Is Tolerance a One-Way Street?

Gatestoe Institute, by Douglas Murray, January 16, 2017

  • When just about every other magazine in the free world fails to uphold the values of free speech and the right to caricature and offend, who could expect a group of cartoonists and writers who have already paid such a high price to keep holding the line of such freedoms single-handed?
  • Most of the people who said they cared about the right to say what they wanted when they wanted, were willing to walk the walk — to walk through Paris with a pencil in the air. Or they were willing to talk the talk, proclaiming “Je Suis Charlie.” But almost no one really meant it.
  • If President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel had really believed in standing up for freedom of expression, then instead of walking arm-in-arm through Paris together with such an inappropriate figure as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, they would have held up covers of Charlie Hebdo and said: “This is what a free society looks like and this is what we back: everyone, political leaders, gods, prophets, the lot can be satirised, and if you do not like it then you should hop off to whatever unenlightened hell-hole you dream of.”
  • The entire world press has internalised what happened at Charlie Hebdo and instead of standing united, has decided never to risk something like that ever happening to them again.
  • For the last two years, we have learned for certain that any such tolerance is a one-way street. This new submission to Islamist terrorism is possibly why, in 2016, when an athlete with no involvement in politics, religion or satire was caught doing something that might have been seen as less than fully respectful of Islam, there was no one around to defend him.

The 7th of this month marked two years to the day since two gunmen walked into the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris and murdered twelve people. This period also therefore marks the second anniversary of the period of about an hour during which much of the free world proclaimed itself to be “Charlie” and attempted, by walking through the street, standing for moments of silence or re-tweeting the hashtag “Je Suis Charlie” to show the whole world that freedom cannot be suppressed and that the pen is mightier than the Kalashnikov.

So two years on is a good time to take stock of the situation. How did that go? Did all those “Je Suis” statements amount to anything more than a blip on the Twitter-sphere? Anyone trying to answer such a question might start by looking at the condition of the journal everyone was so concerned about. How has it fared in the two years since most of its senior editorial staff were gunned down by the blasphemy police?

A Paris rally on January 11, 2015, after the Charlie Hebdo attack, featuring “Je Suis Charlie” signs. (Image source: Olivier Ortelpa/Wikimedia Commons)

Not well, if a test of the magazine’s wellbeing is whether it would be willing to repeat the “crime” for which it was attacked. Six months after the slaughter, in July 2015, the new editor of the publication, Laurent Sourisseau, announced that Charlie Hebdo would no longer publish depictions of the Prophet of Islam. Charlie Hebdo had, he said, “done its job” and “defended the right to caricature.” It had published more Muhammad cartoons in the issue immediately after the mass murder at their offices and since. But, he said, they did not need to keep on doing so. Few people could have berated him and his colleagues for such a decision. When just about every other magazine in the free world fails to uphold the values of free speech and the right to caricature and offend, who could expect a group of cartoonists and writers who have already paid such a high price to keep holding the line of such freedoms single-handed?

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Europe: Illegal to Criticize Islam

Gatestone Institute, by Judith Bergman, December 12, 2016

  • While Geert Wilders was being prosecuted in the Netherlands for talking about “fewer Moroccans” during an election campaign, a state-funded watchdog group says that threatening homosexuals with burning, decapitation and slaughter is just fine, so long as it is Muslims who are making those threats, as the Quran tells them that such behavior is mandated.
  • “I am still of the view that declaring statistical facts or even sharing an opinion is not a crime if someone doesn’t like it.” – Finns Party politician, Terhi Kiemunki, fined 450 euros for writing of a “culture and law based on a violent, intolerant and oppressive religion.”
  • In Finland, since the court’s decision, citizens are now required to make a distinction, entirely fictitious, between “Islam” and “radical Islam,” or else they may find themselves prosecuted and fined for “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith.”
  • As Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” There are extremist Muslims and non-extremist Muslims, but there is only one Islam.
  • It is troubling that Western governments are so eager to crack down on anything that vaguely resembles what has erroneously been termed “Islamophobia,” which literally means an irrational fear of Islam.
  • Considering the violence we have been witnessing, for those Westerners who have studied Islam and listened to what the most influential Islamic scholars have to say, there are quite a few things in Islam of which one legitimatelyought to be fearful.

Several European governments have made it clear to their citizens that criticizing European migrant policies or migrants is criminally off-limits and may lead to arrest, prosecution and even convictions. Although these practices constitute police state behavior, European governments do not stop there. They go still farther, by ensuring that Islam in general is not criticized either.

Finland is the European country most recently to adopt the way that European authorities sanction those who criticize Islam. According to the Finnish news outlet YLE, the Pirkanmaa District Court found the Finns Party politician, Terhi Kiemunki, guilty of “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith” in a blog post of Uusi Suomi. In it, she claimed that all the terrorists in Europe are Muslims. The Court found that when Kiemunki wrote of a “repressive, intolerant and violent religion and culture,” she meant the Islamic faith.

During the trial, Kiemunki was asked why she did not make a distinction between Islam and radical Islam. She replied that she meant to refer to the spread of Islamic culture and religion, and that she “probably should have” spoken of radicalized elements of the religion instead of the faith as a whole. Kiemunki was fined 450 euros. Her lawyer has appealed the verdict.

Kiemunki issued a press release after the verdict, in which she said:

“I am still of the view that declaring statistical facts or even sharing an opinion is not a crime if someone doesn’t like it… I wrote that I don’t want our country to be overtaken by a culture and law based on a violent, intolerant and oppressive religion.”

According to YLE, she added that her essay did not generalize about Muslims, but pointed out that not all Muslims are terrorists. “In these times, specifically in the recent past and today, all of the perpetrators of terrorist acts have turned out to be Muslim,” she said.

In Finland, Terhi Kiemunki, a Finns Party politician, was found guilty by a court of “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith.” (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

So in Finland, since the court’s decision, citizens are now required to make a distinction, entirely fictitious, between “Islam” and “radical Islam,” or else they may find themselves prosecuted and fined for “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith.” As Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” There are extremist Muslims and non-extremist Muslims, but there is only one Islam.

It is a pity that Kiemunki did not present the court with quotes from the Quran, such as, “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them…” (9:5), and “So fight them until there is no more fitna [strife] and all submit to the religion of Allah.” (8:39). Perhaps, then, the court could have at least tried to explain to the public in more concrete detail the differences between “Islam” and “radical Islam.”

In the Netherlands, a state-funded hotline, run by the anti-discrimination bureau MiND, said that it could not act on a complaint about death threats against homosexuals posted to an online forum, in which the Muslim poster called for homosexuals to be “burned, decapitated and slaughtered.” The reason why this anti-discrimination watchdog group could not act on the complaint was that, “The remarks must be seen in the context of religious beliefs in Islam, which juridically takes away the insulting character.” MiND concluded that the remarks were made in

“the context of a public debate about how to interpret the Quran… some Muslims understand from the Quran that gays should be killed… In the context of religious expression that exists in the Netherlands there is a large degree of freedom of expression. In addition, the expressions are used in the context of the public debate (how to interpret the Koran), which also removes the offending character.”

