Attackers Kill American Writer at Bangladesh Book Fair

by IPT News  •  Feb 26, 2015 

1138A Bangladeshi-American writer who endured threats from Islamists over his secular views was hacked to death in Dhaka late Thursday, reports say.

Avijit Roy, 42, was a naturalized American living in Georgia. He was a frequent critic of radical Islamic doctrine. At least two attackers descended on Roy and his wife, blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonna, near Dhaka University. She was hospitalized with several stab wounds and a severed finger.

No arrests have been made and no suspects identified. But police reportedly found two machetes and a finger at the scene. The couple was in Dhaka to attend an annual national book fair where two of Roy’s works were being promoted.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism profiled Roy last year after death threats against him and a top Bangladeshi bookseller prompted the company to stop selling Roy’s books. He said he felt safe in America, but took the death threats seriously. “Who knows, some miscreants might take him up and act on it.”

The threats came from Islamist Farabi Shafiur Rahman, allegedly a member of the radical Jamaat e Islami, who issued them publicly but remained free.

Rahman noted on Facebook that “Avijit Roy lives in America and so, it is not possible to kill him right now. But he will be murdered when he comes back.” The threat apparently proved all too real Thursday night.

The threat also targeted the bookseller Rokomari.com, invoking the name of blogger Rajib Haidar, who also was hacked to death by Islamists in February 2013. Haidar, known as Thaba Baba, advocated for war crimes tribunals for alleged leaders of the 1971 killings of intellectuals and leaders after Bangladesh’s war of independence against Pakistan. Rokomari stopped selling Roy’s books in response.

In an article last fall, Roy described how his book The Virus of Faith, was well received and became a best-seller at last year’s book fair. But the book also “hit the cranial nerve of fundamentalists,” he wrote. “The death threats started flowing to my inbox on a regular basis. I suddenly found myself to be a target of militant Islamists and terrorists.”

In the essay, Roy discussed the problem of Islamist violence, but struck a defiant tone.

“Well, I am still alive despite Farabi [Rahman]-threats- writing a blog remembering the Blasphemy day,” he wrote. “My books are also going well; at least this is what I hear from my publishers. Apparently, readers did not need Rokomari to get my books … There is nothing much to complain about life right now. But that is not the point I would like to make here.”

Roy died for having ideas that radical Islamists considered blasphemous. He joins martyrs for free expression, like those at Charlie Hebdo who were slaughtered in Paris last month.

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:

The Morning After

by Mark Steyn
February 15, 2015

Filmmaker Finn Nørgaard: He went to a debate on freedom of expression, and Islam's contribution to the debate was to kill him.

Filmmaker Finn Nørgaard: He went to a debate on freedom of expression, and Islam’s contribution to the debate was to kill him.

The dead of Valentine’s Day in Copenhagen have now been named:

Dan Uzan was a 37-year-old Jew – sorry, I mean “member of the random community” – and he died outside the synagogue serving as a “security guard” for a Bat Mitzvah.

That’s part of the problem – long before anybody starts killing the security guards. In Europe in the 21st century, a young girl’s Bat Mitzvah can only take place behind a security perimeter. What a sewer the EU elites have made of their Eutopia. The state church – the Church of Denmark – does not require security guards, nor elsewhere on the Continent do Catholic churches. But Jewish religious and social life in Copenhagen and across Europe is now possible only behind a barrier of security. Laura Rosen Cohen has a useful round-up of those foot-of-page-17 news stories that chart, remorselessly, the social disintegration of Denmark – from the security perimeter, to the advice to Jews not to wear identifying marks of their faith when they leave the house, to the exclusion of Jewish children from public schools.

As to the “randomness” of the attack, there are only a few thousand Jews remaining in Denmark, and therefore not a lot of Bat Mitzvahs. I am disinclined to believe the killer just got lucky. As with the attack on the free-speech event, he knew exactly where he was going.

As Laura says, “What starts with Jews never ends with Jews.” Many Europeans dislike Jews, and many others are indifferent to their fate. But it helps to keep a sense of self-interest about these things: The man who killed that Jew wants to kill you, too.

