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….

Pakistani student accused of blasphemy beaten to death on campus

Mashal Khan (FB)

Reuters, by Jibran Ahmed, April 13, 2017:

A mob beat a Pakistani student to death at his university campus on Thursday after he was accused of sharing blasphemous content on social media, university and police officials said.

A group of about 10 students shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack on fellow student Mashal Khan, who was stripped naked and beaten with planks until his skull caved in as other students looked on, video obtained by Reuters showed.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive topic in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where insulting the Prophet Mohammed is a capital crime that has dozens languishing on death row and where even an accusation can lead to violence.

In recent months, Pakistan’s government has been vocal about the issue, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issuing an order last month for removal of blasphemous content online and saying anyone who posted such content should face “strict punishment under the law”.

Ten students have been arrested after Thursday’s attack the grounds of a university in the northern city of Mardan, local police chief Mohammad Alam Shinwari said.

“After severe torture that led his death, the charged students then wanted to burn his body,” said Shinwari.

At least 65 people have been murdered over blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to figures from a Center for Research and Security Studies report and local media.

It was unclear exactly what online posting had prompted the blasphemy accusation against Khan, who was studying journalism.

One of Khan’s teachers recalled that he was a passionate and critical student.

“He was brilliant ‎and inquisitive, always complaining about the political system of the country, but I never heard him saying anything controversial against the religion,” said the teacher.

In 2011, a bodyguard assassinated Punjab provincial governor Salman Taseer after the governor called for reforming blasphemy laws.

Taseer’s killer, executed last year, has been hailed by religious hard-liners as a martyr to Islam and a shrine has been erected at his grave.

Recently, fighting blasphemy has also become a rallying cry for the government.

Pakistani online activists believe blasphemy-related crack downs on social media are veiled attempts by the country’s powerful military to limit dissent on human rights violations.

In January, five online activists went missing and were publicly accused of blasphemy while they were absent. Four of them have reappeared and at least one has said he was abducted and interrogated by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.

The military has denied any part in the activists’ disappearances.

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Facebook Enforces Sharia Blasphemy Laws

Published on Mar 31, 2017 by Acts17Apologetics

http://www.answeringmuslims.com
Pakistani officials are working with Facebook to purge the social network of content deemed “blasphemous” against Muhammad and the Quran. Further, Pakistan is demanding that Facebook help track down blasphemers for extradition and trial. Is Facebook becoming Sharia compliant?

Here are links to the articles quoted in the video:
https://www.dawn.com/news/1323131/fac…
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39…
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/16/pakist…

Will the Media Ever Talk About Muslims’ ‘Christianophobia’?

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CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, Aug. 16, 2016:

It’s nearly impossible to hear an Islamist group like the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) speak for an extended period of time without uttering the term ‘Islamophobia’ – a term they invented that ultimately seeks to silence criticism of Islamism.

The Islamists have a key de facto alliance with much of the media and political left (who despise the political goals of the Christian right) and help the Islamist cause by underreporting if not covering at all stories of Muslim persecution of other religious groups such as Christians.

In fact, after watching much of the media one typically gets the impression that Muslims are being persecuted by non-Muslims a lot more than vice versa.

For instance, despite not yet knowing the motive behind the recent slaughter of two Muslims named Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin in Queens, New York, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was quick to insinuate ‘Islamophobia’ by saying “we do know that our Muslim communities are in the perpetual crosshairs of bigotry[,]” thus spreading the Muslim victimhood narrative.

Furthermore, stressing alleged Muslim persecution by non-Muslims deceptively helps switch the cause and effect relationship that happens in the process of Islamic radicalization. For example, instead of Muslim radicalization taking place because of the prevalence of radical Islamic ideologies that are tolerated within the Islamic community, radicalization occurs because of the alleged persecution of Muslims by those outside the community spurred by an irrational hatred of Muslims or ‘Islamophobia.’ Efforts to push this false narrative help to conceal the actual bigotry toward Christians within the Muslim community. This type of ‘Christianophobia’ is apparent throughout the Islamic world. Let’s take a look at some of this Christian persecution in the West.