So, while Geert Wilders was prosecuted in the Netherlands for talking about “fewer Moroccans” during an election campaign, a state-funded watchdog group says that threatening homosexuals with burning, decapitation and slaughter is just fine, so long as it is Muslims who are making those threats, as the Quran tells them that such behavior is mandated. This might be one of the most astounding examples of voluntary submission to sharia law in the West thus far.

A spokesman for the MiND hotline later admitted that, after “further research” on the issue, it had concluded that the complaint had been “unjustly assessed” — after Dutch MPs called for the hotline to be stripped of public funding.

In February 2016, a Danish district court found a man guilty of making statements on Facebook that the court found to be “insulting and demeaning towards adherents of Islam.” The man had written:

“The ideology of Islam is as loathsome, disgusting, oppressive and as misanthropic as Nazism. The massive immigration of Islamists into Denmark is the most devastating thing to happen to Danish society in recent history.”

He was fined for “racism.” The High Court subsequently overturned the verdict in May 2016. The court found that the man was in fact innocent of racism, as his statements were “directed at the ideology of Islam and Islamism.”

It is troubling that Western governments are so eager to crack down on anything that vaguely resembles what has erroneously been termed “Islamophobia,” which literally means an irrational fear of Islam. Considering the violence we have been witnessing, it would be irrational not to have fear of its threats. As Shabnam Assadollahi recently pointed out in an open letter to Canadian Members of Parliament, there are quite a few things in Islam of which one legitimatelyought to be fearful.

All these governments need to do is consult the speeches of one of the most influential living Islamic scholars of Sunni Islam, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi hosts one of Al Jazeera’s most popular programs, Sharia and Life, which reaches an estimated 60 million viewers worldwide. Already in 1995, Qaradawi told a Muslim Arab Youth Association convention in Toledo, Ohio, “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through the sword, but through dawa [outreach].”

Dawa, the Islamic call to conversion, is the Islamic summons for the non-violent conquest of non-Muslim lands, including Europe. As explained by Qaradawi in a recording from 2007, the aim of the conquest consists mainly the introduction of sharia law. According to Qaradawi, sharia law should be inserted gradually, over a five-year period in a new country, before implementing it in full. This sharia law includes chopping off hands for theft; killing apostates and homosexuals, denigrating and oppressing women, as in polygamy, beating them as a means of “disciplining” them, and so on. For those Westerners who have studied Islam and listened to what the most influential Islamic scholars have to say, there is quite a bit to be “phobic” about. It would be refreshing to hear the views of European leaders and courts on these aspects of sharia law instead of their almost ritual condemnations of those who have actually studied Islamic sources and seek to raise awareness of the nature of sharia law.

While prosecuting and sanctioning people who criticize Islam is becoming more common in Europe, this practice used to be reserved only for Muslim countries officially governed by sharia law, such as Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, where it is forbidden to insult Islam.

It is a pity that European courts and other state bodies have begun taking their cues from Islamic law. Apparently, European judges and politicians are no longer capable of appreciating the immense freedoms that used to be the norm on the continent, and which they seem all too willing, of their own free will, to abolish.

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

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Why Are Terror Leader al-Awlaki’s Video Messages Still on YouTube?

awlaki-1Fox News Insider, December 5, 2016:

YouTube has the ability to remove videos seen as having the potential to recruit terrorists, says Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.

The judge joined Jenna Lee on Happening Now to discuss growing questions on why the videos of radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – leader of the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen – have been allowed to remain on YouTube.

Investigators have linked the ideology of al-Awlaki, who was killed in Yemen five years ago, to at least 11 incidents since 2009, including the recent attack on the campus of Ohio State University.

According to a YouTube representative, “YouTube has clear policies in prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence, and we quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users.” So why then are al-Awlaki’s videos allowed to remain on the platform, Lee asked.

“The short answer is his videos are still out there because like flag burning, they are protected speech,” Napolitano said. “Even though they are hateful, even though they advocate violence, even though they are profoundly un-American, they are protected speech…protected from the government…but not protected from YouTube, which is not the government.

“So the First Amendment says the government shall not interfere with free speech, but YouTube could take them down in a flash just because it doesn’t want this stuff being propagated on its platform.”

Napolitano said YouTube should make a “business judgment” on how to handle this content.

“If they think their their shareholders want a free and open platform where any political idea can be aired no matter how horrible, hateful or harmful it may be, they should keep it on there,” he said. “But if they want to cleanse the airwaves of this horror and terror producing stuff, they can take it down with impunity.”

George Mason University Creates A “Safe Space” for Terror Supporters; Throws Anti-Jihad Activist in Jail

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After repeatedly searching for weapons, the police slapped handcuffs on them, targeting them for the content of their work.

CounterJihad, by Kyle Shideler, November 16, 2016:

Oleg Atbashian—or “Red Square,” as he is known to fans at the popular satirical website The People’s Cube—knows what it looks like when dictators crackdown on freedom of speech. As a former Soviet dissident who once agitated for the release of Andrei Sakharov, Oleg notes that he doesn’t “scare easily.” But now he faces five years in prison for his latest poster campaign, a fate he never faced in the Soviet Union.

Oleg, whose artwork frequently utilizes soviet-style aesthetics to criticize the totalitarian impulses of leftist and Islamist groups, was working on such a campaign at the campus of George Mason University. His sponsor, The David Horowitiz Freedom Center, sought to use his art to comment on the ongoing National Conference of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a rabidly anti-Israel student group.

But Students for Justice in Palestine isn’t your average student group. It’s organized and supported by American Muslim for Palestine (AMP), a group closely linked to Hamas terror finance groups, according to the congressional testimony of Terrorism analyst Jonathan Schanzer.

This year, the SJP’s early November two-day conference at George Mason was a source of debate between pro-Israel and anti-Israel student groups. The first day art campaign was uneventful, as Oleg placed stickers and handed out flyers.

On the second day, however, they realized that there were problems. According to Oleg, they overheard talk that campus police were on the look out for “suspicious” characters distributing flyers. Concerned but confident in the protection of the First Amendment, he proceeded with the project.

After successfully hanging several posters, utilizing a basic water-soluble wheat and water paste, together with commercially available stickers, Oleg and his partner were suddenly accosted by George Mason campus police, pulled over in their vehicle, detained and arrested.

According to Oleg, after repeatedly searching them for weapons, the police slapped handcuffs on them, and immediately targeted them for the content of their work,

My friend and I tried to be as friendly and cooperative as the situation allowed, but that had no effect. We were ordered to sit on the curb, as Officer Daniels told us that the content of our posters was violent and disturbing to some students, especially the one with the Hamas terrorist standing in pools of blood over his dead victims. Such interpretation flipped our message on its head entirely, turning it from sympathy for the victims of violence into a threat of violence.

Since offending the sensibilities of millennial college students is not yet an actual crime, the officers charged Oleg and his confederate with a Class 6 felony, “destruction of property worth over $2500”. The GMU campus police alleged (incorrectly) that the mixture used to hang the posters and stickers was “superglue,” and thus caused irreparable damage.

Oleg maintains the stickers and posters could be removed with a good rain and perhaps a little “Goo Gone,” solution and gladly volunteered to do exactly that.

