Free Speech and Islam: Fired for Reporting the Truth

Simply tweeting video of a Muslim student characterizing his religion on an interfaith panel cost me my job.

National Review, By Andy Ngo — May 12, 2017:

Last month, I attended an interfaith panel discussion, “Unpacking Misconceptions,” at Portland State University, where I’m a political-science graduate student. I ended up being fired as the multimedia editor of our student newspaper, the Vanguard, for tweeting about what was said there.

Much of the discussion was uncontroversial. The students on the panel mainly shared complaints of what they perceived as misconceptions about their religions. A Hindu student lampooned author Reza Aslan for his depiction of Hinduism on CNN’s Believer, which showed a minority sect’s practice of eating human flesh. A Jewish student said most Jews don’t have payot, the side curls worn by some Orthodox Jewish men. An atheist student spoke on behalf of a secular-humanist worldview and challenged the audience to think about how we as a society can develop our own moral framework without religion.

At one point, a woman in the audience asked the Muslim student if a specific verse in the Koran actually permitted the killing of non-Muslims. “I can confidently tell you, when the Koran says an innocent life, it means an innocent life, regardless of the faith, the race, like, whatever you can think about as a characteristic,” he began.

At this point, I took out my mobile phone and began recording as he continued:

And some, this, that you’re referring to, killing non-Muslims, that [to be a non-believer] is only considered a crime when the country’s law, the country is based on Koranic law — that means there is no other law than the Koran. In that case, you’re given the liberty to leave the country, you can go in a different country, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. So you can go in a different country, but in a Muslim country, in a country based on the Koranic laws, disbelieving, or being an infidel, is not allowed so you will be given the choice [to leave].

Although I was not there officially as a reporter to cover the event, I shared a 40-second snippet of the video on my personal Twitter account, with a message that conveyed my understanding of the speaker’s meaning — namely, that non-Muslims would be killed or banished in a state governed by Koranic law:

At @Portland_State interfaith panel today, the Muslim student speaker said that apostates will be killed or banished in an Islamic state. pic.twitter.com/YpsVSB1w9P

— Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) April 27, 2017

I later posted a longer version of the video in a follow-up tweet to provide more context:

.@Portland_State Here is full clip that I recorded. An audience member asked about Quran 5:51 & “infidels.” He summarizes Quran 5:32 just before video starts pic.twitter.com/7FMgsPbFR6

— Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) April 27, 2017

This longer video includes a response by someone in the audience who disagreed with the speaker, saying it was “perfectly okay for non-Muslims to live in Muslim lands.” The audience member cited the existence of religious-minority communities in the Middle East as an example of Islamic tolerance.

Four days later, the editor-in-chief of my school newspaper called me into a meeting. The paper’s managing editor was also present. They asked me about a Breitbart piece describing the event. It was the first time I’d seen the piece, which included my tweets and a tweet from one of the panelists.

My editor, whom I deeply respected at the time, called me “predatory” and “reckless,” telling me I had put the life and well-being of the Muslim student and his family at risk. She said that my tweets implied the student advocated the killing of atheists. Another person in the meeting said I should have taken into account the plight of victimized groups in the “current political climate.” The editor claimed I had “violated the paper’s ethical standards” by not “minimizing harm” toward the speaker.

As far as I’m concerned, the job of any reporter is to report facts, and that’s what I was doing when I tweeted about the panel.

All these accusations were shocking to me. Moments after publishing the original video, I shared the tweet with the editor and a Vanguard reporter who was at the event. Neither of them expressed any outrage in response back then. The tweets apparently only became “predatory” and “reckless” when conservative sites picked up on them.

In my defense, I told the two editors that I had simply been relating the speaker’s words. While dozens of Muslim states do not consider apostasy or blasphemy a crime, 13 Muslim-majority countries punish these actions with death. The speaker was admitting as much, and as someone who has covered the persecution of atheists and apostates in Muslim countries, I considered that newsworthy.

Nevertheless, my editor turned to me and said, “We have to ask you to step aside.” She said I had “a history” of affiliation with conservative media, and argued that that history was toxic to the “reputation of the Vanguard.”