The first victim yesterday was Finn Nørgaard, a 55-year-old film maker attending the conference on “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression”. Mr Nørgaard directed the 2004 documentary Boomerang Boy, produced the 2008 film Lê Lê, and occasionally appeared in front of the camera, too. It will be interesting to see whether the self-pampering A-listers of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists will managee to squeeze in a mention of him at this month’s Oscars during the teary montage of deceased artists. A decade ago the Academy couldn’t find room, amidst George Clooney et al congratulating themselves on their “courage” for making the umpteenth dreary film on McCarthyism, to namecheck Theo van Gogh, who was pumped full of bullets, semi-decapitated and had a gloating note from his killer pinned through his chest by a dagger – all because he made a film. Messrs van Gogh and Nørgaard weren’t blacklisted, they weren’t reduced to working under a pseudonym or (horrors!) in television. They died for their art. George Clooney was happy enough to latch on to the #JeSuisCharlie shtick at the Golden Globes. If he means it, he’ll ensure poor Finn Nørgaard gets a nod in among the orgy of backslapping at the end of this month.

Mr Nørgaard’s film Lê Lê is the tale of four siblings who fled Vietnam and wound up running one of the most successful restaurant businesses in Scandinavia. One assumes that’s the sort of thing David Cameron had in mind when he issued the following response to the slaughter in Copenhagen:

Denmark and Britain are both successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracies and we must never allow those values to be damaged by acts of violence like this.

That’s the usual Cameronian bollocks. As recently as the late Eighties, over 90 per cent of Danes were (albeit highly residual) members of the Church of Denmark, so it wasn’t that “multi-faith”. In reality, for almost their entire history, both Denmark and Britain were mostly ethnically homogeneous societies that admitted small numbers of immigrants who generally assimiliated and sometimes, as in Lê Lê, distinguished themselves. And then, a generation or so back, the Cameronian elites in Britain and on the Continent committed themselves to a process of mass, transformative immigration on a scale unknown to any society in human history outside of conquest. “Multiculturalism” is a Trojan horse Europe gave itself in an act of moral vanity, and waiting inside was Islam.

Mr Cameron now insists that the lesson of yesterday’s attack is that “we must never allow” what he dignifies as his “values” to be “damaged” by such “acts of violence”. His counterpart in Copenhagen, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the tasty Danish pastry he and Obama spent Mandela’s funeral doing selfies with, professed herself mystified by the slaughter:

We don’t know the motive for the attacks but we know that there are forces that want to harm Denmark, that want to crush our freedom of expression, our belief in liberty.

Hmm. “Forces that want to harm Denmark”, huh? Any chance of pinning it down a little? It’s not much of a “freedom of expression” or a “belief in liberty” that can’t even talk honestly about its enemies, is it?

I would like to ask Mr Cameron and Miss Thorning-Schmidt what’s their happy ending here? What’s their roadmap for fewer “acts of violence” in the years ahead? Or are they riding on a wing and a prayer that they can manage the situation and hold it down to what cynical British civil servants used to call during the Irish “Troubles” “an acceptable level of violence”? In Pakistan and Nigeria, the citizenry are expected to live with the reality that every so often Boko Haram will kick open the door of the schoolhouse and kidnap your daughters for sex-slavery or the Taliban will gun down your kids and behead their teacher in front of the class. And it’s all entirely “random”, as President Obama would say, so you just have to put up with it once in a while, and it’s tough if it’s your kid, but that’s just the way it is. If we’re being honest here, isn’t that all Mr Cameron and Miss Thorning-Schmidt are offering their citizens? Spasms of violence as a routine feature of life, but don’t worry, we’ll do our best to contain it – and you can help mitigate it by not going to “controversial” art events, or synagogues, or gay bars, or…

I said above that waiting inside multiculturalism’s Trojan horse was Islam. Not “Islamism”, or “radical Islam”, or “extremist Islam”, or “violent extremism” or “extremist radicalism” or “radicalist violentism” or anything else: just Islam. As I wrote yesterday:

This is usually the point at which we’re expected to do the not-all-Muslims-want-to-shoot-you-dead shtick. And that’s true. But Islam itself has no feeling whatsoever for the spirit of free speech.

