of the conversation and attempt to shut it down.  A word of advice to government bureaucrats doing the Muslim Brotherhood’s bidding: we will sue you and you will lose.  Act accordingly.”

Also see:

WATCH You’ve Been Warned: The Dark Future of Europe, by an Expert on Muslim Radicalisation

Jihad-French-Army-640x480Breitbart, by OLIVER LANE, 8 Mar 2015:

George Igler, the director of the Discourse Institute, a think-tank which monitors the suppression of freedom of speech and offers support and protection to those who are persecuted for voicing controversial opinions in Europe was interviewed by American television network CBN for a new feature series called Warnings. Focussing on the expert analysis of world leading thinkers on subjects posing challenges to the Christian West, Igler was asked to speak on the topics that, in the words of CBN senior reporter Dale Hurd: “you should be hearing from the “mainstream media” but aren’t because of its bowing and bondage to political correctness and, in some cases, cultural Marxism.

“These will be, in many cases, dark visions of the future, because Europe, if it doesn’t wake up, faces a dark future”.

Speaking on the duplicity of the European political class, Igler said the spectre of resurgent Fascism and the “far right” had been used as a smoke screen to distract people, remarking: “it’s not thanks to Philip Dewinter and Vlaams Belang [A Belgian political party that would oblige migrants to adopt local customs and culture] that the Jewish population of Antwerp is currently under guard from Belgian paratroopers, it’s the fact that Belgium has a huge Muslim population. Brussels has a 26-percent Muslim population.

“There are a lot of particularly left wing political analysts who made a lot of money in a anti-radicalisation industry saying the real thing to fear was the growth of the far-right”.

Igler later speaks of literalistic interpretations of the Koran which are becoming more common in Britain, and dominate the thinking of the Islamic State: “If you believe in the five words in Chapter (2:191) that Idolatry is worse than carnage… then you are not an equal and relevant part of Western society, you are in fact a colonist. You are someone who has exactly the same opinions and intentions towards 21st century Europe, that Europeans had towards the Americas in the 17th and 18th centuries.

“This is a reality that we are forced to live with. Somewhere, at some decision making process it has been decided up on high that my continent, and the rights and freedoms that uniquely evolved here over 3,000 years are somehow at the stage in which Islam should be allowed to moderate”.

Watch Warnings

 

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American Jailed In UAE For ‘Cyber Slander Against Islam’ on Facebook

UAE-flag-Reuters-640x480Breitbart, by John Hayward, March 4, 2015:

The Tampa Tribune brings us the amazing and outrageous story of local helicopter mechanic Ryan Pate, who worked as a contractor for a company called Global Aerospace Logistics, headquartered in the United Arab Emirates. Pat was arrested in the UAE for an offending Facebook post.

According to Pate, he began suffering back problems and, with a recommendation from his doctors in the United States, wanted to leave the company’s employ. This turned into an ugly dispute in which he was summoned to the UAE for further medical testing, and his pay was frozen. Angered by these developments, Pate vented on his Facebook page – something that has become a remarkably common end to jobs around the world. Pate was arrested and thrown in jail by Abu Dhabi police when he arrived in the United Arab Emirates, charged with violating their speech codes by making “cyber slander against Islam, cyber slander against the UAE, cyber slander against his employer and cyber slander against management.”

He spent ten days in the Emirates slammer – following a booking procedure that involved making him sign Arabic paperwork he couldn’t read, and some rather suspicious “confusion about his nationality” on the part of the police – before the U.S. Embassy tracked him down and got him out on bail.  He is scheduled to stand trial on March 17, facing up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine, even though the “slander against Islam” and “slander against the UAE” charges were dropped. He has already incurred hefty legal fees, leading his fiancee Jillian Cardoza to set up a GoFundMe account to ask for help. The couple’s savings have already been wiped out.

A bit of reading between the lines is necessary to glean exactly what Pate said on Facebook that raised the ire of his UAE employers and their government, but evidently he said some “disparaging racial remarks” about “filthy Arabs” and was highly critical of Global Aerospace Logistics, warning readers of his Facebook page not to work for them. Pate says he got a break on the charges of insulting the United Arab Emirates because they decided his insulting remarks were a “generalization” against Arabs and not a direct slam on the UAE.

“I fully understand the laws of the UAE regarding social media and respect the sovereignty of your kingdom to defend and uphold its laws,” Jolly wrote in a letter to the Attorney General in Abu Dhabi. “However, the Facebook messages that were posted by Mr. Pate were written while he was residing in the United States. Under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Mr. Pate is protected under U.S. law to freely express his opinion regardless of the content. As such it is deeply troubling that Mr. Pate now faces judicial proceedings over an action that was done legally in his home country.”

Jolly asked for clemency and permission for Pate to return to the United States. He has also written to Secretary of State John Kerry to ask for the State Department’s assistance.

Pate is still in the Emirates at the time of this writing.

This story is about an American citizen typing up something offensive in the United States, and getting sandbagged by foreign speech enforcers. As Cardoza pointed out, he was not even aware of the Orwellian speech codes he was violating – he was lured into the clutches of the enforcers by traveling to their considerably less free home turf. Cardoza said that her first priority was to keep her fiancee out of jail, but added her secondary goal was “for people to understand the laws over there. I never heard of anything like this before. Even the U.S. Embassy was confused.”

Nobody should be confused about freedom of speech and America’s unwavering commitment to it – not here, and not in any benighted corner of the unfree world. Employers are certainly entitled to sever their relationships with employees who insult them or damage their operations; legal redress is available for libelous statements and breaches of contract. What Ryan Pate is dealing with is absurd. Speech control is a contagious virus, and if we keep offering such laws respect they do not deserve, we’re likely to catch it.

***

 

Also see:

National Security Expert: U.S. Foreign Policy Leaders ‘Have Lost The Ability To Think’

coughlinDaily Caller, Ginni Thomas, Feb. 22, 2015: (video at Daily Caller)

From his time briefing generals in the Pentagon, Stephen Coughlin — a leading expert on national security and author of the soon-to-be-published book, “Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad” — has always feared for our nation’s safety and thinks it’s time for the government to stop lying.

Coughlin is an attorney, decorated intelligence officer and expert on Islamic law and terrorism. He says the “entire world, friend and foe alike, understands, that starting with the Bush administration and accelerating in the Obama administration, that our foreign policy community is absolutely incoherent and completely vulnerable. These people have lost the ability to think.”

He contends that government bureaucrats have become so focused on fighting “narratives” consistent with a post-modern, politically correct worldview, rather than the facts on the ground, that America’s war on terrorism has become a catastrophic failure.

Rather than be tethered to the professional canon requiring a “duty to be competent” and know the enemy, or their oath to support and defend the nation from enemies foreign and domestic, Coughlin argues the military has been persuaded, cajoled and perverted into fighting based on narratives.

“This country is in serious trouble,” he believes. “The people who hate us — and it’s not just radical Islam, it’s the Chinese, it’s the Russians, it’s the Iranians — they know that our leaders don’t know what they’re doing, because they’ve been kicking the tires.”

In this exclusive video interview with The Daily Caller, Coughlin says our allies in the war of terror “watched us change sides” in 2010 and 2011, but “the scariest thing” to him “is that our senior national security leaders seem to have no comprehension that they did.”