Instead, Oleg and his partner spent the rest of the morning in the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and were brought before a magistrate who ordered the artists’ bail set at $8,000. Now Oleg and his partner face up to five years in prison for the act of hanging protest posters.

It might seem surprising that a university—supposedly the bastion of free speech—would aggressively target an artist trying to get his anti-terrorism message out. But then, when it comes to such issues, George Mason University is no ordinary campus.

Not only did George Mason University host the Students for Justice in Palestine National Conference, but George Mason University was listed as #3 on a list of “The 10 Worst Anti-Semitic Campuses.”

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One of George Mason’s associate professors, Noura Erakat, is a founding member of the Students for Justice in Palestine group. Her husband, Bassam Haddad, is the University’s head of Middle East Studies. Both are active within the Students for Justice in Palestine group.

But George Mason may have financial interests in play as well. Beginning in 2008, George Mason University received the gift of $1.5 million dollars from the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a group whom federal agents say was tied to terror finance. The money was in order to establish an Islamic Studies department within their college of humanities.

The little known International Institute of Islamic Thought was founded by U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood members in the early 1980s to promote the idea of a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, and to oversee a renaissance in Islamic thought that would lead to the “Islamization” of western social sciences.

But the group had an even darker side as well. According to the affidavit of a federal law enforcement officer, in 1991 IIIT transferred $50,000 to the World and Islamic Studies Enterprise, a front group established by Sami Al-Arian, the convicted organizer for the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. According to a letter from then IIIT President Taha Jaber Alwani told to Al-Arian:

I would like to affirm these feelings to you directly on my behalf, and on behalf of all my brothers, Drs. Abdel-Hamid [AbuSulayman], Jamal [Barzinji], Ahmad [Totonji], and Hisham [Al-Talib], and, at the same time, affirm to you that when we make a commitment to you, or try to offer, we do it as a group regardless of the party or façade you use the donation for.

Speaking IIIT’s leaders, a federal law enforcement officer wrote, “Based on the evidence in this affidavit, I know that they are ardent supporters of [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] and HAMAS. They have repeatedly voiced their ideological support. I have seen repeated instances of their financial support, and believe that they have acted to conceal many other instances of their financial support.”

Of those named above, Barzinji and Al-Talib were actually present in 2008 to hand George Mason University the $1.5 million check.  Also present was Yacub Mirza, another IIIT member, College of Humanites and Social Sciences Advisory Board Member, and Trustee of the George Mason University Foundation.

An FBI report from 1988 notes Mirza as being connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. He played a central role in establishing the network of for-profits and non-profits that federal law enforcement said represented a classic example of money laundering techniques seeking to disguise the origin and destination of the funds the organizations like IIIT received.

Is it any wonder that Oleg Atbashian’s campaign, featuring the hashtag #StopCampusSupport4Terrorism, wasn’t welcome at GMU? Could it be that George Mason University may have monetary reasons for having its students remain blissfully unaware about who’s really behind a viciously anti-Israel student group?

For himself, Oleg lays the blame at the feet of old-fashioned political correctness, saying,

When political correctness comes into play, morality becomes blurry and justice switches the polarity. As a result, terrorist supporters ended up having a safe space and vigorous protection, while their non-violent opponents were subjected to brutal force, thrown in jail, and were robbed blind by the system.

As a satirist, it seems likely that Oleg sees the irony of being arrested for posting political posters and handing out “disturbing flyers” on the campus of a university named after the father of the Bill of Rights.

But as a Soviet dissident, he no doubt also recognizes that the repression of freedom begins when the organs of enforcement are used unequally in order to punish those who raise uncomfortable questions.

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Zineb el Rhazoui, Charlie Hebdo survivor, discusses why the world needs to ‘Destroy Islamic Fascism’

Zineb El Rhazoui feels she is carrying on the legacy of her dead Charlie Hebdo comrades.

Zineb El Rhazoui feels she is carrying on the legacy of her dead Charlie Hebdo comrades.

Undeterred by fatwas and death threats, the author has released an incendiary and thoughtful new book, bound to provoke debate

New York Times, by Emma-Kate Symons, October 18, 2016:
She leads a clandestine existence, on the move and under 24-hour guard as France’s most protected woman. Yet Zineb El Rhazoui, the Charlie Hebdo journalist who happened to be in Casablanca on January 7 last year, the day terrorists “avenging the Prophet” massacred nine people at the satirical magazine in Paris, believes she has a duty to defy Islamists desperate to silence her.

Shaken but undeterred by the fatwas and relentless, precise death threats issued via social media to “kill the bitch” since she helped produce the publication’s first survivors’ issue following the attack — and spoke about it in Arabic for the Arab press — the Moroccan-French writer refuses to assume an anonymous identity. Fleeing Paris or abandoning her human rights activism, and her unforgiving critiques of the religion she grew up with, are also out of the question.

“I don’t have the right to renounce my struggle, or to give up my freedom,” says the reporter and sociologist of religion in an interview with Women in the World, during a recent trip to New York, as part of French president Francois Hollande’s delegation when he received the Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s World Statesman Award for 2016. “If the French state protects me it is not little individual me: What is being protected is my freedom to be irreverent, and freedom of expression, so I should exercise this even more because I enjoy this protection.”

“It’s totally crazy. I have done nothing against the law and have nothing to hide, yet I live with security while those who threaten us are free,” El Rhazoui declares with an air of shock and anger that underscores the arbitrariness and brutality visited on a 34-year-old woman condemned to living on the run and mostly in the shadows. “And if you call them by their names you are Islamophobic and racist. I am racist? I can teach them a few things about Arab culture. I can show them how to discover its richness and the diversity of their culture. I believe this culture deserves universality because you can be Arab, Muslim and a free thinker.”

Resisting terror

Sweeping in to the offices of Women in the World in Manhattan, accompanied by bodyguards, the world-renowned journalist is living proof of her pledge to keep “living her life beyond its limits” as a key way of resisting terror. Elegant and beautiful, with her long, wavy hair flowing freely and in an impeccably tailored black dress, El Rhazoui is reminiscent of 1940s cinema’s cerebral heroines — her eloquence and composure only occasionally betraying the trauma of the past 20 months. Each time we speak about the aftermath of the massacre at her magazine and how she is coping personally her voice quavers, but when the subject comes back to her fight for reform in Islamic civilization she is fearless.

In this spirit, El Rhazoui, obliged to spend most of her time in hiding, like Salman Rushdie after his 1989 publication of The Satanic Verses, has taken the high-risk option of publishing an explosive new book about Islam.

Detruire Le Fascisme Islamique (Destroy Islamic Fascism), being released in France this week, takes the battle of ideas directly to the ideologically-driven zealots who inspired the assassins of her dear friend Charb (Stephane Charbonnier), late editor of Charlie Hebdo who preferred “to die standing than to live on my knees.”