The more Islamic a society gets, the less free speech it has – the less intellectual inquiry, artistic achievement, contrarian spirit. Most western Muslims are not willing themselves to open fire on synagogues or Lars Vilks, but they help maintain the shriveled definition of acceptable expression that helps license the fanatics of Copenhagen and Paris. Muslims in Europe, North America and Australia will pay lip service to “free speech”, and then promptly re-define it as excluding speech that “blasphemes” or “insults” their faith – which is to say them. Which is to say the great vulgar, brawling, free-for-all of free societies does not apply to them. So, when, say, France’s Muslim population reaches 20 per cent, you will need to have the support of three-quarters of the remaining 80 per cent to maintain even a bare popular majority in favor of free speech.

Is that likely? Or will there be more and more non-Muslims like the wretched quisling Welsh bishop, the Right Reverend Gregory Cameron, frantically arguing that if you hadn’t been so “offensive” you wouldn’t have caught their eye? Islam and free speech are, as His Miserable Grace implicitly recognizes, incompatible. And ultimately, therefore, you have to choose between liberty and mass Muslim immigration.

The reaction of David Cameron and Helle Thorning-Schmidt suggests they have made their choice. I think, somewhere deep down, they know it’s a recipe for slow societal suicide. And I wonder if, even deeper down, they also know that it won’t be that slow.

~For my immediate reaction to the attack on the Lars Vilks event, see here.

~For my immediate reaction to the attack on the synagogue, see here.

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:

No Jews to See Here

1163by Mark Steyn  •  Feb 10, 2015

Early on Tuesday, apropos their exclusive tongue-bath of the President, one of the Obama pajama boys over at Vox.com Tweeted :

11K words from Obama on his worldview and all DC can talk about is an obviously accidental micro-gaffe. This is why everyone hates DC press.

The “obviously accidental micro-gaffe” was the President’s off-the-cuff observations about the alleged “over-playing” of terrorism when it’s just a low-level law-enforcement question about how to deal with “a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris”.

Well, we can all say carelessly formulated things when we’re off the prompter, particularly when lulled by a sycophantic interviewer. So I suppose it was just about possible that this was indeed “an obviously accidental micro-gaffe” by Obama. Except that, as The Washington Free Beacon pointed out, the Government of the United States spent much of the day insisting that the President meant every word he said. From Josh Earnest’s White House press conference:

JIM ACOSTA: Just to be clear though, that shooting at that deli in Paris was not random, correct? Did the president misspeak there?

JOSH EARNEST: Jim, I believe the point the president was trying to make was that these individuals were not specifically targeted. They were random people that happened to randomly be in the deli and were shot…

JON KARL: This was an attack in a kosher deli. Does the president have any doubt those terrorists attacked that deli because there would be Jews in that deli?

EARNEST: Jon, it is clear from the terrorists, from some of the writings they put out afterwards, what their motivation was. The adverb that the president chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible tragic incident were killed, not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be.

KARL: They weren’t killed because they were in a Jewish deli, though? A kosher deli?

EARNEST: These individuals were not targeted by name. This is the point.

KARL: Not by name but religion, were they not?

EARNEST: Well, Jon, there were people other than just Jews who were in that deli.

Etc. On that last point – that not everybody in the grocery store (not a “deli”) was Jewish – Scaramouche says she’s not even sure if that’s true. Indeed. Bank robbers rob banks because that’s where the money is. In Europe, Islamic supremacists shoot up kosher markets, synagogues, Jewish museums and Jewish schools because that’s where the Jews are. Yet over at the State Department Jen Psaki went further:

“Does the administration really believe that the victims of this attack were not singled out because they were of a particular faith?” asks AP reporter Matt Lee.

“Well, as you know, I believe if I remember the victims specifically, they were not all victims of one background or one nationality,” Psaki said.

“Does the administration believe this was an anti-Jewish or an attack on a Jewish community in Paris?” Lee pressed.

“I don’t think we’re going to speak on behalf of French authorities,” Psaki responded.

Well, President Hollande was happy to state the obvious and call it “a terrifying act of anti-Semitism” over a month ago, but apparently that’s not good enough for the US State Department. As for Ms Psaki’s assertion that “they were not all victims of one background”, Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab, and François-Michel Saada were all Jews, and they died because they were Jews – as their killer cheerfully boasted.