As for President Obama’s Summit this week, Coughlin sees the touted euphemism as an example of his point, and declares, “When you are fighting ‘violent extremism,’ you are not defending this country. You are bringing it down.”

His greatest fear is that “we may be put to sleep, like the frog that boils to death, mired in the pollution of our own politically correct narratives that has created a complete inability for us to understand and further the truth, so much so, that we have to treat the truth as propaganda just to be heard.”

Discussing the 2009 Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, Coughlin says this is a clear example that when you commit to a narrative, you can suppress the truth and undermine our national security. He says Hasan told us “at the Walter Reed and the Pentagon, over 20 times” to military officers that, “I am a Muslim. If you send me to war, I will become a jihadi.”

Coughlin describes the efforts by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to work with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), an international organization with 57 Member States (56 countries and the Palestinian Territories) concerning their 10 Year Programme of Action to make defaming Islam a punishable crime.

The UN Human Rights Commission passed UN Resolution 1618, to implement OIC’s 10 year plan. If it becomes law, “it would have the effect of subordinating our first amendment to Islamic slander laws,” Coughlin says. He discusses a meeting then-Secretary Clinton had on July 15, 2011 in Turkey where Clinton promised to use the government’s “best efforts to pass 16/18, and would resort to peer pressure and shaming against Americans who might violate that standard.”

The security expert claims this would result in an “extra-legal means to attack Americans for exercising their free speech rights inside America if they say something that the OIC deems insulting.”

To Coughlin, this is a layered strategy that calls for the dots to be connected by astute citizens. There is Islamic slander law, the OIC’s Ten Year Programme of Action and UN Resolution 16/18. Now, alongside Resolution 16/18 at the UN, is a new supporting effort to redefine “incitement” in international treaties to which the U.S. is a party to achieve their controversial objectives.

Coughlin’s hope is that more citizens should confidently and strongly ask, why is our government lying to us.

Under Sharia Speech Law that Europe Has and Obama Wants, Truth Is No Defense

Obama-muslim2National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Feb. 16, 2015:

Roger Kimball highlights a Gatestone Institute report by the editors of Dispatch International about the explosion of rape in Sweden. As the country’s make-up has dramatically changed due to mass immigration, particularly from Muslim countries in the Middle East and northern and eastern Africa, the number of rapes reported to police has increased by an astonishing 1,472 percent — from 421 in 1975 to 6,620 last year.

Roger observes:

Note that conspicuous by its absence is any mention of who it is who is committing the rapes. Gatestone quotes Michael Hess, a local politician from the Sweden Democrat Party: “When will you journalists realize that it is deeply rooted in Islam’s culture to rape and brutalize women who refuse to comply with Islamic teachings. There is a strong connection between rapes in Sweden and the number of immigrants from MENA-countries [Middle East and North Africa].”

For that bit of plain speaking, Hess was handed a fine and a suspended jail sentence by a Swedish court.  Was what he said untrue?  Truth was not something the court cared about: “The Court [Tingsrätten] notes that the question of whether or not Michael Hess’s pronouncement is true, or appeared to be true to Michael Hess, has no bearing on the case. Michael Hess’s statement must be judged based on its timing and context.”

Now, as I’ve related here a number of times, President Obama, with energetic assistance from Hillary Clinton, has been trying to saddle the United States withsharia blasphemy standards since taking office in 2009. Strategically, the administration pushes for these speech restrictions, which violate the First Amendment, in the context of violence committed after the publication of words, exhibitions or artistic representations that are unquestionably insulting toward Islam. In actuality, there is more insult to Islam in the administration’s intimation that barbaric Muslim reactions to merely obnoxious speech are to be expected. But I want to focus, once again, on free expression.

We need to understand that, contrary to Obama administration suggestions, what is at stake is not just speech that almost all of us would agree is in bad taste and that would not be missed if it were barred. What is at stake is the ability to tell the truth. What is at stake is the ability of a free society to engage in robust discussion in order to develop public policy, particularly security and crime-prevention.

As I wrote here after jihadists carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

The Islamist–progressive alliance I explored in The Grand Jihad would have you believe that accommodating sharia blasphemy rules would result in only a narrow limitation on free expression crudely obnoxious toward Islam, the sort of thing few of us would lament — e.g., expression analogous to the nauseating Piss Christ. This, however, is simply false.

Sharia forbids any speech — whether true or not — that casts Islam in an unfavorable light, dissents from settled Muslim doctrine, has the potential to sow discord within the ummah, or entices Muslims to renounce Islam or convert to other faiths. The idea is not merely to ban gratuitous ridicule — which, by the way, sensible people realize government should not do (and, under our Constitution, may not do) even if they themselves are repulsed by gratuitous ridicule. The objective is to ban all critical examination of Islam, period – even though Islamic supremacism, a mainstream interpretation of Islam, happens to be a top national-security threat that we sorely need to examine if we want to understand and defeat our enemies.

The Swedish prosecution of Michael Hess that Roger and the Gatestone report discuss usefully highlights this problem. Hess did not gratuitously insult Islam or Muslims. He addressed the cause of a surge in rape, a phenomenon that profoundly affects public safety in Sweden and that (as noted by those of us who have discussed the nexus between rape and jihad) is promoted by a scripturally-based interpretation of Islam. Yet the court silenced him, not because what he said was false or slanderous, but because saying it might promote hostility toward Islam.

This is exactly what President Obama and Mrs. Clinton have tried to do, particularly in their collusion with Islamist governments in U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which aims to prohibit any speech that casts Islam in an unfavorable light (under the guise of “inciting hostility” to religion).

As we saw again this weekend, this time in Copenhagen, Europe is now living with the consequences of welcoming massive immigration from sharia cultures, tolerating the demands of Islamic leaders that Muslims resist assimilation, passively watching the inexorable rise of radical Islam, and cracking down only on Europeans and others who dare to raise questions about the wisdom of it all.

Don’t think it can’t happen here.

Geert Wilders to Keynote Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Texas

AP Photo/Cynthia Boll

AP Photo/Cynthia Boll

Breitbart, by BOB PRICE, Feb. 15, 2015:

Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders will deliver the keynote address at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest being held on May 3rd, in Garland, Texas. The Art Exhibit is being put on by Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). It will be put on at the same facility in Garland as the Honor the Prophet Conference that was held by a pro-Islamic group in January.

Wilders earned international recognition in the free speech movement when he was brought up on charges for speaking out against Islam at a March, 2014, rally where he promised to reduce the number of Moroccans living in the Netherlands. “The public prosecutor in The Hague is to prosecute Geert Wilders on charges of insulting a group of people based on race and incitement to discrimination and hatred,” prosecutors said in a statement, according to an article by Sam Webb on the DailyMail.

“Politicians may go far in their statements, that’s part of freedom of expression, but this freedom is limited by the prohibition of discrimination,” prosecutors stated.

Time Magazine called Wilders “The ‘Prophet’ Who Hates Muhammad.”  Winston Ross wrote, ”Wilders may look just as cartoonish as The Donald. But unlike Trump, he’s a legitimate force in politics. For nearly a decade, he’s served as the leader of Holland’s anti-Islamic political party, and he regularly uses his platform to denounce not only violent jihadists but all of Islam.”

