The Tyranny of Silence

theFrontpage, by Deborah Weiss and Andrew Harrod, November 20, 2014:

Even amidst death threats and Islamist violence, Flemming Rose remains a staunch advocate for freedom of speech.  In a Europe with ever-increasing speech restrictions, he argues for the equivalent of a global First Amendment.

On October 13, 2014, both the Cato Institute and the Newseum in Washington, DC, hosted Rose, author of the recently published book, The Tyranny of Silence. Rose and his paper maintain high security generally. But surprisingly, the only apparent security at these two events consisted of security guards from institutions holding them. Cato had approximately 75 people in attendance, including a young man from FIRE. The Newseum had a smaller audience, consisting of about 35 people, most of whom were older and likely Newseum members, as only members were sent prior notification. Both audiences were attentive, responsive and had numerous questions for the editor during Q&A. Additionally, both events were taped for online viewing.

Rose is an editor of Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, notorious for its 2005 publication of twelve cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad. Considered blasphemous, the drawings provided Islamists with an excuse to riot across the Muslim world and destroy Danish embassies, killing approximately 200 people.

Preceding these events, Danish author Kåre Bluitgen, wrote a children’s book on Islam’ s Prophet and wanted to include illustrations. Bluitgen sought to commission several illustrators for the Mohammad images. Two declined and one agreed on the condition of anonymity. The illustrators cited safety concerns stemming from death threats to Salmon Rushdie in the United Kingdom and the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands, both of whom allegedly “blasphemed” Islam. Questions arose as to whether fear caused the illustrators to engage in self-censorship concerning Islam, and whether individuals in the media should cater to a small minority that reacts violently to discussion deemed offensive.

Jyllands-Posten asked members of the illustrator’s union to draw Mohammad as they saw him. The newspaper accepted submissions for seven to ten days. It subsequently published twelve illustrations along with an article addressing free speech and self-censorship. “No one could have anticipated” what would follow, Rose explained. The cartoons were the purported cause of violence that erupted throughout the Middle East, making Rose and his newspaper the center of a media storm. All context was lost.

Rose had sought a debate about ideas and a civil way to maintain a dialogue. Yet jihadists threatened to bomb the Jyllands-Posten’s offices and murder the cartoonists, forcing several of them into hiding. Both Rose and Jyllands-Posten have had to maintain heavy security ever since.

Several Muslim organizations filed a complaint against Jyllands-Posten accusing it of violating the Danish Criminal Code. The statute prohibits public ridicule of religious dogma or public statements that cause a group to feel “threatened, scorned or degraded” due to race or religion. However, using a narrow legal interpretation of the statute, the Danish government decided not to pursue the case, stating that it did not meet the necessary pre-requisites for prosecution.

Rose stated that self-censorship in Europe has worsened since the Jyllands-Posten’s publication of the cartoons. Rose was confronted with numerous anti-free speech arguments. “Isn’t it hurting the religious feelings of people with deeply held beliefs?” “Isn’t it a smart business decision not to use language in newspapers that might offend readers?” “Isn’t is just good manners not to insult someone’s beliefs?”  (paraphrasing) But Rose, without missing a beat, had an articulate and persuasive answer for each point. He insisted that the omission of language regarding Islam did not constitute simply a business decision, as all readers occasionally face offense. Nor did it stem from good manners, as the motivation was not to be polite. Rather, it was self-censorship based on fear and intimidation.

Rose ardently advocated for the equivalent of a worldwide First Amendment, arguing for a free marketplace of ideas including religious doctrine. “Religious feelings cannot demand special treatment” he proclaimed, noting that people might have other deeply held beliefs where they could claim equivalent offense.

European laws balance freedom of expression against other rights such as the right to privacy and the right not to be offended. Therefore, European countries have various laws prohibiting hate speech, religious denigration, and racism. However, “almost absolute” freedom of speech, with exceptions for incitement to violence and defamation of individuals, “makes America unique.” Free speech is “not a balancing test” against the so-called right not to be offended. Offensive speech is constitutionally protected if it’s true or mere opinion.