For over a decade, I have been writing about the metastasizing Jew-hate in Europe, and I have noted, aside from the physical attacks, the casual acceptance of anti-Jewish slurs at the highest levels in Continental society. But I find, say, the Holocaust gags favored by Gretta Duiseberg, the wife of the then head of the European Central Bank, far less disturbing than the absurd pretzel-twist logic deployed by the Obama Administration to deny reality. It is creepy and profoundly unsettling. Like Simon Peter denying the condemned King of the Jews, the most powerful government in the western world thrice denied those four dead Jews in that Paris supermarket.

Here is a typical day in 21st-century Europe:

German court rules firebombing of synagogue is a “protest”.

Belgian teacher tells Jewish student: ‘we should put you all on freight wagons’.

European Jewish population continues to plummet.

British Vicar blames JOOOOOOOS for 9/11…

Anti-Jewish attacks in UK at highest levels ever recorded…

Teacher quits French school citing antisemitism.

Jewish social life in Europe now takes place behind razor-wire and security guards, and newspapers placidly report polls showing that 58 per cent of British Jews believe Jews have no future in Europe. It is utterly disgraceful that the government of one of the few western nations relatively untouched by the new mass Jew-hate should devote so much energy to insisting that there’s nothing to see here.

But lies beget lies. The Obama Administration insists that the Islamic State is not Islamic, Islamic terrorism is nothing to do with Islam, there’s no Islam to see here, no way, no how. You can’t hold the line at one lie, and tell the truth on everything else. The lie on Islam infects everything else. If they’re just “violent extremists” in general, they have to be violent and extremist in general – or “randomly”, as the President would say.

I’m a free-speech absolutist and therefore have a high tolerance for “hate”. But that’s why free speech is important – so one can address these subjects honestly. Islam is an incubator of Jew-hate. It’s unfortunate, but it is a fact. For example, Jordan is a “moderate” Muslim country. What does “moderate” actually mean in this context? Well, it means the Hashemites send their princes to Sandhurst and marry them off to hotties. But other than that? Ninety-seven per cent of Jordanians have an “unfavorable” opinion of Jews.

Jordan has just dispatched its troops to its eastern border with Iraq (my own experiences at that Trebil border crossing are recounted in The [Un]documented Mark Steyn). Don’t get me wrong: In a showdown between Jordan and ISIS, the former are the good guys, and I’m rooting for them. But we shouldn’t be under any illusions about the uglier aspects of Muslim society.

And yet “the leader of the free world” is doubling down on his illusions: Guys called Cohen get killed in kosher grocery stores, but it’s purely “random”. As much as the Italian revolutionary Carlo Pisocane a century-and-a-half ago, Islamic imperialists believe that “ideas spring from deeds”. Obama is just about willing to acknowledge the deed, but denies the animating ideas no matter how obviously they spring. And until we confront the ideas we are doomed to lose.

When the President lectures us, with his usual condescension, about not getting on our “high horse”, he gives the pronounced impression, as a sophisticated thinker with the highest horse in town, that when it comes to a choice between civilization and barbarism he’s happy to affect a studied neutrality. But those are real dead Jews on the floor of Hyper-Cacher, and, when the head of the global superpower dishonors them in death, and sends out his subordinates to underline the point, that is not a small matter.

~A postscript: We have been here before, of course. Ed Driscoll excerpts this choice news item from The New York Times in 1922, “New Popular Idol Rises In Bavaria“:

But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers.

Thank goodness for that.

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.

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.

CAIR Mourns Charlie Hebdo, Yet Advocates Censorship

Cair posterAmerican Thinker, By Andrew E. Harrod, Jan. 25, 2015

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Hamas-derived “civil rights” group, “repeated its defense of freedom of speech” in a baffling January 7 press release that “condemned” the Paris jihadist Charlie Hebdo massacre. A trip down a bad memory lane, though, is necessary in order to evaluate critically CAIR’s commitment to free speech rights with proverbial grains of salt equivalent to the Dead Sea’s renowned salinity.