Obtained exclusively by Women in the World, the book dedicated to “Muslim atheists” is an unapologetic strike against the strict application of Islam by imitating the first Salafists or “pious ancestors.” The Prophet Mohammed and his companions, whose violent exploits are contained in “bellicose texts from a barbaric 7th-century Bedouin tribal context,” exhibited codes of behavior El Rhazoui insists have no place in the modern world and can be directly connected to terrorism. “The most abject crimes of Islamic State are but a 21st-century remake of what the first Muslims accomplished under the guidance of the Prophet,” she writes, noting that sexual and domestic slavery, the massacre of non-Muslims (notably Jews), pedophilia, pillage, polygamy and summary executions were all adopted from pre-Islamic societies. The book is also the journalist’s way of carrying on the legacy of her dead comrades, who reveled in their right to mock established religion and fanatics everywhere — with Islam no exception to their traditional French anti-clerical ridicule — through satire and caricature.

Formerly the magazine’s religion writer, El Rhazoui is in the throes of joining the exodus of staff breaking from the magazine under its new management. Flush with cash from international donations, the fundamentally altered publication, she disappointedly explained, “will probably never again draw the Prophet” out of fear of more reprisals.

“[And] those who think that only a handful of madmen are capable of killing for a cartoon of Mohammed forget that everywhere that Islam reigns as the religion of the state, caricatures and cartoons in the press are repressed”.

Religion of peace and love?

“We need to admit that Islamism today is applied Islam,” El Rhazoui — who describes herself as an “atheist of Muslim culture” –writes, responding to politicians, religious figures, Islamophobia opponents and media commentators who claim after every jihadist attack that “real Islam” has nothing to do with such terror.

“When we apply Islam to the letter it gives Islamism, and when we apply Islamism to the letter it gives terrorism. So we need to stop saying Islam is a religion of peace and love. What is a moderate Islamist? An Islamist who doesn’t kill?”

The essay-length book is in the grand French polemical tradition of Emile Zola whose J’accuse denounced the anti-Semitism of the French state and establishment during the Dreyfus Affair, on the eve of the 20th century. El Rhazoui, who holds Moroccan and French citizenship, takes aim at a very 21st-century phenomenon: what she abhors as the “intellectual fraud” of Islamophobia, which pretends to be about anti-racism but in her reckoning is used as a weapon to silence all critics of Islam and the ideas behind it as automatically hostile towards all Muslims. Epitomized by the French Collective Against Islamophobia (CCIF), this deliberate strategy vilifies as Islamophobic voices such as El Rhazoui’s who dare question the religion the CCIF and fellow travelers define only through the prism of their own fundamentalism.

The notion of Islamophobia doesn’t even exist in Muslim countries, the author points out, because outside the West, criticism of the religion or Mohammed is officially “categorized as blasphemy.”

“Unable to pass blasphemy laws in Europe, groups like the CCIF employ a dangerous “semantic confusion,” she said. On the CCIF site it is written “Islamophobia is not an opinion: it is an offense.”

“This is very dangerous because it has even entered the dictionary as hostility towards Islam and Muslims. Yet criticism of an idea, of Islam or of a religion cannot be characterized as an offense or a crime. I was born and lived under the Islam of Morocco and live in France and I have the right criticize religion and this dictatorship of Islamophobia that says I have no right to criticize! If we criticize Christianity it doesn’t mean we are Christianophobes or racist towards the ‘Christian race.’”

The widespread pressure to self-censor is severe, El Rhazoui says.

“You can no longer speak about Islam without saying it’s a religion of peace and love. But when you open any book in Islam what do you find? Violence, blood, oppression of women and hate for other religions.

“Of course you can find this in other religions, however we are talking about something written many centuries ago during a barbaric time for humanity. As long as we don’t talk about this, and keep repeating that Islam is a religion of peace and love, many people will continue to believe the Koran is a constitution, and that rather than being a book written 15 centuries ago reflecting a particular context, it is a legal constitution to apply today.”

Free Speech Champions Fight Back Against OSCE ‘Islamophobia’ Industry

Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolf

Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolf

Center for Security Policy, by Clare Lopez, October 13, 2016:

The ‘Islamophobia’ industry’s all-out assault on free speech was on full display at the recent annual meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) in Warsaw, Poland. The Center’s VP for Research and Analysis Clare Lopez and Senior Fellow Stephen Coughlin attended the 26-27 September 2016 session, along with Debra Anderson, ACT! For America Chapter leader in Minnesota, Dave Petteys, ACT! Chapter leader from Colorado and key European colleagues Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolf from Austria, Henrik Clausen from Denmark, and Alain Wagner from France.

Center VP for Research and Analysis Clare Lopez

Center VP for Research and Analysis Clare Lopez

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is a 57-member regional security organization with representatives from North America, Europe and Asia. It describes itself as a ‘forum for political dialogue on a wide range of security issues’ whose approach encompasses ‘politico-military, economic and environmental, and human dimensions’. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is an office within the OSCE that claims to be dedicated to democratic elections, respect for human rights, rule of law, tolerance, and non-discrimination.

Their stated overall objective is helping governments protect and promote human rights, fundamental freedoms and tolerance and non-discrimination, as well as to improve and strengthen democratic practices and institutions. Except that the actual theme of the two-day proceedings had a lot more to do with countering ‘hate crime,’ criminalizing ‘hate speech,’ and demonizing ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘Islamophobes’ than it did with genuinely championing the right to believe, live, and speak freely.

Of course, the campaign to shut down free speech when it’s about Islam is very much in line with the top agenda item of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), which is to achieve the criminalization of criticism of Islam in national legal codes. Gagging criticism of Islam is also what the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 tries to do. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton worked hard to make that happen in the U.S. and around the world when she promoted the Istanbul Process. The idea is to use existing laws against ‘incitement to violence,’ but in a novel way that applies a so-called ‘test of consequences.’ That is, if someone, somewhere, sometime decides what somebody said somewhere, sometime is offensive and then launches a ‘Day of Rage,’ or goes on a lawless rampage destroying property, injuring or killing people, guess whose fault that would be? Under the ‘test of consequences’ speech code, that would be the speaker.

Center Senior Fellow Stephen Coughlin

Center Senior Fellow Stephen Coughlin

Notably, though, the Islamophobia crowd seemed to be very much on the defensive at this OSCE meeting. Their crouch-and-whine posture most likely had to do with the accelerating numbers of horrific Islamic terror attacks, whose trail of carnage and destruction is splashed across screens around the world for all to see. Along with those visuals comes increasing awareness on the part of more and more ordinary people that when they yell ‘Allahu Akbar,’ it doesn’t mean ‘Hail to the Redskins’: it means they are committing that attack in the name of Allah and Islam.

The ‘Islamophobia’ industry has neither the ability nor actual wish to stop jihad but it sure does wish so many were not putting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and Islamic terror together and then speaking out about it. The only recourse left to them is trying desperately to shut down free speech—including places like the U.S. where free speech is Constitutionally-protected. As CSP Senior Fellow Stephen Coughlin puts it:

This is a direct extraterritorial demand that non-Muslim jurisdictions submit to Islamic law and implement shariah-based punishment over time. In other words, the OIC is set on making it an enforceable crime for non-Muslim people anywhere in the world—including the United States—to say anything about Islam that Islam does not permit.

In other words, what they’re trying to do is enforce shariah’s law on slander – on us, on everyone, whether Muslim or not.