Muhammad_Cartoon_Event

 

Breitbart Texas previously reported the announcement of the art exhibit. Geller’s event comes on the wake of the Islamic terrorist attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in January. Following the attack, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) scheduled the “Stand with the Prophet” conference at the public school district’s conference center. Geller, the President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), scheduled a protest outside the event that was attended by approximately 2,000 people.

“Enough is enough,” she explained in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “They’re just cartoons. We’re holding this exhibit and cartoon contest to show how insane the world has become — with people in the free world tiptoeing in terror around supremacist thugs who actually commit murder over cartoons. If we can’t stand up for the freedom of speech, we will lose it — and with it, free society.”

In addition to the art and cartoons featuring The Prophet Muhammad, the exhibit will also have presentations from other free speech advocates.

“Of course, this event will require massive security,” she assured potential attendees. “But this exhibit has to be staged. If we don’t show the jihadis that they will not frighten us into silence, the jihad against freedom will only grow more virulent.”

The art exhibit and contest will culminate with the award of a $10,000 prize for the best artwork or cartoon. Geller also announced on Sunday that there will also be a $2,500 People’s Choice Award. People wanting to submit artwork or cartoons for consideration may do so by sending an email to MuhammasArtExpo@gmail.com.

The Expo will be held at Garland Independent School District’s Curtis Culwell Center on May 3rd, from 5 to 7 p.m. Central Time.

Bob Price is a senior political writer for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

Also see:

One Dead at Danish Free Speech Event in Assassination Attempt on Swedish Artist

Policemen secure the area around a buildCSP, by Kyle Shideler, Feb. 14, 2015:

Police in Copenhagen are currently searching for two gunmen who opened fire with automatic weapons on a cafe in the Danish capital, killing one and wounding several including police. At the time of the event, Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist best known for his cartoon of Mohammad as a “roundabout dog” (an iconic Swedish image), was in attendance.

larsvilks-226x300Vilks, who police believe was the target of the attack, has previously survived prior plots on his life including an attempted arson, and a plot involving American Islamic convert Collen Rose (aka “Jihad Jane”). The French ambassador to Denmark was also in attendance, and security was tight with multiple armed policeman providing security.

The topic of the presentation was on free speech, and the BBC noted the principal question focused on, “whether artists could “dare” to be blasphemous in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks by Islamist gunmen in Paris last month.”

With suspects not yet in custody (as of this writing), it’s too early to speculate whether the attackers will be linked to a jihadist organization such as Islamic State or Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (as the Charlie Hebdo attackers were), or if they will turn out to be “Known Wolves“, already on the radar screens of European intelligence.

But it is worth noting that the recent publication of the Islamic State’s “Dabiq” magazine Issue 7 focused extensively on the Charlie Hebdo attack and issued numerous and specific threats against supposed blasphemers, including U.S. citizens, and U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials should take seriously threats made against Americans for having violated sharia “blasphemy” laws. Like the Charlie Hebdo attack, today’s incident appears to be less about terrorism, than sharia enforcement. As a result, the response must include not only the full force of Western law enforcement capability targeting the individual terrorists, and their networks, but also a reiteration, by politicians and society more generally, of full throat-ed support for Western principles of free speech and a refusal to submit to the imposition of blasphemy laws, whether through violence, through international forums such as the Istanbul Process, or out of self-censorship.

Update:

The Sound of Silence

charlie hebdo cartoonsby Mark Steyn
Steyn on Britain
February 9, 2015

Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University is nobody’s idea of a right-winger. He voted for Obama, and supports almost all of his policy goals (if not his extra-constitutional methods). But, unlike most of the left, he’s still prepared to defend free speech against what he calls Charlie’s False Friends:

For civil libertarians, it is clear that when leaders insist that they “Stand with Charlie” it does not mean actually standing with free speech. To the contrary, the greatest threat facing free speech today is found in Western governments, which have increasingly criminalized and prosecuted speech, particularly anti-religious speech. Once the defining right of Western Civilization, free speech is dying in the West and few world leaders truly mourn its passing.

Around the world, speech is under attack under an array of hate speech and anti-discrimination laws… The result is a growing, if not insatiable, appetite for speech regulation that only increases after violent responses to controversial publications.

The most recent tragedy in France follows an all too familiar pattern from publication to prosecution. Consider what happened in 2005 with the publication of the Danish cartoons and the global riots leading to the murder of non-Muslims and burning of churches and homes. The West rallied around the right of free speech, but then quietly ramped up prosecutions of speech. It happened again in 2012 when a low-budget trailer of a low-grade movie was put on YouTube. The “Innocence of Muslims” trailer was deemed insulting to Mohammad and Islam and led to another global spasm of murder and arson by irate Muslims. Again, Western leaders professed support for free speech while cracking down further on anti-religious speech. Even in the United States, President Obama insisted that the filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula had every right to make the film. However, the next image that the world saw after that speech was filmmaker being thrown into a police car in handcuffs for technical violations of a probation on unrelated charges…

Professor Turley then lists a round-up of state assaults on freedom of expression from around the so-called free world, including my own difficulties in Canada. I doubt Turley agrees with a single one of these hatespeechers (including me) on the merits, but he recognizes that the point of free speech is for the speech you hate. If you don’t believe in free speech for those you hate, you don’t believe in free speech at all. And then he adds:

These cases represent more than a lack of support for free speech. They represent a comprehensive assault on free speech. Indeed, one of the world leaders proudly proclaiming support for free speech in Paris has banned the publication of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan called the use of the prophet’s image on the magazine an act of “sedition and provocation.”

Well, Turkey is hardly anyone’s idea of a crucible of liberty. But what are we to make of England, mother of the free? The other day Wiltshire Police went to a local newsagent and demanded that, in the interests of “community cohesion”, he hand over the names of every customer who bought a copy of Charlie Hebdo:

Mrs Keat, a self-confessed news junkie, ordered the magazine from a local newsagent in Corsham, Wiltshire, a week after the 7 January attacks in Paris. Two days after she bought her magazine, she learned that an officer had been back to ask for the names of the buyers.

The names and addresses of the buyers were added to an intelligence note and fed into a police crime and intelligence system, police confirmed. The force deleted the note after details of the visit came to light in a letter that Mrs Keat wrote to The Guardian and warned of the potential ramifications after seeing an advert for Je Suis Charlie badges…

What really is the difference between Charlie Hebdo‘s killers and Wiltshire Police? The anti-Charlie crowd made it clear years ago that they knew where the offending cartoonists were and one day they would get them. The Wiltshire Police are not so subtly telling Charlie‘s English readers that they know where you are – just in case one day they need to get you:

“Wiltshire Police would like to apologise to the members of public who may be affected by this. Information relating to this specific incident has been permanently and securely disposed of,” it said… “Wiltshire Police are confident that the police officer’s intention was purely around enhancing public safety and ensuring that the newsagent was advised appropriately.”

You can get away with anything when you smother it in blather about “enhancing” public safety and “advising appropriately”. But the fact remains that, a few days after the hideous opportunist Cameron was marching under the #JeSuisCharlie banner in Paris, his coppers were ordering newsagents to cough up the names of anyone who bought the magazine. This is Mother England in 2015: You can still read samizdat literature, but your name will be entered in a state database.