A Christian pastor named Mahin Mousapour reveals just how disrespected Christians are treated by Muslims living in migrant housing. Mousapour gives a glimpse into this contempt by stating:

“Toys of Christian children are being destroyed, Christian asylum seekers are told not only to wash their dishes after eating but also that they must clean the entire kitchen as it would otherwise be ‘unclean’. Many Muslim asylum seekers call all Christians unclean. Church services are held in secret, bibles and crucifixes have to be hidden[.]”

We have already seen from an Open Doors survey how 75% of Christian refugees in Germany living in “temporary accommodations” admitted to being persecuted repeatedly. There’s also persecution that ends in death such as in 2015 when a boat loaded with Muslim migrants sailing from Libya to Italy had twelve Christians thrown overboard, murdering them. One couldn’t imagine the outrage if it were Christians systematically murdering Muslims.

Muslim persecution against Christians is also occurring in the U.S. At St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, California a car pulled up and blasted “Allahu Akbar!” through a bullhorn several times, terrorizing the attendees. Fox News gives a list of some other incidents of threats against Christians and their houses of worship:

In February, Khial Abu-Rayyan, 21, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., was arrested after he told an undercover FBI agent he was preparing to “shoot up” a major church near his home on behalf of ISIS. A month earlier, the Rev. Roger Spradlin of Valley Baptist Church – one of the biggest congregations in Bakersfield, Calif. – told attendees that they had received a threat written in Arabic.

“Undercover officers were then placed during worship services,” Valley Baptist spokesman Dave Kalahar said. “The FBI continues to investigate along with the local task force.”

Last September, an Islamic man clad in combat gear was charged with making a terrorist threat after entering Corinth Missionary Baptist Church, in Bullard, Tex., and claiming that God had instructed him to kill Christians and “other infidels.” A year earlier, police were called to Saint Bartholomew’s Catholic Church in Columbus, Ind., after the house of worship was vandalized with the word “Infidels!” along with a Koranic verse sanctioning death for nonbelievers. Similar graffiti was found that same night at nearby Lakeview Church of Christ and East Columbus Christian Church.

Why would Muslims commit such evils acts against Christians? While the different cases each have their own particularities and nuances, one cannot deny the Islamic supremacism in Islam that causes some Muslims to view and treat non-Muslims with derision. It’s no surprise that this supremacism is inherent in the Quran, some passages include:

Indeed, they who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists will be in the fire of Hell, abiding eternally therein. Those are the worst of creatures. –Quran 98:6

Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are those who have disbelieved… –Quran 8:55

O you who have believed, do not take the disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do you wish to give Allah against yourselves a clear case? –Quran 4:144

O you who have believed, fight those adjacent to you of the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness. And know that Allah is with the righteous. –Quran 9:123

As revealed one doesn’t have to discuss ISIS or Boko Haram to see that Christians are facing persecution by Muslims in the West. Some churches are taking the initiative to either hire security or increase it, especially with the revelation of an ISIS hit list that allegedly has 15,000 U.S. Christians on it. Yet, one will not typically find stories like these at least not in any great detail in much of a media that seeks to protect the reputation of the Muslim community.

How much longer will the political left and liberal media continue to help Islamists like CAIR, who sympathize with jihadists, by pushing their duplicitous ‘Islamophobia’ narrative, while largely ignoring the persecution of Christians by Muslims? We will find out.

“Fireman Sam” Cartoon Character Steps on a Page from the Qur’an, Outrage Ensues

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Outraged Tweeters ask, “Why are there Quran pages on the floor & flying over the place?”

CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe, July 28, 2016:

Don’t dishonor Islam or you will be punished – that is a resounding message emanating from the Islamic world. For example, In Islam, when one ‘desecrates’ the Quran it is a form of blasphemy that can carry a death sentence according to Sharia law. Punishment for insulting Islam or its Prophet can be inferred from the following Islamic passages, including:

And who is more unjust than one who invents a lie about Allah or says, “It has been inspired to me,” while nothing has been inspired to him, and one who says, “I will reveal [something] like what Allah revealed.” And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the overwhelming pangs of death while the angels extend their hands, [saying], “Discharge your souls! Today you will be awarded the punishment of [extreme] humiliation for what you used to say against Allah other than the truth and [that] you were, toward His verses, being arrogant.” –Quran 6:93

Indeed, those who abuse Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment. –Quran 33:57

Narrated ‘Ali: The Prophet said, “Do not tell a lie against me for whoever tells a lie against me (intentionally) then he will surely enter the Hell-fire.” –Sahih Bukhari 1.3.106

As well as other verses such as Sahih Bukhari 1.4.241,Sahih Bukhari 5.59.369, etc.

We have seen this played out as individuals have been slaughtered or had near death experiences for allegedly insulting Islam such as producing film and artworkdeemed offensive by some Muslims as well as many others acts. So, taking this Muslim hypersensitivity toward offensive behavior into account, one can expect the most ridiculous accusations of blasphemy from the Islamic world. Let’s take a look at a recent example involving a children’s cartoon that reveals de-facto blasphemy laws in the West.

The U.K. children’s show named Fireman Sam is facing Muslim backlash after it was discovered that an episode called Troubled Waters which originally aired back in October of 2014, has a character slipping on some pages of the Quran. One of the sheets of paper that shoots in the air when shown in slow motion supposedly reveals a Quranic page “dealing with punishments for non-believers[,]” says London’s Evening Standard. The Evening Standard captured some of the outrage on social media:

Miqdaad Versi, from the Muslim Council of Britain, tweeted: “Have no idea what went through the producers’ minds when they thought this was a good idea #baffled.”

Twitter user BirdsOfJannah wrote: “Islamophobia in @FiremanSamUK? Why are there Quran pages on the floor & flying over the place?”

Another wrote: “Children’s program Fireman Sam stepping on the Quran. SHAME on this program for promoting hatred against Muslims!”

Muslim Reformer and Counterjihad.com Shireen Qudosi points out how the Quran is essentially being idolized by some Muslims, tweeting:

Of course, caving into pressure from de-facto blasphemy laws (ex. Muslim anger and fear of reprisal) the company responsible for the show issued an apology, said they are going to eliminate that particular episode from circulation, promised they are cutting ties with the animation studio involved in the incident, etc.

All of this for a cartoon character accidently stepping on the Quran? People in the West cannot keep conceding to this Sharia mindset that says any perceived negative thoughts or actions against Islam cannot be tolerated, whether intentional or not. Western freedoms are receding while Sharia is advancing.

Pakistani liberal to American panel “You are going to get me killed”

comic3Conference Examines Islamic Blasphemy Law Dangers

Religious Freedom Coalition, by Andrew Harrod, Phd., June 3, 2016:

“You are going to get me killed…I have got my flight back home,” stated Pakistani religious freedom advocate Arafat Mazhar to an audience questioner at an April 20 Georgetown University conference recently made available online.  His jarring response emphasized that the conference’s examination of Islamic blasphemy norms in Pakistan and the world beyond was no mere academic matter but involves global, often lethal, threats to freedom of speech and religion.

Mazhar’s statement occurred during the conference’s afternoon panel in an exchange with an audience member from Afghanistan studying in America.  Mazhar emphasized that his organization Engage Pakistan currently only supports reforming the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws with theological arguments such that these laws would not have a divine status.  Any abolition of these laws, a proposition that has had deadly consequences for Pakistan’s Punjab provincial governor Salman Taseer and Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, would be a much longer term goal.

Just as illuminating and disturbing was Mazhar’s Afghan interlocutor who cited a 2015 Afghan incident in which a mob brutally killed a woman accused of burning a Quran.  “Had there been a good anti-blasphemy law” with codified standards, he suggested, “she would not have been killed that viciously.”  On the basis of such conjectured more humane executions he accordingly asked, “Is it a good idea to get rid of the anti-blasphemy law or is it good to have a good law?”