CAIR, an unindicted terrorism coconspirator, and “defense of freedom of speech” simply do not match. CAIR, for example, has unsuccessfully tried to stop critical commentary on Islam in an American public library and school. CAIR has also harassed a Michigan individual who opposed a mosque construction with frivolous subpoenas, ultimately quashed. One 2012 article on the CAIR-Chicago affiliate website discussed how the First Amendment has “been manipulated to make America the catalyst for unjust hate.”

Nihad Awad

Nihad Awad

Accordingly, CAIR executive director Nihad Awad sounded an uncertain free speech trumpet when presenting the press release that noted Charlie Hebdo’s “derogatory references to Islam and its Prophet Muhammad.” Awad equated “extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions,” placing thereby Charlie Hebdo’s victims on a level with their murderers. Similar analysis had appeared in a 2006 CAIR press release concerning the Danish cartoons, even as CAIR, the 2015 press release recalled, “rejected the sometimes violent response to Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.”

“We all value freedom of expression,” Awad had written to the Danish ambassador in 2006. “But we should also use good judgment and common sense to avoid actions” that are “intentionally insulting” or “promote hatred.” Awad proposed CAIR “as a bridge between the Muslim community worldwide and the government of Denmark” in “offering proactive educational measures.” CAIR could therefore exploit the affair to present Islam in a positive manner and effectively proselytize.

At the same time, Parvez Ahmed, CAIR’s then chairman and a Hamas/Hezbollah apologist who had also extended a speaking invitation to a neo-Nazi while leading CAIR’s Florida chapter, expressed support for blasphemy laws. Ahmed wrote on his website that a “connection between terrorism and a venerated religious figure such as Prophet Muhammad transgresses all bounds of decency.” “Free speech, like every other freedom, comes with responsibility,” Ahmed intoned, and the “affair was avoidable had all sides approached the issue wisely.” Ahmed demanded the “same zero tolerance for Islamophobia as… anti-Semitism” while painting dark scenarios of speech inciting violence. He feared “plunging the world into the abyss of a clash between civilizations.”

Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago’s director and a similar Hamas and Nazi apologist, also discussed “racism targeting Muslims” during a 2008 radio interview on republishing the Danish cartoons. “The majority of Muslims are both against the cartoons and, of course, against death threats,” was Rehab’s immoral equivalence. America does not have “absolute freedom of speech” allowing pornography on daytime television, for example, but a “responsible tradition of free speech.”

The Danish cartoons were a “red flag” for Rehab who, like Ahmed, falsely analogized criticizing Islam to anti-Semitic prejudice. “Long before there was any indication of gas chambers,” European Jews confronted bigoted “freedom of expression.”  The “demonization of a particular faith community or race-based community,” Rehab hyperbolically warned, can incite “further violence against that group or… discrimination.” “Just because one has a right” to speak, Rehab added online in 2010, “does not make it the right thing to do” under a “standard of decency.”

The strategies of CAIR et al. to equate criticism of Islamic ideas with prejudice against individuals and warn of non-Muslim speech inciting Muslim violence have not been without effect. President Barack Obama condemned the Charlie Hebdo assault as an “attack on our free press,” but in 2012 an Obama spokesperson had doubted the magazine’s “judgment” in publishing Muhammad cartoons. Days later Obama infamously declared before the United Nations General Assembly that “future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s fifty-seven member states, meanwhile, have advocated for years legal suppression of “Islamophobia” as a “crime against humanity” resembling anti-Semitism. Countries like Denmark have obliged with hate speech prosecutions against Islam’s critics, something not protested by CAIR. Private news organizations also often refrain from showing cartoons offensive to Muslims, while showing no such scruples towards Christians.

Under CAIR’s standards, individuals touching the third religious rail of Islam might escape with their lives, but not their liberty. If social ostracism does not suffice to silence those irreverent towards Islam, groups like CAIR will not refrain from seeking where possible legal instruments of censorship. While trying to talk a good talk on liberty, CAIR’s past shows all too clearly where it is heading.

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.

Also see:

Radical Muslim Scholars Demand UN Impose Worldwide Ban on “Contempt of Religion”

muslim-protest-prophet-AFP1-640x480Breitbart, by Phyllis Chesler, Jan. 22, 2015:

Earlier this week, the Qatar-based international Union of Muslim Scholars– headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual guide of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood– called upon the United Nations to make “contempt of religions” illegal.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Union said that there should be “protection for ‘prophets’” and urged the UN to issue a “law criminalizing contempt of religions and the prophets and all the holy sites.”