Equally disturbing was a recent English court judgment re the Home Office ban denying Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller entry into the United Kingdom. Their Lordships’ appalling decision essentially extends the heckler’s veto to Her Britannic Majesty’s immigration policy:

A British Court of Appeal handed down its judgment dismissing our appeal challenging our ban from entering the United Kingdom. The key element of its decision is its emphasis on the fact that “this was a public order case where the police had advised that significant public disorder and serious violence might ensue from the proposed visit.” In writing that judgment, Lord Justice Tomlinson (with whom Lord Justice Patten and Lord Justice Floyd agree) has only made it clear that the British government has decided to set aside established law and the freedom of speech in order to appease violent Muslims.

No serious person thinks Spencer and Geller are any threat to “public order”. They speak without incident all over not only the United States but also the Dominion of Canada, and without unduly stressing the Queen’s Peace. So, if they can’t speak without incident in the United Kingdom, that is a reflection not on them but on Britain. What Lord Justice Tomlinson means by the prospect of “serious violence” is that, if you’re booked to give a speech in Oxford and some Islamic grievance-mongers threaten to go bananas over it, your speech has to be forbidden in deference to the crazies. The decision thus incentivizes those who threaten violence. As Laura Rosen Cohen likes to say, “security concerns” are the new “shut up”.

And, if you think David Cameron’s ministry has grown far too comfortable with using state power to restrain the opinions of a free party, wait till the other fellows take over:

The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, will on Monday unveil a strategy to tackle the UK’s soaring rise in antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and abuse of people with disabilities. The package includes making homophobic and disability hate crimes an aggravated criminal offence, ensuring that police treat such offences in the same way as racist hate crimes.

Cooper will outline changes to the criminal records framework whereby such offences will be clearly marked on the criminal records of perpetrators. Currently, records checks do not highlight homophobia, disability or transgender identity as a motivating factor in a conviction, and do not automatically appear in police data used for vetting applicants in sensitive vocations, such as those working with vulnerable people, including the disabled.

Labour’s move comes as a new breakdown of police figures reveals an escalation in hate crimes since 2012, with a steep rise in abuse reported by the transgender community alongside the well-documented rises in antisemitism and Islamophobia.

As that grab-bag suggests, right now the leftie sexual identity groups are happy to make common cause with the Islamocrazies because they’re both about shutting people up. For example, the feminist comedienne Kate Smurthwaite is already in Britain so, unlike Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, she can’t be turned back at Heathrow. But she apparently holds insufficiently “respectful” attitudes to “sex workers”, so she had her speech at Goldsmiths College canceled because of – what else? – “security concerns“. The topic of her talk was, of course, free speech.

Professor Jonathan Turley says:

Western leaders have increasingly spoken out against the dangers of free speech. For politicians, free speech is an abstraction, the consequences of free speech tend to be more tangible in the form of riots and murders.

You don’t have to be a politician to think “free speech is an abstraction”. Robert Spencer might want to give speeches about Islam, and Mrs Keat might want to read Charlie Hebdo, but most people don’t want to give any speeches at all and are content to read Hello! or People or whatever’s filling the rack where Charlie Hebdo used to be. In some ways, it’s the easiest right to surrender, particularly to regimes that smother the expansion of state regulatory power in soothing twaddle about “enhancing public safety” to protect “vulnerable people”.

Speaking of “vulnerable people”, how about this headline from The Daily Mirror?

Child sex abuse gangs could have assaulted ONE MILLION youngsters in the UK

That’s according to Rotherham Labour MP Sarah Champion. Who knows if it’s true? On the one hand, Britain is so alert to “paedos” that, if some cheesy old Radio One disc-jockey is alleged to have grabbed the passing breast of a 15-year-old teenybopper on “Top Of The Pops” in 1973, he’ll be dragged through the courts and publicly ruined. But vast, systemic, industrial-scale 21st-century paedophilia by Muslim grooming gangs aided and abetted by law enforcement and local government will be ignored and hushed up – essentially in the interests of (what was that expression again?) “community cohesion”. It turns out free speech isn’t that “abstract”. When you so hedge in free expression with political correctness, you make it impossible even to raise certain subjects, and thereby facilitate real, non-abstract evil. The loss of free speech brings other losses, too.

Yet, looking at the ease with which governments of some of the oldest, freest societies on earth are shackling and restraining the right to speak, to read, to think, the obvious question to ask is what rights will they go after next? After all, if 300 years of free speech can be rolled back in the interest of “enhancing public safety”, why not property rights, due process, freedom of association, freedom of religion or even (gasp!) sexual liberty? Why think that statist restraints on core liberties will confine themselves to just one right?

~Mark’s book on this subject, Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech And The Twilight Of The West, has never been more timely. Personally autographed copies are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore, and, for instant gratification, non-autographed eBook editions are available from Amazon.com and other outlets.

Europe on Edge One Month After Charlie Hebdo

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
February 9, 2015

1119 (1)It didn’t take long.

Less than a month after the Charlie Hebdo murders and the slaughter of four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris, Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) has sent a warning now to Belgium: “This,” they wrote in a letter to Het Laatste News (HLN), “is only the beginning.”

The letter, received by HLN’s editors on Feb. 4, referred also to a series of attacks in France that pre-dated the Paris massacres: “What happened in France will happen, too, in Belgium,” the typewritten letter stated in perfect French, “and from Belgium, IS will conquer all of Europe.”

According to HLN, counterterrorism officials are taking the letter seriously and believe it is the legitimate work of an IS jihadist. More, they claim that the writer is aware of current events in Belgium, down to small details. (The full text of the letter has not been released.)

The same day, news arrived in the Netherlands that Dutch jihadist Abu Hanief had just blown himself up in Fallujah – the fourth Dutch Muslim to commit a suicide bombing in Syria or Iraq. Hanief, 32, had been among the leaders of pro-IS demonstrations last summer in the Hague in which demonstrators called for the death of Jews. Though he was arrested on charges of hate speech after the protest, he was soon released; and evidently, despite government efforts to confiscate or cancel the passports of Dutch Muslims suspected of planning to join the Syrian jihad, he shortly thereafter slipped out undetected.

This is Europe now, poised at a moment when, while anti-Semitism is at record highs in France and the UK, Muslim groups call for “anti-Islamophobia” policies and boycotts against Israel; when officials in Wolfsburg, Germany, are investigating an alleged jihadist cell with ties to IS and as many as 50 members, most of them living in Germany; when Belgian police have arrested 15 people in the town of Verviers (population 56,000) and several others throughout the country, all since the Paris terrorist attacks that ran from Jan. 7-Jan. 9.

And no wonder, as some so-called “mainstream” Muslims now refuse to distance themselves from the acts of Muslim terrorists – including the atrocities committed by the Islamic State: Noted Shabir Burhani, a religious Muslim in his 20s and a student at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, “We have to accept Islam in its entirety, not try to adjust it to the times. Sharia is part of it, as are jihad and the Islamic state.” But Burhani, who previously served as spokesman for the now-defunct Sharia4Holland, does not view ISIS as the ideal, he told Dutch daily Trouw. It’s not the murders themselves he rejects, he said, but “the way IS does it, and shows it off to the world can be counterproductive. Does that really benefit Islam?”