The Vanguard rejected my original idea for this piece when I pitched it to them, citing concerns that it would cause the unnamed Muslim panelist further distress. For my own part, I remain baffled by my former editors’ reasoning. As far as I’m concerned, the job of any reporter is to report facts, and that’s what I was doing when I tweeted about the panel. I find it distressing that I could be fired for continuing to uphold that mission when the facts in question are liable to make people uncomfortable, as facts often are. Much like the student I spoke to that evening at the panel, I was disinclined to sugarcoat the truth. I just couldn’t have imagined it would cost me so dearly.

— Andy Ngo is a graduate student in political science at Portland State University. He is the former multimedia editor of the Portland State Vanguard.

Indonesia: Jakarta’s Christian governor guilty in “blasphemy” trial, gets two years prison

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, May 9, 2017:

Ahok committed the cardinal sin of being a Christian in a position of authority. Islamic law forbids non-Muslims to hold authority over Muslims. That Ahok was governor of Jakarta made something like this show trial inevitable. That Islamic supremacists got him on blasphemy, and had to get him in the first place for the crime of being a Christian in authority, is an indication of how far Indonesia has moved from its supposedly “moderate” character.

“Jakarta governor Ahok found guilty in landmark Indonesian blasphemy trial,” by Ben Westcott, CNN, May 9, 2017:

(CNN)Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly known as Ahok, has been sentenced to two years in prison, after being found guilty of blasphemy in a trial seen as a test of Indonesia’s religious tolerance.

In April, prosecutors had called for the blasphemy counts to be dropped in exchange for a lesser charge of “spreading hate,” but the judges appear to have ignored that recommendation.

The controversial Chinese Christian politician was put on trial in December over accusations that he insulted Islam while campaigning for re-election. He repeatedly denied the charges.

Ahok was detained immediately after the verdict and taken to the Cipinang detention center in East Jakarta, local media reported. He said he would immediately appeal the court’s decision.

The Jakarta governor sparked controversy in late 2016 after quoting a verse from the Quran to prove to his supporters that there were no restrictions on Muslims voting for a non-Muslim politician.

Almost no one who has been charged under the blasphemy law has ever escaped conviction, associate professor of Indonesian politics at the Australian National University Greg Fealy told CNN.

“The blasphemy law has really been a blight on the rule of law and democracy in Indonesia for decades,” he said, adding that “the fact that Ahok was charged at all was really a product of massive street demonstrations that frightened the government into acting.”

Growing conservatism

…While Indonesia has built a reputation as a tolerant, diverse nation, experts say Ahok’s conviction is the latest example of the country’s growing conservatism.

Recent years have seen large anti-LGBT protests in Jakarta in early 2016, a push to criminalize homosexual sex and passionate reactions to allegations of blasphemy.

An estimated 200,000 people converged on the center of the Indonesian capital to demand the arrest of its minority-Christian governor on November 4.

Since an edited video of Ahok’s remarks was released, hundreds of thousands of Muslim Indonesians have protested against him on the streets of Jakarta, with many calling for his jailing or even execution.
Roads near the Agriculture Ministry where the verdict was due to be delivered were closed from Monday evening in preparation, local media reported….

UTT Throwback Thursday: Muslims Threaten Death for Free Speech

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, May 4, 207:

On January 7, 2015, two muslim brothers – Said and Cherif Kouachi – killed 12 and wounded many others in Paris in an attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo because they insulted Islam’s prophet.

Around the world non-Muslims are being threatened with death and killed for “insulting” Islam’s prophet Mohammad.

Why?

Because Mohammad himself commanded, condoned, and called for it.  He is the “perfect example” in Islam for muslims to follow.  His sayings and actions are recorded in the hadith.  The most authoritative hadith scholar recognized in Islam is Bukhari.

“Allah’s Messenger said, ‘Who is willing to kill Ka`b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?’ Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Would you like that I kill him?’ The Prophet said, “Yes.”  [Bukhari, Vol. 5, Book 59, Hadith 369]

And Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf was killed.

