By Adam Savit
The Obama administration’s controversial response to the crisis surrounding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi is slowly inching towards center-stage as an issue in these last weeks leading up to the November elections. Moderator Candy Crowley caused a fracas in the latest debate when she affirmed President Obama’s contention that he had used the words ‘act of terror’ when describing the violent events of 9/11/12 the following day.
Perhaps the most troubling product of ‘Benghazi-gate’ has been the administration’s preference to blame the attack on acts of free expression in the United States, rather than the agency of the jihadists in Libya who murdered four Americans including the ambassador. This tendency culminated in Obama’s September 25 speech to the U.N. General Assembly in which he stated, ‘The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.’
But there has been a backlash among those who believe cherished Western traditions of free speech and expression must trump the impulse to appease shariah-adherent forces who wish to effectively impose blasphemy laws on a global scale.
The latest artist to lend his voice to this cause is Rowan Atkinson, a veteran British comedian known primarily in the U.S. for his Mr. Bean character. Atkinson has launched a campaign for a change in the law that bans ‘insulting words and behaviour’ in the United Kingdom.