He is not the only one: at a Jan. 16 forum held in Amsterdam Muslim groups presented a manifesto against Islamophobia. Coming just days after the slaughter of four Jews in Paris and six months after the execution of four others in Brussels, the document begins by describing anti-Semitism in the Netherlands – where in August, Hanief led hundreds in a chant of “Kill Jews” – as “mild,” while “Islamophobia is anything but.”

And what are some of the symptoms of this “Islamophobia?”

Some are legitimate concerns: Muslim youth face job discrimination. Families receive hate letters from neighbors.

What else?

People demand that Muslims in the Netherlands distance themselves from Islamic terrorism.

Apparently this, as Burhani states, is anti-Islam.

Now, France debates the future of its cherished secularism and the future feasibility of a secular state in a democracy in which millions of religious Muslims, whose religion contradicts secular ideals, make their home. Many seem to feel that democracy demands allowing the religious to practice their beliefs – all beliefs, in all religions, as their faith requires. Secularism, they seem to suggest, is itself “Islamophobic.”

But if some believers demand the conquest of their faith over others, even by the sword, what then? If Burhani is right, and the jihadists of IS are merely practicing their religion, can a democratic society rightly shut them out?

It can. And it must. Secularism, after all, does not demand the faithful forfeit their belief within the private sphere. And neither does democracy. We must not allow radical and jihadist Muslims to conquer our bright democratic vision by blindly destroying it ourselves.

Why Charlie?

charlie_hebdo_wtc_1-30-15-1PJ Media, By David Solway On February 1, 2015

My friend Barbara Kay recently published a moving column mourning the twelve people killed at Charlie Hebdo. “Historically,” she writes, “the Islamist terror attack on Charlie Hebdo — I already think of it as 1/07 — will be seen as more devastating than 9/11.” The reason is that “those 12 people represented an institution that cannot be replaced with bricks and mortar. Those twelve iconoclasts were not collateral damage. They were the very spirit of freedom of speech, the pillar of democracy and free peoples everywhere. Spirits are not so easily rebuilt.”

It is a stirring piece expressing an unimpeachable sentiment. But the assault on Charlie Hebdo by no means marked a turning point, as she appeared to suggest. Far from a unique event, the Muslim campaign against free speech has been going on for many years now. Freedom, the right to dissent, the satirical genre — all have been dying for some time.

The Danish cartoons marked an identical watershed. The assassination of Dutch provocateur and filmmaker Theo Van Gogh marked an identical watershed, as did the death threats against his collaborator and Danish parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had his satirical drawings removed at a Tallerud art exhibition and who has an ISIS bounty on his head and is living under police protection, marks an identical watershed. The fatwa against Salman Rushdie and the killing of his Japanese translator marked the same watershed. Geert Wilders living under police protection marks the same watershed. Though later acquitted by the Danish Supreme Court, Lars Hedegaard’s remarks about the lethal dysfunction of many Muslim families, which led to his conviction for hate speech under the Article 266b of the Danish penal code and a subsequent assassination attempt, marks the same watershed. TheSouth Park controversy over the appearance of Mohammed dressed as a giant teddy bear marked the same watershed — the producers instantly caved following a threat issued on the Revolution Muslim website. Molly Norris, of “Let’s all Draw Mohammed” fame, still in hiding, marks the same watershed, as does the imprisonment of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula for producing a low-rent, little-watched video trailer, Innocence of Muslims, ridiculing Mohammed. Yale University Press refusing to print the Danish cartoons in a book dedicated to the subject marks the same watershed. The list goes on.

It’s been a long time since most ordinary or even celebrated people would dare to represent Mohammed or say anything mocking or even critical about the religion of hate. Our pusillanimous leaders and members of the intelligentsia buckled under to Islamic triumphalism some years back and evince a growing tendency to Sharia-compliance. If, after the Danish cartoon controversy, every single intellectual or public figure of any note had posted the cartoons, we would be in a different place today. But instead they joined in the chorus about responsibility and not unnecessarily offending pious people.

My own country, Canada, is traveling the same route to cultural perdition. Anti-Islamic firebrand Eric Brazeau, just sentenced to a year and a half in jail for reading out the Koran on a subway train, marks the same watershed. And the much maligned Ezra Levant, one of the few courageous journalists who actually printed the Danish cartoons as legitimate news depicting what the violence was all about, was sued by an offended imam, lost his magazine The Western Standard, found himself over $100,000 poorer, and is once again fighting in court. Few of us can approximate to his moral stature and his willingness to put himself on the line for an essential cause.

Meanwhile, the hundreds of journalists around the world wearing Je Suis Charlie banners don’t have the cojones to show what Stephane Charbonnier and his colleagues died for. And how many of our news outlets have actually reported the whole story, cartoons and all? The failure to defend our freedoms began ages ago when almost no one had the clarity of vision and the moral courage — certainly not our journalists, our politicos, our academics, our intellectuals, our entertainers — to man the barricades and fight against those who would deprive us of our rights. In fact, many of these pundits and news outlets saw fit to blame the victims for provoking the jihadists. This isn’t just a paradox; it’s bad faith, cowardice, hypocrisy and a form of cultural treason of the highest magnitude.

We are told ad nauseam that the terrorist atrocities we are witnessing on an almost daily basis have nothing to do with Islam — this despite the 25,000-plus Islamic-inspired terrorist attacks since the slaughter of 9/11. As for the bloodbath atCharlie Hebdo, the disavowals quickly set in. French president Francois Hollande lost no time flogging the tired mantra,assuring us with a straight face that the Charlie Hebdo perpetrators were “fanatics who have nothing to do with Islam.”Assem Shalaby, president of the Arab Publishers Association, has condemned “this vicious attack that contravenes the principles of Islam and the message of its prophet” — which it manifestly does not, as anyone even passably familiar with Islamic scripture, jurisprudence and orthodox commentary is immediately aware. Clearly, Josh Earnest, President Obama’s press secretary, is not, deponing on CNN that the Paris murders violate “the tenets of an otherwise peaceful religion” — unless, of course, like his master, he is lying through his teeth. At the same time, to cite Honest Reporting, “Conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites claim Israel is responsible for the Charlie Hebdo terror attack. The International Business Timessupplies the oxygen” — as does CNN and, of course, the ever dependable Ron Paul. True to form, plying a double disclaimer, the BBC described the event as “an apparent Islamist attack.” A win-win for Islam.

Indeed, the expression of official horror over the Paris tragedy and the discharge of mass sympathy for its victims were only convenient forms of evasive self-flattery in the absence of both foresight and political action that might have prevented this atrocity, as well as so many others. How much more bracing and honest the response of Israeli author Bat Zion Susskind-Sacks, who writes of the Paris Unity March (“this dog and pony show”) attended by international criminals and jihad sponsors like Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas: “NO, I am NOT Charlie! I am the four Jews who died in the hostage situation in Paris on Friday; I am the four praying Rabbis who were slaughtered in their Synagogue in Nof Yofeh in Yerushalayim last November; I am the little baby who was killed at the stop of the Light rail, when a terrorist drove his car directly and purposely into the crowd waiting for the tram to arrive; I am the 3 Yeshiva students who were kidnapped and slaughtered in cold blood by Hamas Islamist Jihadists in Judea last Summer.” Her point is unexceptionable. I have not seen anyone marching in Paris wearing an apron reading Je Suis Hyper Cacher.