Non-Muslims who speak truth about Islam are accused of being “Islamophobes” meaning they are violating the Islamic law of “Slander” in sharia, which is to say anything about Islam or muslims a muslim would “dislike.”

Slander is a capital crime under sharia.

To “insult” a muslim is to be threatened with death for exercising the God-given right of free speech.

Charlie Hebdo jihadi Cherif Kouachi gave an interview with NBC before he was subsequently killed by French security forces.  In the interview he said:

“We are not killers. We are defenders of the prophet, we don’t kill women. We kill no one. We defend the prophet. If someone offends the prophet then there is no problem, we can kill him.”

They are simply following core teaches of Islam and its prophet.

In the Minneapolis, Minnesota the muslim population there also believes anyone who insults Mohammad should be killed.  See this video by Ami Horowitz in which he simply walks the streets of the muslim majority Cedar Riverside neighborhood asking simple questions.  Muslims, including a “nice” muslim lady, tell him those who insult the prophet should be killed (3:32 mark on video).

Its all about sharia.

Yet, local and state leaders in Minneapolis/St Paul continue to ignore the growing cancer of Islam in their community which holds these ideas and supports the sharia which calls for barbaric punishments and actions antithetical to our Constitutional republic – like killing people who “insult” Islam or its prophet.

Instead local and state officials in Minneapolis conduct outreach to muslims and condemn anyone who “insults” Islam.  This is the enforcement of the Islamic Law of Slander without stepping foot into a courtroom.

Each time UTT schedules its 3-day “Understanding and Investigating the Jihadi Network” for law enforcement around the nation, it is met with growing resistance from suit-wearing jihadis – like the terrorist group Hamas doing business as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).  The ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and most local and national media outlets join the jihadis (“terrorists”) in calling for our program to be shut down because it “offends” muslims.

This despite the fact UTT continues to offer to remove any information in the program that can be factually disputed.

These same threats are levied against anyone holding events around the nation speaking truthfully about the Islamic threat such as Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Dr. Bill Warner, and others.

These are overt threats and the ACLU, SPLC, and media are complicit in aiding and abetting terrorists in threatening citizens.

If the Department of Justice will not act to protect U.S. citizens from this obvious threat, the citizens will eventually stop waiting and take care of themselves.

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Kudos to Arizona police!!!

You can defend Bin Laden at Berkeley, but not conservatism

Hamid Mir | Wikimedia Commons

Conservative Review, by Jordan Shachtel,  April 27, 2017:

With UC Berkeley’s unwillingness to provide actual security measures for conservative speakers, the school has made it crystal clear that there is no room for free expression on its campus.

The academic institution has, however, welcomed prominent radical Islamists with open arms. Speakers who have openly called for violence and bigotry are granted space at Berkeley, so long as they fit within the accepted political framework.

Since the turn of the century, the California school has become a cesspool of radical indoctrination that is rampant with Islamic supremacists. The school has not only turned into America’s chief promulgator of anti-American ideals, it also has become a breeding ground of anti-Semitism.

April 13 marked the 10-year anniversary of an overtly pro-Osama bin Laden speech hosted by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at Berkeley.

The shocking audio, in which the speaker demands that fellow Muslims not condemn the international terrorist, has been preserved by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

“Osama bin Laden … I don’t know this guy. I don’t know what he did. I don’t know what he said. I don’t know what happened. But we defend Muslim brothers and we defend our Muslim sisters to the end. Is that clear?” Amir Mertaban, the former MSA West president, said at a MSA conference of the now-dead al Qaeda chief.

“If you sit here and you start saying ‘jihad is only an internal this and that,’ you are compromising on your faith,” he added.

In 2004, a Berkeley MSA conference hosted Amir Abdel Malik Ali, who called for fellowmujahids” (warriors for Islam) to take up arms and form a Muslim theocracy. The left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center has described him as “a charismatic imam who promotes anti-Semitism, violence and conspiracy theories that blame the U.S. government and Jews for attacks by Islamic terrorists.”

Two years later, Mr. Ali spoke at a UC Irvine pro-Hezbollah (which is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization) conference and was received by chants of “Allahu Akbar!”

