Can’t we talk? No, we can’t

Bomb Throwers, by James Simpson, Sept. 9, 2017:

There is a new film out by Pamela Geller, Can’t We Talk About This? Those were the last words spoken by Theo Van Gogh as he was being murdered at 9 in the morning on a main thoroughfare in Amsterdam. I urge you to watch and support this film.

Van Gogh was a good friend of Pam’s. He had just completed a short film with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, titled Submission. It describes the treatment of women under Islam. Mohammed Bouyeri, a  Moroccan-Dutch Muslim, took offense at the film and shot Van Gogh as he was riding to work on his bike. Bouyeri then stabbed Van Gogh, cutting his neck in an attempt to behead him. He used a second knife to pin a note on Van Gogh’s body.

The note was addressed to Ali and others, including Jews, Netherlands politicians, and a long list of the usual suspects. Fraught with misspellings, the five-page letter started:

Dear miss Hirshi Ali,

Since your appearence in the political arena of the Netherlands you are constantly engaging in terrorizing Muslims and Islam with your remarks. You are not the first at this and will also not be the last who has joined the crusade against Islam.

With your defection you have not only turned your back on the Truth, but you also march along the ranks of the soldiers of evil. You mince no words about your hostility against Islam, and for this your masters have rewarded you with a seat in parliament.

They have found in you a companion in their crusade against Islam and Muslims.

A companion who gives them the “gunpowder” so they don’t have to do the dirty work…

Did you catch that? Hirsi Ali is terrorizing Muslims by talking about her treatment at their hands.

Right.

I would like to believe Mr. Bouyeri is just a maladjusted lunatic, but unfortunately he represents a familiar mindset and temperament among Muslims. A September 7th Time magazine interview quotes Yahya Cholil Staquf, one of Indonesia’s most influential Islamic leaders. What he says is so important I have reproduced a few of the Q & As here. It is especially important given Time magazine’s reach and its liberal readership:

Q:  Many Western politicians and intellectuals say that Islamist terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. What is your view?

A:  Western politicians should stop pretending that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam. There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terrorism, and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot gain victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam.

Q:  What basic assumptions within traditional Islam are problematic?

A:  The relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims, the relationship of Muslims with the state, and Muslims’ relationship to the prevailing legal system wherever they live … Within the classical tradition, the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims is assumed to be one of segregation and enmity.

Perhaps there were reasons for this during the Middle Ages, when the tenets of Islamic orthodoxy were established, but in today’s world such a doctrine is unreasonable. To the extent that Muslims adhere to this view of Islam, it renders them incapable of living harmoniously and peacefully within the multi-cultural, multi-religious societies of the 21st century. (Emphasis added)

I put that last sentence in italics because in my Red-Green Axis presentations, I stress the inability of many Muslim refugees to assimilate. In fact, their goal is not assimilation but conquest. The interview continues:

Q:  A Western politician would likely be accused of racism for saying what you just said.

A:  I’m not saying that Islam is the only factor causing Muslim minorities in the West to lead a segregated existence, often isolated from society as a whole. There may be other factors on the part of the host nations, such as racism, which exists everywhere in the world. But traditional Islam — which fosters an attitude of segregation and enmity toward non-Muslims — is an important factor. (Emphasis added)

Here again, Staquf reinforces my assertion that Muslims do not want to assimilate.

Leftists and establishment Republicans (but I repeat myself) claim that terrorist groups like ISIS are un-Islamic – that they have somehow “hijacked” an otherwise peaceful religion. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster asserts this in his defense of Islam. (Note: my exposé of McMaster reveals much more about this horribly unacceptable Trump advisor). Staquf has a blunt answer to this belief (italicized portions are my emphases):

Q:  So the call by radicals to establish a caliphate, including by ISIS, is not un-Islamic?