Freedom of expression is on life support and the powers that be are ready to pull the plug. The moral qualities of honesty and courage — honor as traditionally understood — now languish atavistically in the cultural and political wasteland of the West. The dark continent of Europe, the Commonwealth nations, and America seem prepared to extinguish themselves as they promote the erosion of values that once sustained them — in iconic terms, the triumph of a fatuous grotesquery like Michael Moore over manly duty represented by Chris Kyle. We live in an “official” culture in which cowards call heroes cowards and alien prophets are welcomed as benefactors. The only ray of optimism in this desolate landscape emanates from the small but illustrious band of truth-tellers still active among us. It’s not much, but it’s all we have.

Andrew Klavan: Attack of the But-Heads!

Truth Revolt, by Andrew Klavan, Jan. 29, 2015:

That’s right. It’s the Attack of the But-Heads.

TRANSCRIPT:

I’m Andrew Klavan and this is the Revolting Truth.

Today a tale of horror all the more frightening because it’s true.

As a poisonous miasmic fog of sharia creeps like a poisonous miasmic fog of sharia across the nations of the west, strange creatures are growing up among us.  They are haunting our halls of power, the sewers of our news media and the circus tents of our universities. They move in hordes as mindless and destructive as the zombies in The Walking Dead or the Democrat voters in the last presidential election or the walking dead democrat voters in Chicago and Philadelphia.

If you listen carefully, in the watches of the night, you can hear these shambling monsters murmuring their eldritch refrain:  “I believe in Free speech but…  I support the first amendment but… I believe in free expression but…”

That’s right.  It’s The Attack of The But-Heads.

The “but” in the phrase “I believe in free speech but…” is bigger than Kim Kardashian’s, has more wiggle room than Jennifer Lopez’ and is as white and soft as Kate Upton’s…  all right, maybe I just got distracted on that last one.

But the point is…  the but-heads are everywhere and they’ve come to devour your rights, one exception at a time.

Consider this. When Islamist terrorists staged a vicious mass murder in Paris in response to a magazine satire of Muhammed, the terrorists declared, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” No, wait that wasn’t the terrorists that was President Obama.  No, no, it was the terrorists.  No, it was Obama.  No, it must’ve been the terrorists, right?

Obama:  The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

Anyway, whether it was the terrorists or our president, they were expressing the creeping but-head belief that there should be an exception to free speech when it comes to blasphemy.  The Obama administration has even lent support to United Nations efforts to curtail blasphemous speech, and in England, Italy and Holland, people are being prosecuted for anti-religious speech already.  Now I know, many of the west’s foundational nations had anti-blasphemy laws. That’s why they executed Socrates and Jesus. So what could possibly go wrong?

But in the present day, those who try to outlaw blasphemy only look like western human beings. They’re really but-heads.

In our media the horror continues. Even after the Paris slaughter, many western news outlets refused to display cartoons that had offended the delicate sensibilities of cold blooded Islamist butchers.  Editors at The New York Times, a former newspaper, said, “We do not normally publish… material deliberately intended to offend religious sensibilities.”  Which was a lie since they’ve repeatedly published material offensive to Christians.  But then the editors of the Times only look like free-speaking men and women…  they’re really but-heads.

Then there’s our universities. From Yale to Purdue to UC Berkeley, the academy’s but-heads have banned, persecuted and harassed students, teachers and visiting speakers whose speech violated leftist principles by being truthful about Islamism.

So be afraid.  The Nazi-like thugs of militant islam are only men and can be destroyed…  but the but-heads are the hollowed-out shell of free people animated by oppressive undead ideas.  They’re your worst nightmare.  No buts.

I’m Andrew Klavan with the Revolting Truth.

Islamists Seek to Restrict Free Speech Following Jihadist Assault

censor-450x304Frontpage, by Andrew Harrod, Jan. 30, 2015:

“Freedom of speech is not total,” proclaimed the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy’s (CSID) William Lawrence at its January 22 panel on the “Muslim Response to Charlie Hebdo:  Understanding the Root Causes of Radicalization.”  Lawrence’s caveat disturbingly introduced false justifications for non-violently achieving the very sharia censorship sought by Charlie Hebdo’s jihadist murderers before a National Press Club audience of about fifty.

The Islamist apologist CSID focused in the panel on Muslims and not the slain at Charlie Hebdo as victims.  Lawrence’s opening condemnation of the globally infamous January 7 Paris massacre as a “complete aberration” of “Islamic teachings” quickly gave way to criticism of the satire magazine’s victims.  Their murders were “orgies of violence unleashed on . . . purveyors” of “bigoted provocations,” making Charlie Hebdo’s satire not just irreverent, but immoral in Lawrence’s estimation.  “When did bigotry get so needy” that it sheltered behind free speech claims, Lawrence later asked while quoting an article criticizing cartoon racism, as if criticizing Islamic ideas equaled individual prejudice.  Accordingly, Lawrence cited the legally discredited phrase from American Supreme Court history that “you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater,” a universal talking point of censors.

Islamist and sharia apologist Dahlia Mogahed continued Lawrence’s use of the Muslim “race” card implicitly blaming the Charlie Hebdo victims and focused on Europe’s “limits and boundaries of tolerance.”  “Certain things will not be said” in the United States, “not because it’s illegal, but because it’s immoral,” she noted without defining Charlie Hebdo’s immorality.  Historic “offensive cartoons” of African-Americans make modern Americans “rightly cringe.”  Mogahed’s equivalence between racists and Charlie Hebdo entailed that the French should “hurry up and get enlightened” about satirists.  Yet Mogahed bemoaned how many instead sought merely to “reassert our right to offend.”

CSID President Radwan Masmoudi, like his fellow panelists, wrongly equated religious ideas with individuals as worthy of protection.  He emphasized that “every freedom also has limits” and excluded a “right to transgress on others” during audience questioning.  Masmoudi described a “big debate” over whether free speech includes a right to “insult others” or “religion.”

A bizarrely benign understanding of Islamic doctrine apparently underlay Masmoudi’s reverence for the faith.  He termed blasphemy provisions (often carrying the traditional Islamic death penalty) in countries like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia “un-Islamic” and a regime tool used as “only a façade” for popularity.  The new constitution in Masmoudi’s native Tunisia, he meanwhile declared, has “no blasphemy laws.”

An interview with Masmoudi, however, critically countered that Tunisian constitution’s Article 6 contained contradictory commitments to “freedom of belief” and to “protect the sacred” against blasphemy.  Masmoudi called Article 6 “one of the most difficult clauses” in the constitutional drafting, a clause negotiated until right before the January 26, 2014, ratification.  This article “meant to balance freedom of speech” and the position that “you should not attack others,” including the “religions or faiths or beliefs” with which they happen to identify.