Later that year, to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, Islamic supremacists at Berkeley held an anti-Semitic hate fest, shouting for the destruction of Israel.

The UC’s Islamic supremacy complex is far from a thing of the past.

In 2015, Berkeley hosted Omar Barghouti, leader of the anti-Semitic BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against the state of Israel. Today, Berkeley continues to be a cesspool of Islamic supremacist indoctrination.

The California school partners with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) – an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror financing trial in American history, and a suspected Hamas front group – on annual “Islamophobia” reports and conferences.

The annual confab, which took place last week, featured Zahra Billoo. She is the director of CAIR’s San Francisco-Bay Area chapter. Billoo has, in the past, accused U.S. soldiers of engaging in terrorism and has advised her allies to thwart FBI investigations.

The Berkeley-CAIR “Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project” was started by Dr. Hatem Bazian, a professor at the school. Bazian is the founder of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an anti-Semitic hate group that seeks to eliminate the Jewish state of Israel. Bazian has, in the past, called for an intifada (violent uprising) in America.

Berkeley’s indoctrination efforts have clearly had an effect on the individuals matriculating there. Check out this shocking video released in 2014 by filmmaker Ami Horowitz. It highlighted how students reacted much more negatively to an Israeli flag than to an Islamic State flag.

Berkeley is no place for conservatism, yet the school seemingly has no issue with radical Islamists who seek to overthrow the country and impose a theocracy on America.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

Also see:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam’s Most Eloquent Apostate

ILLUSTRATION: ZINA SAUNDERS

WSJ, by Tunku Varadarajan, April 7, 2017:

The woman sitting opposite me, dressed in a charcoal pantsuit and a duck-egg-blue turtleneck, can’t go anywhere, at any time of day, without a bodyguard. She is soft-spoken and irrepressibly sane, but also—in the eyes of those who would rather cut her throat than listen to what she says—the most dangerous foe of Islamist extremism in the Western world. We are in a secure room at a sprawling university, but the queasiness in my chest takes a while to go away. I’m talking to a woman with multiple fatwas on her head, someone who has a greater chance of meeting a violent end than anyone I’ve met (Salman Rushdie included). And yet she’s wholly poised, spectacles pushed back to rest atop her head like a crown, dignified and smiling under siege.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia in 1969, is Islam’s most eloquent apostate. She has just published a slim book that seeks to add a new four-letter word—dawa—to the West’s vocabulary. It describes the ceaseless, world-wide ideological campaign waged by Islamists as a complement to jihad. It is, she says, the greatest threat facing the West and “could well bring about the end of the European Union as we know it.” America is far from immune, and her book, “The Challenge of Dawa,” is an explicit attempt to persuade the Trump administration to adopt “a comprehensive anti-dawa strategy before it is too late.”

Ms. Hirsi Ali has come a long way from the days when she—“then a bit of a hothead”—declared Islam to be incapable of reform, while also calling on Muslims to convert or abandon religion altogether. That was a contentious decade ago. Today she believes that Islam can indeed be reformed, that it must be reformed, and that it can be reformed only by Muslims themselves—by those whom she calls “Mecca Muslims.” These are the faithful who prefer the gentler version of Islam that she says was “originally promoted by Muhammad” before 622. That was the year he migrated to Medina and the religion took a militant and unlovely ideological turn.

At the same time, Ms. Hirsi Ali—now a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, where I also work—is urging the West to look at Islam with new eyes. She says it must be viewed “not just as a religion, but also as a political ideology.” To regard Islam merely as a faith, “as we would Christianity or Buddhism, is to run the risk of ignoring dawa, the activities carried out by Islamists to keep Muslims energized by a campaign to impose Shariah law on all societies—including countries of the West.”

Dawa, Ms. Hirsi Ali explains, is “conducted right under our noses in Europe, and in America. It aims to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and also to push existing Muslims in a more extreme direction.” The ultimate goal is “to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with Shariah.” It is a “never-ending process,” she says, and then checks herself: “It ends when an Islamic utopia is achieved. Shariah everywhere!”