That effort at the Warsaw OSCE meeting went at it by various means: there was a great deal of emphasis on equating Islamophobia with ‘racism’ (but a new kind – not based on skin color), ‘bigotry,’ and violation of ‘human rights.’ Pouty complaints were heard about ‘feeling discriminated against,’ ‘marginalized,’ and the object of ‘hard looks’ because of wearing a hijab. When legal eagle Steve Coughlin and Danish defender Henrik Clausen demanded a specific legal definition of the term ‘Islamophobia,’ they were assailed for…you guessed it, ‘Islamophobia’! Needless to say, there was no legal definition forthcoming (because ‘everybody knows what it means’).

‘Islamophobia’ hysteria reached peak during the OSCE’s second day plenary session, where the Turkish General Secretary of the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion (EMISCO), Bashy Qurayshi, came unglued with a plaintive wail that ‘Islamophobes’ who’d been permitted to infiltrate the OSCE were “lying, ranting and attempting to spread hatred at this conference.” He even threw in a reference to such ‘Islamophobes’ as ‘Nazis,’ at which point senior representatives at the OSCE head table actually broke into applause.

By way of counterpoint, however, it must be added that many delegates from Civil Society organizations throughout the OSCE membership area—including atheists, Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons—firmly pressed the case for free speech. We know that they took encouragement from our presence and outspokenness, even as we did from theirs.

The ‘Islamophobia’ crown went home from Warsaw in the sure knowledge that their attempts to silence free speech about Islam have stirred a gathering force of liberty’s champions who will not be silenced.

For more coverage of this year’s OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, including photos and video, please see Gates of Vienna at https://gatesofvienna.net/

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy

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You can also see all the videos here

The Anti-Free Speech Mayor

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

City Journal, by Benjamin Weingarten, October 6, 2016:

New York mayor Bill de Blasio is focused like a laser on the important things: namely, ensuring that open and honest discussion about Islam is chilled. At the end of September, the de Blasio administration and the NYC Commission on Human Rights announced a campaign to combat “hateful speech [that] has made Muslim residents the target of misguided attacks and threats, especially in the aftermath of terrorist incidents.”

De Blasio’s office hasn’t quantified the scourge of hateful rhetoric toward Muslims in New York City, likely because it is unquantifiable. The best argument the mayor can make for his new initiative is that “reports of attacks and threats against Muslims have surged nationally,” this despite the FBI’s most recent hate-crime figures showing once again that a disproportionate percentage of all hate crimes were driven by anti-Jewish bias, by 57 percent to 16 percent versus anti-Islamic bias.

To make the claim that conditions are particularly hostile for Muslims in New York, the mayor offers that the Commission on Human Rights has “increased investigations into discrimination based on race, national origin, and religion in New York City by more than 60 percent over the last two years.” Presumably, the city would have shown a specific increase in actual bias crimes against New York Muslims if the data actually backed its narrative.

De Blasio’s new program explicitly calls for countering “negative rhetoric,” which means that it is speech that his office seeks to police. Nowhere does de Blasio explain where he gets the right as mayor to use taxpayer dollars to challenge speech he doesn’t like and that his office can’t even quantify. Further, how is it within the purview of an elected official to promote a particular religious group in the first place? The press-release language is drafted nicely to say that the mayor’s office is promoting “respect, understanding, and support” for the city’s Muslim communities, rather than Islam itself. But the mayor’s office is partnering with the Islamic Center at NYU on a new “cultural competency initiative” called “Understanding Islam.” The purpose? “[T]o help City employees and public and private employers citywide better understand the Islamic faith and to dispel common myths.” One can imagine the howls about separation of church and state that a city initiative to help employees better understand the Catholic or Jewish faiths would provoke.

Equally disturbing is de Blasio’s meeting of the minds with London mayor Sadiq Khan, who has ties to several Islamic supremacists, and has supported policies consistent with Sharia law. In mid-September, de Blasio and Khan spoke with Muslim leaders and community members about how New York and other cities “can better address Islamophobia and prevent hate crimes and other acts of discrimination.” Preventing crime is a laudable goal. Policing “Islamophobia,” however, means, in effect, enforcing Islamic law—with its radically different understanding of intellectual freedom—over and above our First Amendment rights.

There’s precedent for de Blasio’s actions. For over a decade, the 57-member Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has been promoting a plan of actionfor “combating Islamophobia,” including “call[ing] upon all States to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments.” In 2011, then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton gave the U.S. imprimatur to the OIC-drafted UN Human Rights Coalition (HRC) Resolution 16/18 consistent with this agenda, which calls for, “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.”

Wittingly or unwittingly, New York is enforcing a plan that conforms with the stated aims of the foremost supranational Islamic political body, consistent with Sharia speech-code standards and to the detriment of free-speech rights. Earlier this year, the NYPD purged valuable resources produced by its intelligence division that forthrightly described the Islamic supremacist ideology. Now, the de Blasio administration is committing to combat free speech, publicly support Islam, and educate New Yorkers on the religion’s purportedly true meaning. We’re in the best of hands.

Hillary Clinton officially on record as supporting the implementation of sharia over the Constitution

Understanding the Threat, by John  Guandolo, October 6, 2016:

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the largest voting bloc in the United Nations (UN), and is comprised of all Islamic States on the planet – 56 states plus Palestine which they consider an equal.

57 states.  Ring any bells?

The OIC is considered the “Collective Voice of the Muslim World.”

In 1993, the OIC officially served the Cairo Declaration to the UN.  It was approved by the Heads of State and Kings of the Islamic nations in the world.

The Cairo Declaration begins with:

“Recognizing the importance of issuing a Document on Human Rights in Islam that will serve as a guide for Member states in all aspects of life.”

The Cairo Declaration ends with:

ARTICLE 24:  All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah.

ARTICLE 25:  The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.

At the Head of State and King level, the entire Muslim world under the OIC legally told the world that “Human Rights” in the Muslim world is defined by sharia (Islamic law).  Meaning:  killing those who leave Islam, homosexuals, and those who fail to convert or submit to Islam is all a part of the Islamic understanding of “human rights.”

The OIC “Ten Year Programme of Action” (2005) calls for governments of the world to Combat Islamophobia, which is hammer to implement the Islamic law of Slander (“To say anything about a Muslim he would dislike”).  Slander in Islam is a capital crime.

Specifically, paragraph VII “Combating Islamophobia” sub paragraph (3) reads:

“Endeavor to have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia, and call upon all States to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments.” (emphasis added)

UN Resolution 1618, approved in March 2011, is a non-binding resolution which calls on governments to outlaw all speech that “constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” toward religion, on the rationale that such speech could provoke “religious hatred” in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution and Federal Code.

Who advocated on behalf of the OIC for silencing “Islamophobia?”  Mrs. Clinton.

Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu

Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu

On July 15, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking to the OIC in Istanbul, Turkey stated:  “I want to applaud the Organization of Islamic Conference and the European Union for helping pass Resolution 1618 at the Human Rights Council…So we are focused on promoting interfaith education and collaboration, enforcing anti-discrimination laws, protecting the rights of all people to worship as they choose, and to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.”

In December 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the “Istanbul Process” a major initiative and partnered with the OIC to directly support UN Resolution 1618.

Hillary Clinton is, therefore, officially on record as supporting the implementation of sharia (Islamic Law) over the Constitution and U.S. Federal Code, and silencing all those who speak up about the dangers of Islam and sharia.