Rose aptly noted that hate speech restrictions have not reduced violence. Indeed, riots have always erupted in countries where hate speech, blasphemy laws and other speech restrictions exist, but have been violated. Proponents of hate speech laws claim that hate speech leads to violent acts, but there is no evidence to support their claims. In countries where freedom flourishes, offensive expression incites minimal violence.

Rose also noted a seeming paradox: where immigration rises causing an increase in diversity of race and religion, there’s a decrease in the diversity of ideas allowed expression.

When asked if he thought there is a proper role for government censorship, Rose answered with a resounding “no!” Rose noted that while Kurt Westergaard, cartoonist of Mohammad with a bomb in his turban, became victim of an assassination attempt, some believe he deserved his fate. And, the Netherlands’ Minister of Justice professed, “if we had hate speech laws, then Van Gogh would be alive today.” Rose thinks both of these positions are outrageous because they condemn speech while justifying the violence in response to it.

Rose explained that many people fail to distinguish between words and deeds. And, “America is becoming more isolated” as tyrannical countries tighten speech restrictions. While American laws allow freedom, increasingly the citizens are plagued with peer pressure and political correctness, pushing for self-censorship.

Yet, “the right not to be offended” is the only right Rose believes individuals should not have in a democracy. Freedom should be paramount.

Refusing to be silent in the face of Islamist intimidation, Rose exercises that freedom courageously and without qualms.


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

Deborah Weiss, Esq. is a contributing author to Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Network and the author of Council on American-Islamic Relations: its use of Lawfare and Intimidation. Her work can be found at

Andrew Harrod, JD, PhD is an independent researcher and writes for FrontPage Magazine and numerous other publications. He is also a fellow at The Lawfare Project and can be followed on Twitter at @AEHarrod.

Blasphemy Mucho—How Sharia Kills Free Speech


Losing free speech via the toxic synergy of mainstream, supremacist Islam, and Western self-loathing


By Andrew Bostom:

Al Qaeda’s English language magazine “Inspire,” in its latest edition, has expressed the jihad terror organization’s outrage over the “Innocents of Muslims” video trailer, an amateurish production, which merely depicted some of the less salutary aspects of the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s biography, based upon the sacralized Islamic sources.

These threatening statements appear on p. 4:

O Muslims, the film produced in America which insults our Messenger Muhammad comes in the chain of  the crusade attacks on Islam. In response to these consecutive assaults, the Muslim ummah revolted in honor  of their noble Messenger. The plot of the enemies backfired and became a disgrace and shame on them, a penalty for their insults on the status of the Prophets, violation of the sacred lands and trespassing the boundaries of war ethics. Meanwhile, the status of our Messenger remains high and honorable. No insult could  ever tarnish him. Whoever hates him is cut off from success and prosperity in this world and the Hereafter… We affirm that defending the honor of the Prophet is an inevitable obligation in Islam upon the Muslim ummah, every individual as per his capability… We call upon our brothers in the West to fulfill their Islamic obligation. They are obliged to defend the Prophet, for they are more capable of crushing the enemy at his heart.

The violent nature of those threats is made explicit in imagery featured on pp. 14-15, entitled, “Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam.” The images (also published here via MEMRI) are accompanied by statements, “Yes We Can,” “A Bullet A Day Keeps the Infidel Away,” and “Defend Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him,” and include photographs of the nine men(complete with misspellings of some of their names, underneath) threatened with death, ostensibly for “blaspheming” Islam’s prophet, and the Muslim creed itself.