Ms. Hirsi Ali contends that the West has made a colossal mistake by its obsession with “terror” in the years since 9/11. “In focusing only on acts of violence,” she says, “we’ve ignored the Islamist ideology underlying those acts. By not fighting a war of ideas against political Islam—or ‘Islamism’—and against those who spread that ideology in our midst, we’ve committed a blunder.”

There is a knock on the door. I hear hushed voices outside, presumably her bodyguard telling someone to come back later. To add to the mildly dramatic effect, a siren is audible somewhere in the distance, unusual for the serene Stanford campus. Ms. Hirsi Ali is unfazed. “What the Islamists call jihad,” she continues, “is what we call terrorism, and our preoccupation with it is, I think, a form of overconfidence. ‘Terrorism is the way of the weak,’ we tell ourselves, ‘and if we can just take out the leaders and bring down al Qaeda or ISIS, then surely the followers will stop their jihad.’ But we’re wrong. Every time Western leaders take down a particular organization, you see a different one emerge, or the same one take on a different shape. And that’s because we’ve been ignoring dawa.”

Ms. Hirsi Ali wants us to get away from this game of jihadi Whac-A-Mole and confront “the enemy that is in plain sight—the activists, the Islamists, who have access to all the Western institutions of socialization.” She chuckles here: “That’s a horrible phrase . . . ‘institutions of socialization’ . . . but they’re there, in families, in schools, in universities, prisons, in the military as chaplains. And we can’t allow them to pursue their aims unchecked.”

America needs to be on full alert against political Islam because “its program is fundamentally incompatible with the U.S. Constitution”—with religious pluralism, the equality of men and women, and other fundamental rights, including the toleration of different sexual orientations. “When we say the Islamists are homophobic,” she observes, “we don’t mean that they don’t like gay marriage. We mean that they want gays put to death.”

Islam the religion, in Ms. Hirsi Ali’s view, is a Trojan horse that conceals Islamism the political movement. Since dawa is, ostensibly, a religious missionary activity, its proponents “enjoy a much greater protection by the law in free societies than Marxists or fascists did in the past.” Ms. Hirsi Ali is not afraid to call these groups out. Her book names five including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which asserts—and in turn receives in the mainstream media—the status of a moderate Muslim organization. But groups like CAIR, Ms. Hirsi Ali says, “take advantage of the focus on ‘inclusiveness’ by progressive political bodies in democratic societies, and then force these societies to bow to Islamist demands in the name of peaceful coexistence.”

Her strategy to fight dawa evokes several parallels with the Western historical experience of radical Marxism and the Cold War. Islamism has the help of “useful idiots”—Lenin’s phrase—such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has denounced Ms. Hirsi Ali as an “extremist.” She sees that smear as a success for dawa: “They go to people like the SPLC and say, ‘Can we partner with you, because we also want to talk about what you guys talk about, which is civil rights. And Muslims are a minority, just like you.’ So, they play this victim card, and the SPLC swallows it. And it’s not just them, it’s also the ACLU. The Islamists are infiltrating all these institutions that were historic and fought for rights. It’s a liberal blind spot.”

Western liberals, she says, are also complicit in an Islamist cultural segregation. She recalls a multiculturalist catchphrase from her years as a Somali refugee in Amsterdam in the early 1990s: “ ‘Integrate with your own identity,’ they used to tell us—Integratie met eigen identiteit. Of course, that resulted in no integration at all.”

Ms. Hirsi Ali wants the Trump administration—and the West more broadly—to counter the dawa brigade “just as we countered both the Red Army and the ideology of communism in the Cold War.” She is alarmed by the ease with which, as she sees it, “the agents of dawa hide behind constitutional protections they themselves would dismantle were they in power.” She invokes Karl Popper, the great Austrian-British philosopher who wrote of “the paradox of tolerance.” Her book quotes Popper writing in 1945: “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

I ask Ms. Hirsi Ali what her solution might be, and she leans once more on Popper, who proposed a right not to tolerate the intolerant. “Congress must give the president—this year, because there’s no time to lose—the tools he needs to dismantle the infrastructure of dawa in the U.S.” Dawa has become an existential menace to the West, she adds, because its practitioners are “working overtime to prevent the assimilation of Muslims into Western societies. It is assimilation versus dawa. There is a notion of ‘cocooning,’ by which Islamists tell Muslim families to cocoon their children from Western society. This can’t be allowed to happen.”