Mazhar responded that empirical evidence contradicted such arguments previously made in favor of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.  From Pakistan’s 1947 independence to the 1986 completion of these laws, Islamic blasphemy accusations caused only four extrajudicial killings, but after 1986 these killings increased by 2,500 percent.  His fellow panelist, University of Notre Dame professor Daniel Philpott, noted that Pew studies had found that blasphemy laws had a perverse “pedagogical effect” in inciting hostility towards the protected faith’s opponents real or imagined.

Ambassador Alberto Fernandez, a retired American career diplomat, concurred on the panel that blasphemy laws are “like handing a loaded gun” to people.  He cited a 2005 Sudan case where the government had dropped charges of insulting religion against a newspaper editor, but outraged mobs still demanded retribution.  Months later his beheaded corpse turned up after a kidnapping.

Former Pakistani parliamentarian and human rights advocate Farahnaz Ispahani likewise stated during the earlier lunch panel that blasphemy laws in her country “enabled a vigilante culture.”  Her fellow panelist, Mazhar’s Engage Pakistan colleague Ayesha Iftikhar, stated that there “you can become a hero just because you went after someone for blasphemy.”  Ispahani described how blasphemy laws abetted the “purification of Pakistan” such that only three percent of Pakistan’s population now belongs to non-Sunni Muslim religious minorities, down from 23 percent in 1947.

Ispahani noted that blasphemy’s culture of incitement extended to popular Pakistani television programs watched by millions nationwide.  Here Muslim clerics had called for the killing of Ahmadiyya, a small Muslim sect deemed heretical by all other Muslim denominations.  Her fellow panelist, Imam Mohamed Magid, and Asma Uddin, an American Muslim religious freedom advocate and lawyer who had appeared on the morning panel, had both referenced public order justifications for Islamic blasphemy laws.  Yet such considerations apparently only operated in one direction, Ispahani observed, protecting the sensibilities of Muslims for fear of their possible violent reactions while allowing these very same Muslims uninhibited hate.

Appearing with Uddin, Hudson Institute religious freedom expert Nina Shea analyzed Islamic blasphemy law threats to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  “These blasphemy laws imprison Muslims in a suffocating chamber of blind dogmatism and conformity and extremists are given the last word” while Muslim dissidents and reformers face dangers including death.  “The West’s response has been less than inspiring, the West has tended to indulge these laws” by encompassing their content within hate speech laws, as five convictions in France of actress Brigette Bardot indicate.   In the United States, “Al Capone-like underlying issues” brought a year-long prison sentence to the filmmaker who violated his parole terms while producing Innocence of Muslims, an internet film that enraged Muslims worldwide.

Shea noted especially the previously obscure Florida pastor Terry Jones, who ultimately made good on his 2010 announcement to burn ceremoniously a Quran, thereby provoking Senator Lindsey Graham to propose speech restrictions.  “The United States did not handle that particularly well.  There was a parade of generals and government officials that went public and denounced him, begged him to stop,” Shea stated.  “This is extremely dangerous, because it raises expectations that the state, that is the American government, will regulate expression on behalf of religion, and in particular one religion.”

The controversial Magid, past president of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)-linked Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), tried to present a benign understanding of his faith.  Like afternoon panelist Salam Al-Marayati, head of the equally MB-linked Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Magid cited the oft-invokedQuran 2:256 (“no compulsion…in the religion”) and the Medina Charter.  Recently celebrated in theMarrakesh Declaration, an attempt to justify religious freedom on the basis of Islamic sources, this charter of Islam’s prophet Muhammad supposedly “created a pluralistic society” according to Magid.