EMISCO and the Ongoing Push Against “Islamophobia” by the OSCE

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Gates of Vienna, by Baron Bodissey Sept. 26, 2016:

The following report was written by the Counterjihad Collective after several members attended an EMISCO side event today at the OSCE/HDIM conference in Warsaw.

bulentsenayThe forum was structured so that the closing statements, given by Bülent Şenay, were delivered after the question-and-answer period to ensure a final word. The panel seemed defensive, with panel members making strident statements about various political parties, labeling them as “racist” and “Islamophobic”. Building on narratives emphasized in 2014, their efforts were aimed at escalating the Islamophobia rhetoric in the guise of racism and gender, with all of the women appearing in head coverings, amid a constant reference to the wearing of headscarves. Also of note was a peculiar omission: the materials associated with side event did not provide the names of the briefers.

Because EMISCO and the Turkish complement were force to acknowledge that the term “Islamophobia” lacks a definition, this question was presented again in this forum. The other question concerned the definition of “new form of racism not based on skin color” and “manifestations of racism” as well. The panel did not answer the question on racism. Quraishy answered that Islamophobia was not about reasonable disagreements. In his closing remarks, however, Bülent Şenay became visibly agitated, went off his prepared notes (he said) and forcefully declared that our asking the question was both Islamophobic and ridiculous because “we all know what it means” and hence “I won’t define it.” He went on to insist, however, that “we must define Islamophobia as a crime.” Of course, defining Islamophobia is an issue because criminalizing an activity that lacks a definition is a serious civil rights and verges on the criminalization of thought.

Professor Bülent Şenay speaks under color of some authority, which makes his observations something more than just the comments of a professor. The professor sits on the OSCE Human Rights Advisory Council, is a founding member of the Governing Board of EMISCO, and was the Diplomatic Counsel¬or for Religious and Cultural Affairs at the Turkish Embassy in The Hague from 2008 to 2012. In September 2013, Professor Şenay oversaw the drafting of a declaration that defined Islamophobia as “a groundless fear and intolerance of Islam and Muslims” that is “detrimental to international peace” such that there “should be recogni¬tion of Islamophobia as a hate crime and Islamophobic attitudes as human rights violations.” The declaration was written for the “International Conference on Islamophobia: Law & Media” in Istanbul, which was co-sponsored by Turkey’s Directorate General of Press and Information and the OIC. At the conference, Turkish President Erdoğan stated that “Islamophobia” is a “kind of racism” that is “a crime against humanity.” In 2014, Şenay felt comfortable chiding the Western audience by saying, “if I were to present a particular favor, this would be the title, ‘A New Cultural ISIS — International Strong Ignorance Syndrome’” as he presented his briefing with the title, “Is¬lamophobia in the 21st Century: International Strong IgnoranceSyndrome in Europe (ISIS).” In doing so, Şenay was suggesting that the extremism was in the reactions of the West, not in the acts of ISIS.

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Stephen Coughlin at OSCE today by Vlad Tepes

Some may remember Stephen Coughlin’s intervention at a 2015 OSCE meeting where they openly admitted that hate speech should be a criminal matter and that the truth can indeed be hate speech.

Stephen went back to the OSCE “Human Development Implementation Meeting” today and spoke again to this committee, who seem bound and determined to use the language of cultural-Marxism to turn free societies into totalitarian Marxist and communist ones.

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Clare Lopez on Islamic antisemitism at the OSCE – Turkish response follows by Vlad Tepes

This is Clare Lopez’s presentation at the OSCE, the European body that seeks to criminalize criticism of Islam as hate speech, today in Warsaw.

According to those watching the conference via live stream, this odd set of remarks by the Turkish delegate was a response to Clare’s presentation, as well as the rest of the interventions by Center for Security Policy personnel.

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Elisabeth Sabaditsch Wolff OSCE Human Dimension Implementation meeting Warsaw 2106

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Tundra Tabloids:

At the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe in Warsaw Poland, Atheists Ireland spokesman denounces the term “Islamofauxbia” as a fraudulent term.

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Vlad Tepesblog:

Dave Petties OSCE presentation September 27 2016

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Vlad Tepesblog:

Stephen Coughlin OSCE Sept 27

Jordanian writer shot dead outside court after being charged with insulting Islam

Nahed Hattar was killed after being charged with offending Islam

Nahed Hattar was killed after being charged with offending Islam

Telegraph, by Sept. 25, 2016:

Aprominent Jordanian writer was shot dead by a suspected Islamist gunman on Sunday outside the courtroom where he was due to stand trial for offending Islam by sharing a cartoon on Facebook.

Nahed Hattar, a 56-year-old intellectual from Jordan’s Christian minority, was gunned down on the steps of a courthouse in Amman in what appeared to be a religiously motivated attack.

The gunman was arrested at the scene and a Jordanian security source identified him as Riyad Ismail Abdullah, a 49-year-old imam who was wearing traditional Islamic robes at the time of the shooting.

The alleged shooter recently returned from making the Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, the source said. The gunman is believed to have acted alone rather than as part of an organised group.

The high-profile murder is a fresh blow to Jordan’s image as a bastion of stability amid the sectarian violence that is wracking much of the Middle East and the latest in a long string of killings across the world linked to cartoons about Islam.

Mr Hattar was arrested in August for sharing a cartoon on his Facebook page which showed a jihadist smoking in bed with two women while Allah waits attentively at the window for him.

The jihadist orders Allah to fetch him some wine and take away the dirty plates while demanding the archangel Gabriel get him some cashew nuts.

Mr Hattar said the cartoon was intended to mock jihadists and their twisted interpretation of Islam but Jordan’s government charged him with insulting the faith and “provoking sectarian rifts”.

The writer rejected the charges and planned to fight the case. If convicted, he could have faced up to three years in prison.

“I am mocking the terrorists and their conception of hell and heaven,” Mr Hattar wrote shortly before his death. “I’m not insulting the supreme Allah, at all, on the contrary, I’m against the type of God that the terrorists worship.

Nahed Hattar was shot outside a courthouse and died in hospital in Amman CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RAAD ADAYLEH

Nahed Hattar was shot outside a courthouse and died in hospital in Amman CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RAAD ADAYLEH

Mr Hattar’s family immediately blamed Jordan’s government for failing to protect the writer, saying the decision to publicly charge him with offending Islam had made him a target for Muslim extremists.

“We hold the Ministry of Interior responsible,” said Jamal Attar, a cousin. “This is the first assassination in Jordan that targets a person over nothing but his opinion, for freedom of speech.”

Jordan’s government condemned his murder, calling it an “ugly crime” and promised “investigating the incident and holding the criminal accountable for his offense”.

Christians make up only around 4 per cent of Jordan’s 8 million residents but they live in relative affluence and usually in peace with country’ Muslim majority.

Nine seats in the 130-seat parliament are reserved for them and they hold prominent positions in the business sector and Jordan, a key Western ally, presents itself as a staunch defender of minority groups.

During his speech to the United Nations last week, Jordan’s King Abdullah said: “Every citizen is guaranteed the state’s protection for their lives, families, properties, honour, privacy, and freedom of religion and thought.”