Is Ms. Hirsi Ali proposing to give Washington enhanced powers to supervise parenting? “Yes,” she says. “We want these children to be exposed to critical thinking, freedom, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the rights of women.” She also suggests subjecting immigrants and refugees to ideological scrutiny, so as to deny entry, residence and naturalization to those “involved with, or supportive of, Islamism.”

In effect, Ms. Hirsi Ali would modernize the “communism test” that still applies to those seeking naturalization. “I had to answer questions when I applied for citizenship in 2013: ‘Are you, or have you ever been, a communist?’ And I remember thinking, ‘God, that was the war back then. We’re supposed to update this stuff!’ Potential immigrants from Pakistan or Bangladesh, for instance, should have to answer questions—‘Are you a member of the Jamat?’ and so on. If they’re from the Middle East you ask them about the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘or any other similar group,’ so there’s no loophole.”

Might critics deride this as 21st-century McCarthyism? “That’s just a display of intellectual laziness,” Ms. Hirsi Ali replies. “We’re dealing here with a lethal ideological movement and all we are using is surveillance and military means? We have to grasp the gravity of dawa. Jihad is an extension of dawa. For some, in fact, it is dawa by other means.”

The U.S., she believes, is in a “much weaker position to combat the various forms of nonviolent extremism known as dawa because of the way that the courts have interpreted the First Amendment”—a situation where American exceptionalism turns into what she calls an “exceptional handicap.” Convincing Americans of this may be the hardest part of Ms. Hirsi Ali’s campaign, and she knows it. Yet she asks whether the judicial attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s—themselves a reaction to the excesses of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s—might have left the U.S. ill-equipped to suppress threats from groups that act in the name of religion.

I ask Ms. Hirsi Ali if there’s any one thing she would wish for. “I would like to be present at a conversation between Popper and Muhammad,” she says. “Popper wrote about open society and its enemies, and subjected everyone from Plato to Marx to his critical scrutiny. I’d have liked him to subject Muhammad’s legacy to the same analysis.

“But he skipped Muhammad, alas. He skipped Muhammad.”

Mr. Varadarajan is a research fellow in journalism at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

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Also see:

The Big Shut-Up

By Mark Steyn, Steyn on the WorldApril 3, 2017:

Over the weekend, I swung by Judge Jeanine’s show to talk about one of the most malign trends of our time: the ever more open refusal by one side to permit those on the other side to speak. As I always say, I don’t care what side you pick on the great questions of the age – climate change, gay marriage, Islam, transgendered bathrooms, whatever – but, if you’re on the side that says the other guy isn’t entitled to a side, you’re on the wrong side. Here’s how I put it to Judge Jeanine:

That Tweetaway takeaway is correct: They don’t want to participate in the debate, and win it. It’s easier to shut it down and save themselves the trouble. Case in point:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Tour Cancelled

Citing security issues, the Somalian-born activist calls off her scheduled Australian tour…

Let’s just expand that “Somali-born activist” précis a little. She’s not a dead white male like me or Charles Murray. As someone once said, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is everything the identity-group fetishists profess to dig: female, atheist, black, immigrant. But, because she does not toe the party line on Islam, her blackness washes off her like a bad dye job on a telly anchorman – and so do her femaleness and godlessness and immigrant status. And in the end she is Charles Murray, or Geert Wilders – or even David Duke. A black Somali woman is, it turns out, a “white supremacist“.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is someone who fled genital mutilation and arranged marriage in a backward, barbarous society to come to the west and live in freedom. Her first stop was the Netherlands. But the director of the film she wrote, Theo van Gogh, was murdered in the street, and the man who shot him then drove two knives through what was left of his chest pinning to it a five-page death-threat promising to do the same to Ayaan. So she was forced to leave the Netherlands, and has lived with round-the-clock security ever since. Now she has to cross Australia off the list, too. Where’s next? Can she speak in Sweden? Or Canada? Ireland or Germany? She left Somalia to live as a western woman, only to watch the west turn itself into Somalia, incrementally but remorselessly, at least as far as free speech is concerned.