Photographs of the two women targeted do not appear on the pp. 14-15 magazine layout; only their names are printed, beneath the photos of the men. The full list of eleven who were made licit for killing, is below:

Geert Wilders: Founder of the Dutch Party for Freedom;

Morris Sadek: Egyptian-American Coptic Christian who disseminated the video “Innocence of Muslims

Carsten Juste and Flemming Rose: Editor-in-chief and cultural editors at Jyllands-Posten when the Danish cartoons of Muhammad were published

Kurt Westergaard: Cartoonist whose drawing of the turban-bomb Muhammad became the most renowned of the cartoons.

Lars Vilks: Dutch cartoonist who published his own Muhammad drawings subsequent to the Jyllands-Posten cartoons

Stephane Charbonnier: Editor of Charlie Hedbo, a French satirical magazine

Terry Jones: Florida preacher who has burned Korans in protest of Islam.

Salman Rushdie: Author of The Satanic Verses, whose experiences reflect “The Rushdie Rules,” more than two decades later.

Molly Norris: American cartoonist who proposed “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” as a protest against both censorship and the proscription of published images of Muhammad

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Somali-born Dutch activist and politician;

Predictably, the mainstream media outlets reporting this latest example of Al Qaeda’s so-called “anti-Islamic radicalism” (across the political spectrum, from the rather odious blame the victim Atlantic account, to the factual, if short shriftassessment of The Weekly Standard), failed to connect these threats to an earlier, more egregious action by a prominent Muslim nation: the Egyptian state security court’s November 28, 2012 verdict, which sentenced to death seven expatriate Coptic Egyptians, including Morris Sadek, as well as American pastor Terry Jones, for “blaspheming” Islam—i.e., the same Sadek and Jones targeted subsequently by the Al-Qaeda “Inspire” layout. Egyptian Judge Saif al Nasr Soliman stated plainly when the ruling was issued,

The accused persons were convicted of insulting the Islamic religion through participating in producing and offering a movie that insults Islam and its prophet.

The late November, 2012 Egyptian court verdict re-affirms mainstream, institutional Islam’s Sharia (Islamic law)-based lethal punishment for speech critical of the Muslim creed. More disturbing, however, is the abject failure of contemporary Western media, academic, and political elites to accurately convey that reality—a living, liberty-crushing doctrinal and historical legacy I will elaborate herein.

Read more


Islamist Assassinations in the West

by Daniel Pipes
Gatestone Institute
February 25, 2013

Terrorism broadly takes two forms: against random individuals who happen to be at a market place or on a bus at the wrong time; or against specific individuals because of who they are. The latter in turn divides into two: against broad categories of people (the military, Jews, people who wear eyeglasses) and against specific public figures, either individuals or institutions. In effect, these last are assassinations (defined by Merriam-Webster as “to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons”).

Horrific as the first two genres are, assassinations are the most terrifying and effective. Whereas the first two can happen to anyone and have the effect of creating a universal but vague dread, the third focuses on a small pool of targets and sends a specific signal to others not to follow in their footsteps. In general, therefore, assassinations inspire the most consequential fear, intimidate the most, and have the greatest consequences.

Actual public Western victims of Islamist violence have included:

  • 1980: Ali Akbar Tabataba’i, Iranian dissident, in the United States*
  • 1980: Faisal Zagallai, Libyan dissident, in the United States
  • 1990: Rashad Khalifa, Egyptian religious innovator, in the United States*
  • 1990: Meir Kahane, Israel politician of American origins, in the United States*
  • 1991: Hitoshi Igarashi, Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses*
  • 1991: Ettore Capriolo, Italian translator of The Satanic Verses
  • 1993: William Nygaard, Norwegian publisher of The Satanic Verses
  • 2004: Theo van Gogh, Dutch artist*
  • 2010: Kurt Westergaard, Danish cartoonist
  • 2010: Lars Vilks, Swedish artist
  • 2010: Jyllands-Posten, Danish newspaper
  • 2012: Charlie Hebdo, French satiric magazine
  • 2013: Lars Hedegaard, Danish historian and political analyst

Notes: * indicates a fatality. Mu’ammar al-Qaddafi, head of the Libyan government, was an Islamist in 1980. I do not list here victims of Muslim but non-Islamist assassinations, such as Malcolm X in 1965 or the attempt on the pope in 1981. For the record, a Palestinian Christian killed Robert Kennedy in 1968.

