CSP, 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.
- Journalism School Dean: Free Speech has Limits, Like Criticizing Mohammed (frontpagemag.com)