It began, as it always does, respectably enough. Four hundred Muslim women in Australia – academics, social workers, diversicrats, supposed “human-rights activists” – signed a petition objecting to her tour Down Under but all artfully crafted in the usual weaselly more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger shtick, concluding with:

Australia deserves better than this.

Aww, that’s so cute! Did you all tilt your heads in unison and group-furrow your brows into concerned expressions? The petition title’s a doozy too:

Ayaan Hirsi-Ali [sic] Does Not Speak For Us

Well, she never claimed to, did she? You’re all Muslim women, and she’s a non-Muslim woman. She’s left Islam. Which makes her an apostate, which is one more reason why she lives with round-the-clock death threats. Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks for herself. Why don’t you try that? Why don’t you try engaging in debate, in argument, in the free exchange of ideas? Or is it easier to insist that supposed freeborn citizens can only “speak for” the collective monolithic position of identity groups?

Next came something called the “Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia”. Hey, we’re all against Islamophobia, aren’t we? (At least at the House of Commons in Ottawa.) But how exactly are we supposed to “prevent” it? Enter the Council’s enforcer, Syed Murtaza Hussain, who isn’t quite as cuddly as all those Australia-deserves-better-that’s-not-who-we-are types:

Its insurers were contacted and warned there could be trouble, and venues where she was scheduled to speak had been contacted and warned that there would be protests where she was due to appear…

[Hussain] informed Festival Hall in Melbourne there would be 5000 protesters outside the venue if the engagement went ahead.

Nice little Festival Hall you’ve got there. Shame if anything were to happen to it.

As Brendan O’Neill observes:

Hirsi Ali’s troubles in Australia are striking because they point to a really worrying interplay between the polite intolerance of ‘Islamophobia’ and the more violent urge in certain sections of society to punish and maybe even kill critics of Islam.

As I say wearily for the umpteenth time, the defenders of Section 18 in Oz and the MPs who voted for M-103 in Canada and the jelly-spined non-entity of a university president who canceled Ayaan’s appearance at Brandeis, on the one hand, and, on the other, the men who slaughtered the Charlie Hebdo staff and shot up Lars Vilks’ event in Copenhagen and firebombed the Norwegian comedienne Shabana Rehman’s family restaurant are merely different points on the same continuum: they’re all in the shut-up business. And they’re all hustling us further along the same dark retreat into silence.

But as I wrote a few years ago:

After the threats against the Comedy Central show South Park the other week, Ms. Hirsi Ali turned up on CNN to say that the best defence against Islamic intimidation is for us all to stand together and thereby “share the risk.” But, around the world, every single translator of her books has insisted on total anonymity. When push comes to shove, very few are willing to share the risk. The British historian Andrew Roberts calls her “the bravest woman I know.”

I agree with Robert. The problem is that for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s bravery to be effective depends on the tour promoters’ bravery. And the tour promoters’ bravery depends on whichever hotel group she’s booked with to be brave. And the hotel group’s bravery depends on whichever corporate entity owns the event venues to be brave. And the corporate entity’s bravery depends on the insurers’ bravery. And the insurers’ bravery depends on someone ponying up an extra gazillion dollars for security costs. And suddenly for the cost of a bare-bones speech by one brave woman you could mount The Phantom Of The Opera meets Avatar on ice and still come out ahead.

I have had the privilege of sharing stages with Ayaan Hirsi Ali at various places around the world from London to California. It wasn’t that long ago, but it feels already like the past – a previous era, just the day before yesterday but already the rules have changed. In 2015, I spoke in Copenhagen at an event to mark the tenth anniversary of the famous “Mohammed cartoons”. As on the fifth anniversary, it required the protection of PET, the Danish security police. But this time, as an additional precaution, it had to be moved inside the fortress-thick walls of the Danish Parliament in order to lessen further the likelihood of fellows who regard debate as a waste of time (and, indeed,an affront) busting in and shooting us all. Nevertheless, notwithstanding all the security, both the US State Department and the British Foreign Office issued formal warnings advising their nationals to steer clear of the Parliament building that day.