Statistical comments:

(1) Other than one isolated attack in 2004, this listing of 13 inexplicably divides into two distinct periods, seven in 1980-93 and five in 2010-13.

(2) Listed by their identity, the victims include 8 connected to culture and the arts, 3 political figures, 1 religious one, and 1 analyst. Of the eight cultural attacks, 4 involved cartoons, 3 Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, and one a movie, Submission.

(3) Geographically, 8 took place in Europe, 4 in the United States, and one in Japan. Of the European cases, three took place in tiny Denmark. Britain and Germany are conspicuously missing from this list. Oddly, the 4 American instances took place in either 1980 or 1990.

(4) State involvement can be discerned only in the first 3 cases (Iranian, Libyan, and Saudi, respectively).

(5) In terms of deadliness, 5 attacks led to a fatality, 8 did not.

Lars Hedegaard presented Daniel Pipes with the Danish Free Press Society award in March 2007.


And a personal note by way of conclusion: the Feb. 5 attack on Hedegaard – a friend and colleague at the Middle East Forum – inspired me to compile this listing in the hopes that aggregating these loathsome crimes will help wake more Westerners to the danger within.

Mr. Pipes ( is president of the Middle East Forum.

How Sickening Will Sweden Get?

by Douglas Murray:

Their gamble is that if we give the Organization of Islamic Cooperation just a little something — just a “harmless” little law — then we might all just be able to get along. But for every inch of encouragement the free nations of the world give the OIC, the more Reza Jabbaris we sacrifice — and a million more free-thinking souls.

How to deal with one madman is tricky enough, but how do you rectify things if the whole world has gone mad? Take Sweden and its apparent determination to deport Reza Jabbari back to his native Iran, most likely to be killed for having converted from Islam to Christianity.

First, there is the growing phenomenon of individuals being targeted for retribution if they have been seen to “insult” Islam. In particular there is the terrible recent case of Lars Hedegaard, who was targeted by an assassin at his home in Denmark earlier this month. The larger tapestry that hangs behind incidents such as the attempted assassination of Lars Hedegaard, Kurt Westergaard and others, however, is not just the attempt to silence a few brave voices, but the attempt to silence an entire planet. I refer of course to the attempt to criminalize – around the world – any speech which is deemed to be offensive to Islam.

This process is not only ongoing among the 57 Islamic countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), but is being considered – rather than laughed out of the room – by, among other countries, the United States of America.

For more than a decade the OIC, originating from Pakistan, has been attempting to bring in legislation via the UN to criminalize “Defamation of Religions.” Last December Hillary Clinton made a speech at the Istanbul Process’s meeting (in London, shamefully) on “Combating intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief.”

Here is the first paragraph:

Well, good afternoon, everyone, and I want to thank you all for participating in this conference where we are working together to protect two fundamental freedoms – the right to practice one’s religion freely and the right to express one’s opinion without fear.

Right there is the problem. Because her two “fundamental freedoms” might be a square peg or a round peg. But there is absolutely no way that either will ever fit into an OIC-shaped hole. Of course the OIC will continue to talk in generalities. So let us talk specifics. While the OIC pretends to worried about its feelings, let us consider a real-life, concrete, current example.

Reza Jabbari is an Iranian by birth. He is also a convert to Christianity. He is currently seeking asylum in Sweden. Why would this possibly be necessary? Surely if the OIC are being honest, Mr. Jabbari is merely someone with a different opinion from the people who run the country of his birth? And surely if the Iranians are worried about “offense” to religion, they would be standing up to ensure that Mr. Jabbari does not have his Christian faith insulted by the claims of Muslims that he is forever Muslim because he happened to have been born into a Muslim family.