But many diplomats and analysts worry that that the Jordanian government’s tolerant rhetoric is at odds with wide swathes of religious extremism in the country.

“Jordan’s leaders are reticent to acknowledge domestic radicalisation, including self-radicalisation,” the US State Department said in a report in June.

Around 2,000 Jordanians crossed the border to fight in Syria in 2015, according to the Soufan Group, making Jordan one of the largest per capita sources of foreign fighters.

Mr Hattar was a regular columnist for al-Akhbar, a pan-Arab newspaper based in Lebanon, where he wrote regularly against Islamic extremism.

The Left-wing writer was also a staunch supporter of the Assad regime in Syria. Most of the Jordanian public opposes the Assad regime and supports the opposition and armed rebel groups.   He was arrested several times in Jordan in the 1970s for his outspoken criticism of the Jordanian government.

On a Facebook group formed after his death, some people compared him to other recent artists and intellectuals who fell victim to violent extremism, for example the staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo who were killed by gunmen in January 2015.

Others spoke critically of the decision to bring charges against him in the first place.

“The Jordanian authorities who charged Nahed Hattar with ‘insulting Islam’ and the social media storm aroused by the cartoon he shared may not have murdered him but they provided his killers with the ideological ammo to shoot him,” wrote Khaled Diab, an Egyptian-Belgian writer.

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Here is the offending cartoon:

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Also see:

An Ongoing Affront to Freedom: UN Resolution 16/18 and the Assault on Free Speech

1618webThat Hillary Clinton would bill this resolution as an endorsement of America’s most treasured principles should be deeply alarming.

CounterJihad, Sept. 17, 2016:

Often the worst attacks on liberty are camouflaged with shining names.  United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution (UNHRC) 16/18, among international governments’ worst assaults on the freedom of speech, was formally titled “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief.”

Who could be against that?  Certainly not Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, who hosted the conference to help the UNHRC implement this resolution.  She said that the United States was hosting this conference because the resolution captured “our highest values… enshrined in our Constitution.”  In fact, what the Constitution protects is the freedom to criticize any idea – religious or otherwise.  In fact, the Constitution forbids laws that establish any religion as beyond criticism, or as being especially protected by law.

Of course it will be no surprise that the real authors of 16/18 were members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).  Hillary Clinton was the Obama administration’s point-person in working with the OIC.  Of course it will come as no surprise that the real thrust of 16/18 is preventing criticism of Islam or Muhammad.  Obama himself said that the future must not belong to those “who slander the Prophet of Islam.”

In fact, 16/18’s original text simply said that it forbade “Defamation of Islam,” and made no mention of defending any other faith.  Following the adoption of the resolution by the High Commissioner of Human Rights, who expanded it to other faiths as well, there was an intense push by the OIC nations to include “Islamophobia” as especially forbidden.  The focus on Islam expanded throughout the period of the resolution’s negotiation.

The UN’s Secretary General went so far as to say that the freedom of speech and expression did not extend to “insulting others.”  He said this in 2012, after the high profile murders of cartoonists critical of Muhammed.   He later claimed that 16/18 limited freedom of speech, which he called a “twisted negative logic,” a logic belonging only to the West and hostile to Islam.

It is an open question whether UN Resolution 16/18 endorses anti-blasphemy laws, but the OIC nations clearly believe that it does.  The fact that Secretary Clinton would bill this resolution as an endorsement of America’s most treasured principles should be deeply alarming.

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Mark Christian Moment: Hillary’s Islamization of America. Mark discussed Hillary’s Islamization of America, focusing on Huma Abedin, the Muslim Brotherhood and other threatening connections.

Also see:

London Builds Intelligence Unit to Target Cyber “Hate Speakers”

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London’s first Muslim mayor seeks a well-funded “hub” to identify hate speakers for attention from their local police.

CounterJihad, Sept. 7, 2016:

The office of the Mayor of London has issued a grant for an online “hub” designed to identify so-called ‘hate speakers’ for police.  The grant promises to “improve the police response” as well as develop the “intelligence to facilitate counter measures that can reduce and prevent further criminal activity.”  British and European law do not contain the robust protections for freedom of speech that America’s First Amendment provides.

Saying anything that falls under the poorly-defined rubric of ‘hate speech’ is already criminal in London:  they just want to improve their capacity to send the police to your house.  The penalty can be six months in prison per offense.

Well, actually, they want to do a little more than that.  The grant also promises to “build community capacity to respond collectively to online hate.”  So it isn’t just a rule-of-law response that they are looking for here.  They want to organize online mobs to go after you for expressing disapproved thoughts.

Breitbart news points out that this is the brainchild of London’s first Muslim mayor.

The office of London’s first Muslim mayor has secured millions of pounds to fund a police “online hate crime hub” to work in “partnership with social media providers” to criminalise “trolls” who “target… individuals and communities.” … In May this year, the EU announced that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft had “committed” to working more closely with them and national governments and “their law enforcement agencies” to help “criminalise” perceived “illegal hate speech” online.

Naturally, the law will also be used to criminalize political opposition to the establishment — one of the first uses was to target what the UK Standard refers to as “Brexit hate crime.”  But it seems from the grant application that speech critical of Islam is the real target.  The announcement of the grant states that a recent report “identified 45% of anti-Muslim hate crime took place online, and the organisation is seeing up to 80% of its resources used in monitoring online hate and supporting the victims.”

The claim is that seeing online ‘hate crime’ results in “higher levels of depression, stress and anger,” and can cause changes in “which streets they walk down, how they answer the phone, reactions to strangers, and suspicion of co-workers.”  That last element sounds particularly ominous given Islamist workplace attacks such as the San Bernardino shooting.  The London police appear to be suggesting that seeing criticism of Islam on-line leads to murders of this sort.  Indeed, the criminalization of critical speech even seems to suggest that these psychological effects to some degree justify Islamist violence against society.

Breitbart points out that convictions under the law banning speech of this kind have increased ten-fold in the last decade.  They quote Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent.  [T]he police [are] becoming more and more involved in controlling our morality,” he told the BBC.  “[They are] almost playing the role of a moral police. And instead of dealing with real crime in the offline world, [the police] find its very convenient to ‘send the message’ in the online world because it’s a relatively easy thing to do.”

Doubtless it is a lot safer than targeting Islamist militants.  The only cost is a little liberty.  Well, maybe more than a little.

ESW: We Need to Reclaim Our Right to Speak Freely

afaeventlogo

Gates of Vienna, by Baron Bodissey, Aug. 28, 2016:

A week ago today, on August 21, the American Freedom Alliance sponsored a conference in Los Angeles, “Islam and Western Civilization: Can they Coexist?” One of the featured speakers was Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff.

Many thanks to Henrik Clausen for recording, and to Vlad Tepes for uploading this video:

Stephen Coughlin: Yes, the Truth May Constitute Hate Speech

truth-is-the-new-hate-speechGates of Vienna, by  Baron Bodissey, August 27, 2016:

On August 21, the American Freedom Alliance sponsored a conference in Los Angeles, “Islam and Western Civilization: Can they Coexist?” One of the speakers was Major (ret.) Stephen Coughlin, the author of Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad.