Magid emphasized Islamic orthodoxy because the “word reform itself triggers negative thoughts in Muslims.”  The best approach for winning Muslim hearts and minds is therefore to “take it back to the Prophet.  Not reforming, reinforcing the original framework,” he stated, as the “message of Islam is spread through compassion.”  He argued that Muhammad did not use force when opponents hurled insults and trash at him or Muslims apostatized.

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The Death of Free Speech: The West Veils Itself

Gatestone Institute, by Giulio Meotti, April 26, 2016

  • The West has capitulated on freedom of expression. Nobody in the West launched the motto “Je Suis Avijit Roy,” the name of the first of the several bloggers butchered, flogged or jailed last year for criticizing Islam.
  • Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, sided with the Turks. She condemned the German comedian’s poem, called it a “deliberate insult,” then approved the filing of criminal charges against him for insulting the Turkish president.
  • The West is veiling its freedom of speech in the confrontation with the Islamic world: this is the story of Salman Rushdie, of the Danish cartoons, of Theo van Gogh, of Charlie Hebdo.
  • Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, just released an interview with Italy’s largest newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, where he suggested a kind of grand bargain: We Iranians will discuss with you our human rights situation if you Europeans suppress freedom of expression on Islam.

Last week, Nazimuddin Samad sat at his computer at home and penned a few critical lines against the Islamist drift of his country, Bangladesh. The day after, Samad was approached by four men shouting “Allahu Akbar!” (“Allah is great!”) and hacked him to death with machetes.

These killings have become routine in Bangladesh, where many bloggers, journalists and publishers are being killed in broad daylight because of their criticism of Islam. There is a hit list with 84 names of “satanic bloggers.” A wave of terrorism against journalists reminiscent of that in Algeria, where 60 journalists were killed by Islamist armed groups between 1993 and 1997.

But these shocking killings have not been worth of a single line in Europe’s newspapers.

Is it because these bloggers are less famous than the cartoonists murdered at Charlie Hebdo? Is it because their stories did not come from the City of Light, Paris, but from one of the poorest and darkest cities in the world, Dhaka?

No, it is because the West has capitulated on freedom of expression. Nobody in the West launched the motto “Je Suis Avijit Roy,” the name of the first of these bloggers butchered last year.

From Bangladesh, we now receive photos of writers in pools of blood, laptops seized by police looking for “evidence” and keyboards burned by the Islamists. We receive images reminiscent of the riots in Bradford, England, over Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses in 1989, ten years after the Ayatollah Khomeini had revolutionized Iran into a stronghold of Islamic extremism.

Yet the stories of these bloggers from outside Europe remain shrouded by a ghastly transparency, as if their death has been only virtual, as if the internet had become their grave, as if these fallen bloggers did not deserve the virality of social networks.

There is also the case of Raif Badawi, in Saudi Arabia, sentenced to 1,000 lashes, ten years in jail and a fine of $270,000 for blogging thoughts such as , “My commitment is…to reject any repression in the name of religion…a goal that we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way.” The lashing order added that he should be “lashed very severely.” In addition to that, Badawi’s human rights lawyer, Walid Abu al-Khayr, was sentenced on July 6, 2014, to 10 years in prison. He was accused of: “inciting public opinion,” “disobedience in matters of the sovereign,” “lack of respect in dealings with the authorities,” “offense of the judicial system,” “inciting international organizations against the Saudi kingdom” and, finally, for having founded illegally, or without authorization, his association “Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia.” He was also forbidden to travel for fifteen years after his release, and fined 200,000 riyals ($53,000) according to Abdullah al-Shihri of the Associated Press.

Also in Saudi Arabia, in a clear violation of international law, according to Amnesty International, on March 24, the journalist Alaa Brinji was sentenced to five years in prison, an eight year travel ban and a fine of $13,000 for a few tweets allegedly “insulting the rulers,” inciting public opinion,” and “accusing security officers of killing protestors in Awamiyya,” the kingdom’s eastern province where the oil fields and the Shiites are.

Unfortunately, Western governments never raise Badawi’s case when they visit Saudi Arabia’s rulers, and turn a blind eye to the way this country treats its own citizens.