Alas, the realities of the OIC are otherwise. As are those of the Swedish authorities, who appear to be doing everything they can to ensure that Mr. Jabbari is returned to Iran, where he is likely to be imprisoned, sentenced to death, or both. I suppose the Swedes reason that do not have room for him, even with all those empty homes the Jews left behind when they fled Malmo.

Read more at Gatestone Institute


Steve Emerson on Sun News Network with Michael Coren – Political correctness has damaged all aspects of life

Investigative Project on Terror :

mrctv video here

Michael Coren: It’s not just what happened last week and it’s still continuing to happen all over the world, it’s also the reaction of people you think should know better to this. They, they’re blaming the, that idiot who made this stupid film. That’s not the issue, for goodness sake! The issue is mass violence murder, hostility, craziness, and …. Steve Emerson has been writing and commenting, commentating on these issues for so long now and really predicted this would happen. Steve, welcome to you. It’s always good to have you on the show.

Steven Emerson: Hi, Michael. Good to be here with you, and you’re right, and actually, in the 17 years I’ve been working on, I did a documentary in 1994 called “Jihad in America” and in 1996 I got my first death threat. This is way before today. Today’s New York Times, you know, gave all the grievances; why Muslims are angry. None of the grievances happened in the 1990’s and yet the ’93 World Trade Center bombing happened, you know, 17 years ago. So, the bottom line here is the issue is not the film. The issue is the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood and their like don’t believe in the First Amendment., don’t believe in free speech, and the irony of course is that the, the liberal pundits in this Administration said, “Well, if we have democracy in the Muslim world, it’ll satiate their political anger. They’ll chatter within the political system. What they’re doing is they’re imposing a totalitarian system on their own people, and now they’re imposing it on us.

COREN: Yes. This is so significant. We may never win over people in the Middle East. The Islamic World may always believe that censorship is the order of the day, but it’s beginning, as you say, to influence people in the West. People who have called themselves liberals for so long, are saying, “Well, you shouldn’t provoke them, that the moviemaker was in the wrong. We should change our way of life to accommodate theirs.

EMERSON: This is, listen, Michael. This is big. Hollywood now feature any more Islamic terrorists or protagonists. In fact, they submit their scripts to Muslim Brotherhood front groups. Publishing houses, like the one doing on the one on the Danish cartoons, won’t republish the Danish cartoons, right? So, we’re self censoring ourselves. We have this culture or relativism that Western values are no longer superior, that the First Amendment, I mean that the way we reacted was, we regret the fact that we have a First Amendment, and then most reporters started investigating the crazy guy that did the film., when the real investigation should have been about the fact that these people insist that their values which is, are totalitarian should be applied to our system, and the President should have stood up, and instead of saying, demanding that our diplomats be protected, should have said, “We have the First Amendment, that’s a sacred right of this country, of the West. It’s the bedrock of Western civilization, and unless you respect tha, t we’re not going to deal with you.

COREN: You mentioned, and for those who are not aware of this, you mentioned the Danish cartoon. There is an entire book written about the Kurt Westergaard cartoon of Muhammad. The entire book is devoted to that subject. There is not one single cartoon in the entire bloody book.

EMERSON: Yeah, well, that’s right, I mean. And in this country, by way. And in Europe, in sympathy to the Danish cartoonists,. newspapers around Europe published the cartoons. In this country, out of the 300 newspapers, only two newspapers republished the cartoons. And the book that’s being published, of course, you know about South Park, the televisions comedy series. They censored, you know, a whole series that featured a satire on Muhammad. They satire all religions. The reality is that, that they, empowering them now has given them the right to basically impose values and also it has stoked new violence that we’ve never seen before. This is not going away. This is the beginning of a new chapter, and in fact in the next four years, I’m going to predict this right now: that you, that we will now see the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, a whole, it’s going to take away. It’s going to replicate the sphere of influence that the Soviet Union once had. It’ll be the Muslim Brotherhood Union. They’ll have Iran on their side. They’ll probably have nuclear weapons. And, and the world will be a much more dangerous place

