by EDWARD CLINE
Robert Spencer, a tireless defender of freedom and the freedom of speech against Islam, was attacked recently in the New York Daily News and charged with having “inspired” Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik to go on his killing spree in July 2011. The writer, Nathan Lean, in his July 9th column, “Expose the Islamophobia industry,” connects several other counter-jihadist writers with Breivik’s actions, and lumps them all together as “untouchables” who ought to be ostracized.
The Islamophobia industry insists that it is not just a fringe minority who distort an otherwise peaceful faith. Instead, they point to the Koran and suggest that terrorists derive their world views from its messages. If that is so, these anti-Muslim agitators are guilty based on the logic of their own argument. After all, Breivik read and interpreted the writings of people like Spencer and [Pamela] Geller. He deciphered their diatribes much like Osama Bin Laden interpreted the Koran. Both men were compelled to act on the messages they digested.
It is doubtful that Lean has cracked open a Koran, or has heard of the Hadith, or The Reliance of the Traveler. For if he had any solid knowledge of Islam and its principal texts, he would grasp that these works do indeed sanction the violence of Muslim terrorists. He would understand that Spencer has every right to be an “Islamophobe,” that is, someone who is fearful of Islam and especially of Sharia law. It is interesting to note that while Lean inveighs against Breivik, who murdered dozens of people, he does not mention the thousands of people killed by jihadists in virtually every country on earth. Moreover, he does not suggest that Breivik also was inspired by al-Qaida, in addition to a potpourri of other “Islamophobic” writers. About Spencer and his outspoken co-counter-jihadists, Lean concludes:
Society has a responsibility to counter these individuals with overwhelming overtures of pluralism – and to systematically push the fear-mongers out of public discourse.
The claim that I “inspired” the Norway mass murderer Breivik because he cited me in his “manifesto” has become a staple of Leftist and Islamic supremacist polemic against people who are trying to defend freedom against Sharia. But it founders on the facts: never mentioned is the fact that Breivik cited many, many people, including Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, and Thomas Jefferson — who are just three of the many who are never blamed for his murders. Also swept under the rug is the fact that whether he is sane or not, Breivik’s manifesto is actually quite ideologically incoherent — so far was he from being a doctrinaire counter-jihadist that he wanted to aid Hamas and ally with jihad groups.
It probably has not escaped the notice of the more observant readers that the alliance of the Left and Islam reflects the same agitprop strategies, chief among is that when the Left’s or Islam’s policies fail, or produce disasters, or cause deaths, or provoke hostility among the electorate, blame for the failure is shifted elsewhere. When Obama’s policies produce the opposite of his alleged goals, he blames Bush, when in fact Obama’s policies are a continuation of Bush’s soft-pedaled socialism. The difference between Bush’s socialism and Obama’s is that Bush’s policies were founded on an ignorance of economics, or of reality; Obama’s policies are intended to negate economics and remake reality. When Muslims murder, torture, rape, go on rampages, or otherwise resort to violence anywhere in the world to enforce conformity to their ideology, their spokesmen in the West blame “extremists.” But they never say that the “extremists” are wrong. The ideology is never at fault, only its finger-pointing “misunderstanders.” Thus, as Spencer points out in his Jihad Watch column, anyone who criticizes Islam is a “misunderstander” who spreads “lies” and “fabrications” and so on about the perils of Islam and can be quick-marched to the same camp with actual jihadists. Then a leap of logic is performed and Muslim violence can be blamed on criticism of Islam. The Left and Islamists “abhor” violence, express “regret” when violence occurs, and do not blame the perpetrators, but instead the “instigators” of the violence, that is, those who exercise their freedom of speech by pointing out the evils and fraud of Islam and the consistent violence its ideology encourages and promulgates. They cluck their tongues in public over the violence sanctioned by their ideology, but chastise anyone who says the violence is part and parcel of their ideology. They must be “pushed out of public discourse.” That is, shamed, humiliated, boycotted, mocked, picketed, and ultimately censored. The irony is that there is no “public discourse” about the nature of Islam and the crimes committed in its name. Nor does the Left and Islam wish there to be. It is six of one, half a dozen of another. The Left and Islam both promote collectivism and universal submission and subjugation to them. Of course they are allies. With the help of its Muslim occupiers, France recently elected a blatant socialist. Has anyone in this country heard a single Muslim speak out against Obamacare? Has any British Muslim spoken out against Britain’s welfare state? No? Why not? Because to oppose collectivism one must advocate individual rights. It is individual rights that the Left and Islam wish to extinguish. They say: Control private property, or expropriate it, and it is extinguished. In the fantasy universe of collectivists, violence is never the fault of the ideology, it is always the fault of anyone who resists submission to the ideology or criticizes it. For secular collectivists (or the Left), as with Islamists, the fundamental means to the end is force. The correlation between and alliance of the Left and Islam are not contrived, “constructed,” coincidental, or accidental. They are fundamental, natural, and inevitable. Marx and Mohammad have gone forth into the world, holding hands, fingering their beards as their feral and predatory intelligences survey the landscape before them. For example, Marxists, socialists, and other leftists wish to collectivize property. If the property is thus “owned” by the state, then no freedom of speech is possible (except illegally underground, or via samizdat) but the “freedom” to extol collectivism. If property is Islamized – that is, owned, or controlled, by Muslims in a fully collectivized society governed by Sharia law (that is, Nazified), with nominal private ownership whose purpose and end are dictated by the state, or by the caliphate – then no freedom of speech is possible, either, except the “freedom” to parrot the party line of Mohammad. In either system, an individual who dares question the ideology gets swatted very quickly. That is what Gulags and chopping blocks and bomb detonators are for. Then there is the “purgatory” or halfway point between the full collectivization by either ideology, a gray world in which freedom of speech is not expressly forbidden by law, but exists at the arbitrary whim or politically correct discretion of politicians or the judiciary. This is the situation in the United States. Brand any criticism of Islam as “Islamophobic” and the critics are conveniently diagnosed with dementia and committed to Antonio Salieri’s Vienna loony bin, the papers signed by people like Nathan Lean. Or by Hillary Clinton and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations, or Barack Obama, or by Tony Blair and the Prince of Wales, and The New York Times. James Bloodworth almost gets it right in The Independent (Britain) in his July 5th column, “It’s time to stop using the term ‘Islamophobia’“:
There has, however, been an unfortunate consequence of all of this. It is now possible to shut down almost any contemporary political debate by blurring the distinction between legitimate criticism of Islam and the anti-Muslim prejudice of the far-right. This is perhaps best expressed by the appearance on the scene of terms like “Islamophobic racism” – a further extension of the concept of Islamophobia – which conflate the idea of “race” (the way a person is born) with religion (a set of ideas passed on in the home, the school and the community).
Bloodworth is one of those leftists (and The Independent is notoriously leftist) who frown on private property but uphold freedom of speech, meaning, for all practical purposes, that one should be free to speak on any subject, so long as it’s standing up at the bottom of a public swimming pool (there are no private swimming pools, except in the backyards of the political elite) and one’s words have no untoward or deleterious social consequences. Bloodworth is correct to claim that the inclusion of the idea of racism is illegitimate, because Islamophobia has nothing to do with race. It is a “set of ideas,” however, he presumably has not examined very closely. He still harbors a distaste for the term, without examining the root meaning of “phobia,” either, which means a fear of something.
Read more at Family Security Matters
Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and suspense novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all available on Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security Matters, Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.