Masmoudi’s protestations notwithstanding, he might as well support Muslim blasphemy laws.  Asked about speech restrictions in Muslim-majority countries, as exemplified by a 2013 conviction in the “model” Muslim democracy Turkey for tweets mocking Islam, Masmoudi referenced a supposed “right not to be insulted.”  “It is dangerous to insult people based upon their race or . . . religion,” Masmoudi elaborated with once again a race/religion conflation.  Such offenses are “not . . . conducive to peace or a democratic society,” Masmoudi added in his apparent acceptance of a violent heckler’s veto like that suffered by Charlie Hebdo.  For Masmoudi, who is “not a freedom of expression fundamentalist,” finding a “balance” between free speech and not upsetting religious feelings will be a “most difficult thing” and, worryingly, “will vary from one country to another.”

Masmoudi himself in the conversation undercut his absurd assertion during audience questioning that “freedom of religion is a very, very important and strong principle in Islam.”  Masmoudi noted that an addition to Article 6 prohibited apostasy accusations or takfir as a form of death threat.  Yet Masmoudi assured that “there is nothing in Islam in the text of the Quran or the sunnah” demanding death for apostasy, canonical texts, scholarly books, and widespread modern practice to the contrary notwithstanding.  Rather, Masmoudi insisted that apostasy death penalties came from “not Islamic law,” but somehow distinct “Islamic traditions . . . societies . . . cultures.”  Masmoudi similarly analyzed the origins of Islamic blasphemy laws, contradicting again Islamic canons (see here and here) and practice.

Such is the analysis of CSID, described by Lawrence as the world’s “preeminent NGO” for the “study of democratic and Islamic thought” and their “modern synthesis.”  Not free speech under murderous assault, but offense to Muslim religious sensibilities, falsely equated with prejudices like racism, formed the panel’s main concern demanding, where possible, legal restrictions.  Contrary to his assurances, Lawrence did not in any respect “move beyond” a supposedly “superficial binary” of “Muslim extremists” and free speech.  Islamic ideas in the panelists’ presentation, by contrast, are thoroughly benign and unworthy of any critical scrutiny.  The views of CSID and others ominously portend further future threats, even if not necessarily lethal, to free speech.

Leader of Islamist group behind Stand With The Prophet Rally Warns of WWIII over Cartoons

CSP, by Kyle Shideler, Jan. 26, 2015

The leader of Pakistani Islamist organization Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) says that cartoons of Mohammed may lead to war:

“The path that the West has chosen will take the world to a third world war,” [JI chief Sirajul Haq] said on Friday. He was addressing thousands of people at a rally, organised to protest against the insulting caricatures published in Western publications, particularly French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The JI chief demanded that the United Nations make laws to discourage blasphemy of all religious personalities. He said France must apologise for hurting sentiments of billions of Muslims across the world.

There have been several major protests in Pakistan organized by JI to protest the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, some of which have turned violent.

Jamaat-e-Islami may also have been behind the recent Stand With the Prophet Rally and fundraiser, held at the Curtis Cuwell Center in Garland Texas, January 17th. The event,which was billed as an effort to “build a movement”, and compared those who drew cartoons of the prophet with ISIS terrorists.

While most of the coverage of the event focused on the attendance of controversial imam and unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing Siraj Wahhaj, few noted Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, the founder of Soundvision, the group which organized the event, has his own troubling ties.

malik-mujahidMujahid is the past president of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) which was founded on the principles of ,and which is widely considered a front group, for Jamaat al-Islami (JI) in the United States. ICNA formally joined with the Muslim Brotherhood to present a united front in the 1990s, according to Holy Land Foundation Trial documents. ICNA is believed to have solicited donations for Pakistani charities known to have donated to Hamas. ICNA’s founding secretary general was convicted of war crimes for engaging in genocide against Bengalis when Jamaat al-Islami militias fought on behalf of Pakistan in Bangladesh’s war of liberation. ICNA’s showed its true nature in 2010 when it published a handbook which contained the stated goal of establishing Shariah law and Islamic rule through a worldwide Caliphate.

Given the views expressed by JI’s chief, it’s no surprise that a former ICNA president’s organization would also describe the issue of “defaming the prophet” in terms of war metaphors like describing cartoons of the prophet as “attacks, which are no accident.”

Although Mujahid hasn’t always been metaphorical,  having reportedly encouraged Muslims to fight jihad in Bosnia by telling a 1995 ICNA convention audience:

“Qital [killing] is an essential element of Islam. And sometimes you don’t like it. Qital is ordained upon you, though it is hateful to you, but it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you…. And one example is, now we have 60 or so Muslim countries, and not a single one of them wants to go for Qital and Jihad for Bosnia. Qital is ordained upon you though it is hateful to you.

In addition to Mujahid, Stand With the Prophet speaker Sheikh Alauddin Al Bakri has also been associated with JI. In a tour of India, Al-Bakri spoke at a “Jamaat-e-Islami hind” (JeI of India) convention. Al Bakri was also the speaker at a meeting of the Student Islamic Organization of India (SIO) reportedly a JI front. At that meeting Al Bakri emphasized, “ that time of talking and time of complaining has gone; now is the time of action.” Al-Bakri is a book editor of Iqra Publications that produces Islamic texts for K-12th grade students. Included on Iqra’s site are offerings of quran translations by Jamaat-e-Islami founder and infamous Islamist scholar Abul A’la Maududi and Zaki Hammad, member of the Quranic Literacy Institute, which was connected to Hamas in civil court.

While the organizers of the Stand with the Prophet Rally may color up their support for a sharia blasphemy-based approach to make it palatable for an American audience, their Pakistani counterparts appear to have no such compunction about stating their position, or the threat they pose to the West.

Islamist Panel Approaches Self-Parody in Hebdo/Radicalization Talk

IPT News
January 23, 2015

1118A panel discussion Thursday hosted by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) promised to plumb the “the root causes of radicalization” in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher market.

It turns out the problem is not Islamic theology or radical Muslim ideology. It’s all the things the West does wrong. Fix those problems, panelists said, and things get better.

During the 90-minute program at the National Press Club, no speaker discussed the Quranic verses invoked by terrorists in the Islamic State or al-Qaida to justify their actions. Instead, speakers emphasized a host of grievances that they say lead young Muslims to believe that peace and democracy will not lead to the changes they desire.

Muslim immigrants must be treated with more dignity and equality, said CSID founder Radwan Masmoudi. “Basically you must end all forms of racism, discrimination and hatred directed against Europeans of Arab descent or of the Islamic faith.” The West also must end the war in Syria and denounce the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood regime by Egypt’s military in July 2013.

Dalia Mogahed, a pollster and former White House adviser, took issue with the public reaction to the attacks. Defending the right to offend people as part of free expression plays into the terrorists’ agenda, she said. There is such a right, but society normally polices “incredibly offensive depiction(s)” of minorities. She wasn’t offended by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons as a Muslim, but she was “disgusted” by them as an American.

"All is forgiven"

“All is forgiven”

“The correct question isn’t, ‘can we?'” she said, “the correct question is ‘should we?'”

Mogahed called the attack on Charlie Hebdo “a very strange event” because it came at a time in which there were no protests. “The shooting literally came out of nowhere. It was a calculated act of provocation on the part of terrorist organizations. This was not an organic, or even fanatical, response of just rage and anger against cartoons.” This ignores the magazine’s history of satirizing all faiths, generating no violence from Christians or Jews. Last week, 10 people were killed in Niger when protesters angry at the latest Charlie Hebdo cover torched churches.