COREN: Well, it’s interesting that you say that because the Soviets were who they were, we knew, and there was a certain consensus of, of aspiration if you like. And they probably also acknowledged that their sphere of influence stopped at a certain place. They did want to survive. They didn’t want Armageddon. They valued life over death as opposed to the Muslim Brothers. This is a very, very different confrontation now. And they are winning. And we have this Fifth Column that is incredibly large. Are there are liberal journalists, any journalists on the left who are standing up and saying, “Hey, guys, what are you doing here? We believe in freedom of speech.”

EMERSON : Well, there are some, interesting enough, there are some. Well, there aren’t many. I’ll tell you the truth. I mean, you won’t find in the New York, the irony of course is that liberals and the ACLU should be standing. The ACLU for example, the American Civil Liberties Union, was founded on the basis that there shouldn’t be any blasphemy laws, and yet in the last ten years they’ve appointed members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. to all their boards, who believe in blasphemy laws. And the reality is, we are essentially implementing them, although we don’t admit it, these type of self censorship, blasphemy laws. People won’t publish books. People are, I’m doing a new documentary. It’s coming out in the next week, it’s called “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception.” It’s about the Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the United States. I cannot tell you the reactions I’ve gotten from major cable channels who are afraid to air it. They won’t admit it, but they’re afraid, right? And that’s affecting our freedom of speech already, without openly admitting that they’re being intimidated. So we’re already being affected by it.

COREN: Of course, and it does come down to this. It really does. Blasphemy laws. People will try and twist and turn and say, “Well, provocation and offense, Many things which are offensive and provocative. We have certain laws such as

EMERSON: You know what? Being not a Muslim, being not a Muslim is offensive. I was just reading a transcript – and we do a lot of undercover work – and I was reading a transcript of a group based in New York, but they’re Jamaat e Islami, called the Islamic Circle of North America, and they admitted their entire mission in North America and around the world is Da’wa, to convert others to Islam and they freight it however in the cultural neutral term of trying to be, to open people eyes to another religion, but they admit in this conference that, our purpose here is to convert everybody to Islam, and in fact Islam was on top of the world until they lost at the gates of Vienna, and then they’ve been on the bottom of the world. And how do they explain this? The West and the United States now is, has been involved in a conspiracy to subjugate Islam. So no matter what we do, Michael. No matter what year, they’ll always have grievance. OK? And they believe we are at fault for the fact that they are at the bottom of the totem pole in the world today. And the reality is, you know, the great scholar Bernard Lewis wrote a great piece after 2011, after 2001, called “The Roots of Muslim Rage.” And I recommend that for everybody. And it shows that, that, you know, the New York Times story that they’re angry about Gitmo. They’re angry about the Iraq War. They’re angry about Afghanistan. I tell you, those things are, yes, they’re angry about that. They’re also angry about the fact that the United States, you know, has freedom of speech.

COREN: You know, I wish we had more time. Saddam Hussein was hated by Islamic Fundamentalists. He was a secularist who dealt with fundamentalists in a way, well, maybe others should have, but hey had no time for him at all. This nonsense about conspiracy and persecution. What you say, it comes down to blasphemy. The very people who consummate dramas about how evil the Medieval Church was and blasphemy, are the very same people who just open the door to Islamic fanatics and say, “You have more blasphemy laws, we’ll accept them because we’re too frightened and intimidated to actually stand up to these people, and say, ‘Enough is enough.'”

EMERSON: Michael, when was the last time a Westerner or US mob or Canadian mob attacked a, embassy, Muslim embassy or consulate for the tens of thousands of videos on YouTube and on Internet site with Islamic clerics calling for the killing of Christians and Jews? I can’t remember one.

COREN: It’s never happened, and it never will. Steve, a great pleasure as it was We’ll have you back in the show very soon. Thanks so very much.

EMERSON: You’re very welcome.