The Muslim scholars also urged the West to “protect Muslim communities following the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo.”

This is very strange. Jews, Christians, Hindus, and atheists have not been attacking Muslims.

On the contrary, Muslims have been rioting, shooting, stabbing, beheading, and blowing up other Muslims and infidels, especially Jews and Christians, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Nevertheless, these Muslim scholars seem to believe that Muslims are being violently persecuted.

When Muslims honor kill a daughter or a wife, they say they did so in “self-defense.”  When a female relative allegedly commits any act of disobedience, she has shamed and attacked her family. This means they had to kill her in self-defense. These were the very words used by Palestinian Abu Nidal terrorist Zein Isa, when he and his wife killed their 16-year-old daughter, Palestina Isa, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Some experts (Dr. David Ghanim) and memoirists (Nonie DarwishM.H. Anwar andAruna Papp) suggest that the normative physical, sexual, and psychological child abuse which, with exceptions, describes Arab and Muslim or tribal child-rearing styles, may also account for such behaviors.

Westerners who take free speech and the right to criticize religion for granted have not been able to understand the fury that accurate criticism of Muslim practices (persecution of infidels, persecution of the “wrong” kind of Muslim, persecution of women, etc.) can arouse. Westerners have found it even more difficult to comprehend that the “Islamic street” will riot and murder in response to cartoons. Cartoons?

In a recent, private conversation with my friend and colleague, Israeli Arabist, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, he said this:

Arabs and Muslims know that their civilization has failed. They are unconsciously filled with shame about it. They know that our critique of their culture is true and they cannot bear being exposed by infidels (or by Muslim dissidents or apostates) whom they envy, fear, and despise. If the criticism was not true—they would laugh it off. But if it is true, they are exposed in all their shame for the entire world to see.

If Dr. Kedar is right (and I think he is), such dishonoring is a “killing” offense and treated as such.

It is no surprise that the Union of Islamic scholars, and before them, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), have, since 1999, been trying to impose Pakistani, Saudi, and Iranian style “blasphemy” laws on the infidel world and using the UN to do so. The UN is a world body, much like the Muslim Ummah (“nation” or “people”) is supposed to be. Unfortunately, the UN is largely symbolic, has little supra-power over individual member states, has failed its mission as a peace negotiator, is corrupt and hypocritical, and has been effective in one thing only: It has legalized anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

For years, resolutions to condemn “blasphemy” passed in the United Nations. The OIC wanted to impose criminal penalties for “blasphemy.” Finally, in 2011, the measure failed.

According to Nina Shea, these resolutions were inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini’s “infamous 1989 fatwa, directing ‘all zealous Muslims to execute quickly the British author Salman Rushdie and others involved with his book The Satanic Verses.’” In 2005-2006, in the era of the Danish cartoons, Pakistan re-introduced the anti-blasphemy resolution in language calculated “to appeal to Western liberals.” By 2007, support for such measures “declined.”  In Shea’s view, “this sudden shift came about because, in 2006, the Bush administration took the lead in defending free speech, energetically pressing Council members to oppose the resolution. The EU also became engaged, emphasizing the need to “protect individuals.’”

President Obama has, Clinton-style, “felt the pain” of each and every “offended” Muslim and has taken great pains to defend what he believes is a “peaceful” Islam. He views Muslim violence as either non-existent or as justifiably “provoked” by mocking infidels. His administration claimed that the carefully planned assassination of our Ambassador and Marines in Benghazi had been “provoked” by an anti-Islam video.

Unbelievably, Obama’s administration sent no one of standing to stand with France and with the right to free speech  after the assassinations at Charlie Hebdo and in the kosher supermarket.

In the past, President Obama has made some pro-free speech statements. According to Counter Jihad, in 2012, Obama was quoted as saying “The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech.”

Did he mean it, does he still mean it?

The White House has welcomed members of the Muslim Brotherhood for a long time. Now, their ostensible spiritual leader has spoken out. One wonders where Obama currently stands on Al-Qaradawi’s call for a worldwide blasphemy law.