The assertion is puzzling because, as a pollster, Mogahed has monitored attitudes in the Muslim world for years. As such, she is well aware that the Paris attacks did not happen in a vacuum. In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street by a radical Muslim angered by van Gogh’s film, Submission, which focused on Islam’s treatment of women. In 2010, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard survived a home invasion attack by an ax-wielding Somali with ties to the Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

American Colleen LaRose, known as “Jihad Jane,” is serving a 10-year prison sentence in part due to her plotting to travel to Sweden to kill another cartoonist, Lars Vilks. That murder, she wrote in an email obtained by federal investigators, would be “my goal till i achieve it or die trying.”

There are numerous other examples of plots and attacks targeting people for their depictions of Islam’s prophet.

But the intent behind the attacks, Mogahed said, “was for Europe to respond essentially exactly as it did – to assert the right to offend by reprinting the cartoons.”

That certainly is a point of view. Another is that the terrorists hoped to intimidate others from showing images of Muhammad under any circumstance. Given that major American news outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and Fox and others have refused to show the Charlie Hebdo images, the attacks succeeded.

The focus on radical Islam and defense of free speech that resulted from the Paris attacks gave the terrorists “the rhetorical victory they desired,” she said. A better response would have been “to reassert the place of French citizens of Muslim faith in the republic.”

Mogahed and others repeatedly expressed resentment that the terrorists’ beliefs were being conflated with the beliefs held by 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide. They provided no examples to show this is what people mean when they talk about Islamic extremism.

Whatever the merits of Mogahed’s argument, it seems to have little connection to the causes of radicalization, which is what the panel was supposed to discuss.

In a podcast Wednesday, atheist writer Sam Harris slammed an emphasis on the West’s flaws in analyzing the Paris terrorist attacks as “completely insane.” After slaughtering the Charlie Hebdo staffers, Harris notes, Cherif and Said Kouachi yelled, “We have avenged the prophet.” They did not lament racism, disenfranchisement or any other grievance.

“That’s what causes someone to grab an AK 47 and murder 12 cartoonists and then scream ‘Allahu Akhbar’ in the streets,” Harris said facetiously. “It is a completely insane analysis. Even if you grant everything that’s wrong with capitalism and the history of colonialism, you should not be able to deny that these religious maniacs are motivated by concerns about blasphemy and the depiction of the prophet Muhammad, and consider their behavior entirely ethical in light of specific religious doctrines. And it’s a kind of masochism and moral cowardice and lack of intelligence, frankly, at this point, that is allowing people to deny this fact.”

Harris argued that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were not racist. But even if they were, emphasizing the offensive nature of the images shows someone “has completely lost the plot here.”

“[P]rotecting this speech becomes important when you have one group of people – ‘radical Muslims’ – who are responding to this offense with credible threats of murder in every country on earth. We can’t give in to this.”

“People have been murdered over cartoons,” he added. “End of moral analysis.”

Not for Nihad Awad, co-founder and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). His prepared remarks at the radicalization forum focused on the frustration he said Muslim American youth feel for constantly having to condemn the actions of others and for drawing disproportionate law enforcement attention.

“Islam has been blamed for the recent events, not the terrorists themselves,” Awad said. The media’s focus on the religious motivation inspiring terrorists and references to a war of ideas within Islam “is very offensive to me, to implicate the entire Islamic faith and the 1.7 billion people into accusing them of being inherently violent and warring among themselves. I believe this is dishonest discourse.”

Awad’s assertion is contradicted by other Muslims who believe the only way to stem radicalization is by modernizing and reforming Islam, steering away from strict, literalist interpretations. In addition, those most offended by cartoons or commentaries need to learn more peaceful ways to express their frustration.

Read more (with video)

Feeling the Pinch on Free Speech

free spCSP, by Kyle Shideler, Jan. 22, 2015:

An article in USAToday by Dean of Journalism DeWayne Wickham calling Charlie Hebdo’s decision to feature another image of Mohammed on its post-attack cover, “fighting words”, not protected by the 1st amendment reminds us how badly damaged Free Speech protections have become.  Much of the free world claimed to rally around Charlie Hebdo crying JeSuisCharlie, in the wake of the brutal terror attack perpetrated by jihadists aligned with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The world was rightly outraged that these people were killed for having the temerity to publish cartoons. The problem is that as outrage fades, few people are paying attention to the continued efforts to use the attention that violence wrought to achieve Al Qaeda’s goals, without violence.

For example by the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s effort to see Charlie Hebdo prosecuted:

“OIC is studying Europe and French laws and other available procedures to be able to take legal action against Charlie Hebdo,” he said. “If French laws allow us to take legal procedures against Charlie Hebdo, OIC will not hesitate to prosecute the French magazine,” he said. “This (the publication by Charlie Hebdo) is an idiotic step that requires necessary legal measures,”[Secretary General] Iyad Madani said on his Twitter account while condemning the republication of the anti-Islam cartoons.

The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation has led the charge to see the criminalization of defamation of religion (interpreted by the OIC to mean Islam only) enforced by governments. Unfortunately the U.S. State Department has cooperated with implementing these efforts under the “Istanbul Process” for the past several years.  Wickham’s claim that because violence against the speaker will inevitably result, the publication of images of Mohammad are not protected speech is the exact line of thinking represented by the Istanbul Process’s “test of consequences” concept and shows how successful the OIC’s effort to peddle this narrative has been.

The OIC’s ]continued efforts have been backed by Muslim Brotherhood chief jurist Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, whose International Union of Muslim Scholars, also announced renewed support for criminalizing free expression:

Influential preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi wants a law to be brought in by the UN to forbid the “contempt of religions,” according to an article he wrote, which was published on the organization’s website. “The Union calls on Islamic countries to submit a global law draft criminalizing the defamation of religions and the prophets and the holy sites of all, through a global conference to discuss clauses in complete freedom,” the preacher added. He condemned the decision by the French journal to publish the cartoon saying that it gave “credibility” to the idea that “the West is against Islam,” AFP reported.

The irony of course is that OIC member states, including Jordan, Egypt, U.A.E., Algeria and Turkey (putting the Istanbul in the Istanbul Process) all attended the Paris Unity Rally following the Charlie Hebdo attack, taking credit for standing against terror and in favor of free speech. The same is true for some supposedly “moderate” Muslim organizations in Europe. For example, the French Council on the Muslim Faith (CFMF), which condemned the attacks, calling them, ““an attack against democracy and the freedom of the press” while at the same time CFMF’s membership includes the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, whose leaders have had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Qaradawi. The same is true of the Muslim Council of Britain, considered to have links to Jamaat-e-Islami, the Pakistani Islamist group which has held massive protests against Charlie Hebdo in Karachi.

What needs to be recognized is that as horrific as the attacks were, they are not the main effort against free speech. It is not terror attacks like the Paris assault that will ultimately diminish free speech. Terrorism is, as in death by lethal injection, only the painful pinch of the needle that you feel. It does no good to address that threat, but ignore the efforts of groups like the OIC that represent the pressing of the plunger to finish the job.

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