Look also at what happened not in the poor and Islamic Bangladesh, but in the wealthy and secularized Germany, where a comedian named Jan Böhmermann mocked and insulted Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a television show. The prosecutor of Mainz just opened a case against Böhmermann under paragraph 103 of the German Penal Code, which provides up to years of jail for insulting a foreign head of state. Chancellor Angela Merkel sided with the Turks. She condemned the comedian’s poem, called it a “deliberate insult,” then approved the prosecution against him.

Meanwhile, the German public television station, Zdf, removed the video from their website, and Böhmermann raised the white flag by suspending his show. The comedian, after Islamist death threats, got police protection.

The West is veiling its freedom of speech in the confrontation with the Islamic world: this is the story of Salman Rushdie, of the Danish cartoons, of Theo van Gogh, of Charlie Hebdo.

Theo van Gogh (left) was murdered by an Islamist because he made a film critical of Islam. Salman Rushdie (right) was lucky to stay alive, spending many years in hiding, under police protection, after Iran’s Supreme Leader ordered his murder because he considered Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses “blasphemous.”

A few weeks ago, at Rome’s Capitoline Museum, a famous repository of Western antiquities, the government of Italy called for “respect” for the sensibilities of Iran’s Rouhani and placed large boxes over nude sculptures.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, just released an interview with Italy’s largest newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, where he suggested a kind of grand bargain: We Iranians will discuss with you our human rights’ situation if you Europeans suppress freedom of expression on Islam: “Human rights are reason for concern for everyone,” Zarif said. “We are ready to dialogue. We shall make our observations on alienation of the Muslim communities in many European societies, or how freedom of expression is abused to desecrate the symbols of Islam.”

And that is exactly what is happening right now — of course with no mention of how freedom of speech or human rights are abused in “many Muslim societies.” Or how violent repression there “is abused to desecrate the symbols of the free world.”

The Iranian ayatollahs recently added to the bounty over the head of Salman Rushdie. And as it happened with Saudi Arabia’s or Bangladesh’s bloggers, nobody in Europe protested and Mrs. Merkel has been willing to abandon the German comedian to the authocratic Islamist Turks.

In Pakistan, a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, is now fighting for her life in prison, where, condemned to death for “blashemy,” she is waiting to know her own fate. European public opinion, which is always generous in rallying against “the persecution of minorities,” did not fill the streets and the squares to protest Asia Bibi’s imprisonment.

Further, for Europe’s journalists and writers, it has become increasingly difficult to find publishers. This is true of, for instance, Caroline Fourest, author of the French book “Eloge du blasphème.” “The treatment of her work by the publishing industry shows how much has been lost” wrote the British journalist, Nick Cohen. “No Anglo-Saxon publisher would touch it, and only fear can explain the rejection letters.”

“No American or British publisher has been willing to publish the book” Mrs. Fourest told this author. “‘There is no market for this book’, I was repeatedly told, to justify their desire not to touch something explosive. It was an important project which Salman Rushdie tried to sponsor with his own publishing houses. It is alarming because more and more I see that my colleagues behave as useful idiots.”

Europe is also suppressing freedom of expression for the very few moderate Islamic voices. On January 31, 2016, an Algerian writer named Kamel Daoud published an article in the French newspaper Le Monde on the events in Cologne. What Cologne showed, says Daoud, is how sex is “the greatest misery in the world of Allah.” A few days later, Le Monde ran a response by sociologists, historians and anthropologists who accused Daoud of of being an “Islamophobe,” Jeanne Favret-Saada, an orientalist at the Ecole pratique des hautes études, wrote that Daoud “spoke as the European far right.” Daoud has been defended only by a few other Arab writers exiled in Europe.

The affair is the mirror of Europe’s forsakening freedom of expression: a great Arab writer expresses precious truths and the mainstream European media and intellectualism, instead of protecting Daoud while Islamists threatened him with death, press the novelist to choose silence.

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.