These things are always a little stressful: as recent incidents at Westminster and Ottawa illustrate, even national parliaments are not as “secure” as they appear. So we were looking forward to unwinding at dinner afterwards at what looked like a fine, convivial restaurant. Unfortunately, after the PET agents showed up for the advance-security check, the restaurateurs got cold feet and canceled on us. As my fellow speaker Douglas Murray commented:

Ten years ago, you could publish depictions of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. Ten years later, it is hard for anyone who has been connected with such an act to find a restaurant in Copenhagen that will serve them dinner.

And in another ten years? Douglas, Ayaan and I will still enjoy theoretical freedom of speech but, to exercise it, we’ll have to meet in an abandoned mine-shaft an hour south of Cloncurry, speaking to seven personally invited guests driven there blindfolded. The marketplace of ideas, from Canberra to Copenhagen, is shrinking fast. To quote Laura Rosen Cohen yet again: “Security” is the new “shut up”.

Why is restoring free speech to Australia by scrapping Section 18C so important? The most dismal moment of my own Aussie tour last year was a private dinner with a group of well-known conservative Members of Parliament – that’s to say, men and women reliably to the right of the current Prime Minister, a finger-in-the-windy jelly-spined squish on freedom of expression and so much else. Yet, even dining with supposed sturdier types, the most eminent among our number declared breezily that repealing 18C was “not a first-order priority”, not compared to what he regarded as the real first-order priority: Islamic terrorism in Australia and elsewhere.

I pointed out that one of the reasons why the former (free speech) most certainly is a first-order priority is because, without it, the latter (Islam and the west) cannot be honestly addressed. And so it has proved, yet again.

Malcolm Turnbull’s ministry ought to be ashamed that a woman like Ayaan Hirsi Ali cannot speak in the country they purport to govern. And, if they want to do something to change that, they could start by speaking up for free speech. Will they? Will Turnbull? The men and women who run the western world – in Oz, in Britain, in Canada, in Europe – have made a bet that they can banish a few loudmouths like Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the fringes but that otherwise life will go on. No, it won’t. As I said of that Copenhagen eatery:

The restaurant that chickened out is called Fiat, in King’s New Square. It looks rather convivial from this photograph, with everyone quaffing their bubbly without a care in the world. They don’t seem to grasp that such civilized pleasures require civilization, and, ultimately, people willing to defend it.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is learning the hard way that very few people are willing to “share the risk”.

Canada Condemns Islamophobia as 2nd Mosque Hosts Imam Calling for Murdering Jews

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, March 24, 2017:

Keeping your eyes on the great big shiny ball of Muslim victimhood.

The House of Commons voted Thursday afternoon to condemn “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination” but the vote for the controversial M-103 was not unanimous.

Liberals, New Democrats, and Green Party MP Elizabeth May were in favour; most Conservative and all Bloc Quebecois MPs were opposed. The vote was 201 for and 91 against…

The motion was proposed by Iqra Khalid, a first-time MP representing a Mississauga, Ont. riding.

Meanwhile Islamobigotry continues its glorious reign.

A second Montreal mosque hosted an imam offering a speech demonizing Jews and quoting from the Quran to kill them.

In a speech last December at the Dar al-Arkam mosque, Muhammad bin Musa al Nasr described Jews as “the most evil of mankind” and as “human demons,” the CIJNews reported Monday. He then quote from the Quran: at “the end of time … the stone and the tree will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me – come and kill him!’”

The mosque allowed the West Bank-born imam, a prominent member of the hard-line Salafist movement in Jordan, where he lectures at the al-Ahliyya University in Amman, to deliver more than a dozen other speeches as well.

I’m sure this Imam and his Islamic teachings have nothing to do with Islam. Also the second mosque had no problem hosting him despite the controversy over his first appearance. But we’re focusing on what’s important. Not Islamomurderism, but Islamophobia. It might be more tolerant if the House of Commons condemned Islamophilia.

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