Note: In his talk, Maj. Coughlin refers to OSCE events that he attended. The response by CSP and ICLA to the use of the term “Islamophobia” at OSCE is here. The video of his encounter with the globalist enforcers of the OSCE narrative is here.

Many thanks to Henrik Clausen for recording, and to Vlad Tepes for uploading this video:

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Here is a longer presentation given recently at an Act! For America event in San Antonio, TX :

Why It’s So Hard To Prosecute Islamists And Keep A Free Society

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Anjem Choudary’s case exemplifies the difficulties we in the West face in dealing with homegrown Islamic radicalism.

The Federalist, by M. G. Oprea, Aug. 23, 2016:

The British Muslim “hate preacher” Anjem Choudary has finally been convicted after 20 years of preaching fundamentalist Islam aimed at radicalizing young Muslims and encouraging them to engage in terrorist activities. Last week, he, along with Mohammed Rahman, was found guilty of inviting support for ISIS in speeches and lessons posted online. Choudary’s case, and his long history of Salafist extremism, exemplifies the difficulties that we in the West face in dealing with homegrown Islamic radicalism.

Choudary, a British citizen born to Pakistani parents, has spent two decades working toward global Islamic domination. These are his words. He wants Islamic law to spread throughout the world, and told the Washington Post in 2014 “We believe there will be complete domination of the world by Islam.” He has also said that “Britain belongs to Allah.”

Choudary founded multiple Islamist and Wahhabist organizations in England, all of which were eventually banned. He has connections with numerous other Salafist and Islamist groups and is a known leader of “dark networks” that stretch across Europe and seek to radicalize young Muslims. He has praised terrorists, including the 9/11 attackers, and proclaimed they are in paradise. He has been friendly with a top ISIS figure and executioner, who at the time was part of the terrorist group Sharia4Belgium, and is connected to more than 100 British terrorists, and many terror plots.

Terrorism’s Victims Include Freedom of Speech

But somehow Choudary has managed to skirt the law all these years. A lawyer until 2002, he knew how to step up to the line of criminality without crossing it. Although his influence on European Muslims is well-known and -documented, he managed to skate by on technicalities of the law, because he hadn’t engaged in terrorist activities himself, nor was it proven he had directly sent people to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS.

What finally allowed authorities to arrest him last year and convict him this month was an oath he signed to ISIS’ leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in conjunction with speeches posted online that called on Muslims to join ISIS. As a prohibited organization, membership in ISIS is considered a criminal offence. British authorities convicted him of “inviting support for a proscribed organization,” under Terrorism Act 2000.

Choudary’s case raises questions of how far freedom of speech extends, and what ought to be done with terrorists once convicted. Although freedom of speech in Britain is a long-established common law right, in recent years it has suffered many setbacks. A Reason magazine article from last year highlighted the policing and punishment of Twitter users and journalists, as well as advertisers (a notable case was an ad banned in London for supposedly body-shaming women by depicting a fit woman in a bikini).

But what about here in the United States? People often ask what we should be doing at home to protect our country from Islamist terrorism. While presidential candidate Donald Trump would point solely to immigration, this misses the glaring fact that many Islamist terrorists were born in America or came as young children. This list includes Omar Mateen (Orlando), Faisal Mohammed (University of California-Merced), the Tsarnaev brothers (Boston Marathon), Syed Farook (San Bernardino), Nadir Soofi (Garland, Texas), and Nidal Hassan (Fort Hood).

Terrorists like these are drawn to Salafist Islam either in their communities and mosques or on the Internet. It isn’t always clear what the authorities can legally do beyond monitoring radical clerics and mosques and looking for connections between radicalized individuals and groups. How far can they go in policing what Islamists are preaching?

It Would Be Difficult to Prosecute Choudary in America

Freedom of speech is perhaps the most crucial right in a free society. There’s a reason it was the first right enshrined in the Bill of Rights: it’s meant to protect citizens from government attempts to silence dissent and regulate ideas and messages. In America, a country with arguably the most robust free speech protections, there are only a few exceptions to this First Amendment right. These include speech others own, child pornography, commercial speech, obscenity, and fighting words. None of these, however, are applicable to combatting Islamists, who are essentially supporting terrorism without providing terrorists with direct material support like guns, bombs, or money.

The one type of unprotected speech that would be applicable in a case like Choudary’s is incitement to violence. Speech that advocates force is unprotected, but only if its intention is to produce “imminent lawless action” and is likely to succeed. This could potentially apply to the sermons of Salafist imams, which, if encouraging people to fight with ISIS, are promoting lawless action. However, proving that they’re likely to lead to imminent action is more difficult.

Expressing even the most reprehensible views is protected by the First Amendment, including having a Ku Klux Klan parade or arguing for the overthrow of the government. So an Islamist imam could preach beliefs whose natural conclusion might be violence, but so long as he isn’t calling on a crowd to go out right away and commit terrorism, his speech is protected. This is why we may not have been able to prosecute a man like Choudary here in America.

Another way unprotected free speech comes into play is “true threats.” This recently made news when a Missouri woman was arrested for retweeting Twitter posts calling for the murder of U.S. law enforcement officials. The tweet contained names, addresses and phone numbers. Federal prosecutors argue that her retweets are tantamount to active support of ISIS, and charged the woman with conspiracy and transmitting a threat across state lines. Her defense, based on First Amendment grounds, argues the charges are unconstitutionally vague, once again illustrating the tension between free speech and national security.

Prisons Aren’t a Great Place for Islamists, Either

Once a conviction is made, as with Choudary, the problems don’t end there. Choudary faces up to ten years in prison. But what will he do once behind bars? Prison systems have become notorious in Europe and America for breeding radical Muslims, so a man like Choudary poses a threat inside as well as outside of prison.

Islamists in prison are treated like “aristocracy,” according to an audit of French prisons. When Salah Abdeslam, one of the Paris attackers, was arrested and sent to the Fleury-Mérogis prison he was “welcomed as the messiah,” according to one guard there. That same audit also found jihadi inmates can easily communicate with the outside world, including Syria.

So officials face a difficult decision between keeping Islamists like Choudary in the general population, where they can influence and indoctrinate other men, or concentrating Choudary and others like him in cell blocks so they don’t have access to non-radicalized inmates. This, of course, has its own dangers, namely that these men may plan future attacks and terrorist operations together. The third option, total isolation, is widely unpopular in places like Britain and France, where it is, perhaps correctly, seen as inhumane and cruel.

Choudary’s stay in prison will last a maximum of ten years. Then what? Does he get out in a few years after having been active in prison, and go on as he did before? Perhaps this time he’ll be more careful so as not to get caught. Some countries are working on de-radicalization programs, but their success has been dubious.

Choudary’s case typifies the difficulties the Western world faces in combatting radicalization. As a country that is fundamentally based on concepts of liberty and freedom of speech and of association, our principles and constitutionally protected rights sometimes run up against threats to national security. This is the great challenge we will face in the fight against Islamist ideology and homegrown radicalization in the years ahead. For a sense of the challenges to come, we need only look to Europe, where that fight is well underway.

M. G. Oprea is a writer based in Austin, Texas. She holds a PhD in French linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. You can follow her on Twitter here.

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