A:  No, it is not. [ISIS’s] goal of establishing a global caliphate stands squarely within the orthodox Islamic tradition. But we live in a world of nation-states. Any attempt to create a unified Islamic state in the 21st century can only lead to chaos and violence … Many Muslims assume there is an established and immutable set of Islamic laws, which are often described as shariah. This assumption is in line with Islamic tradition, but it of course leads to serious conflict with the legal system that exists in secular nation-states.

Any [fundamentalist] view of Islam positing the traditional norms of Islamic jurisprudence as absolute [should] be rejected out of hand as false. State laws [should] have precedence.

I cannot reproduce more of this interview here. Suffice it to say there are many more gems and I urge you to read the whole thing. I can only imagine the Time reporter’s pique at these repeated assaults on his idiotic, politically correct, left-wing presumptions. So as you might imagine, he had to get at least one swipe in against conservatives. He did so with his last question. But he got bitch-slapped on that one too: 

Q:  I would guess that you and I agree that there is a far right wing in Western societies that would reject even a moderate, contextualized Islam.

A:  And there’s an extreme left wing whose adherents reflexively denounce any and all talk about the connections between traditional Islam, fundamentalism and violence as de facto proof of Islamophobia. This must end. A problem that is not acknowledged cannot be solved.

“This must end. A problem that is not acknowledged cannot be solved.” So here we have a very influential Muslim confirming everything we “Islamophobes” say about CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the whole Red-Green Axis infrastructure. Amen brother! We are sick of being called Islamophobes for telling the truth by spineless cowards afraid of their own shadows.

In her documentary, Can’t We Talk About This? Pam Geller communicates this message in her inimitably convincing manner. This is a must-see film, available for viewing on Vimeo now.

This message needs to get out.

Editor’s note: The idea that Islam can be viewed through the political lens of left versus right is a highly dubious proposition. See this article I wrote in 2013. -MV

James Simpson is an investigative journalist, businessman and author. His latest book is The Red Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America.

First Look: Pamela Geller Bus Ads for ‘Can’t We Talk About This? The Islamic Jihad Against Free Speech’ (Exclusive)

Pamela Geller/AFDI

Breitbart, by Pamela Geller, Sept. 5, 2017:

Thanks to a Muslim hate group, my organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), can run our pro-freedom ads again in New York City.

AFDI has tangled with New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority on more than one occasion. They refused to run our ads, we sued multiple times, and we won multiple times. So for the first time in NYC transit history, the MTA banned political and issue related ads: the Geller ban.

But then a Muslim hate group wanted to run ads for their political film despite the ban, so they, too, sued the city, claiming that their political movie, The Muslims Are Coming, was not a political or issue related ad. They sued and they won, and all I can say is thank you.

Because of this Muslim lawsuit, we can run our ads again. And so we have. And they are brilliant.

My new ads announce the imminent release of Can’t We Talk About This? The Islamic Jihad Against Free Speech, a shocking new film and follow-up video series detailing the concerted effort by international organizations to compel the U.S. and other Western countries to curtail the freedom of speech and criminalize criticism of Islam.

Featuring exclusive new interviews with me, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Geert Wilders, Mark Steyn, Douglas Murray, Ezra Levant, Lars Vilks, Garland Muhammad cartoon contest winner Bosch Fawstin, and many other heroes of freedom, this web series will be the first ever to expose the war on free speech. It is certain to shock the American public and awaken many. These interviews reveal events at Garland and its aftermath that have never before been made public, and demonstrate how far advanced the war on free speech really is.

In this film, we’re setting the record straight about our Garland free speech event, at which we were not only targeted by Islamic jihadis but apparently by the FBI as well. But we’re doing much more as well: we’re telling the whole, as-yet-untold truth about the war on free speech.

Hollywood will never tell this story. The media will never tell this story. Our public schools and universities will never teach our children what happened. The truth must be told.

Can’t We Talk About This? is a follow-up to AFDI’s acclaimed 2011 documentary, The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks. This much-needed new web series gives viewers the inside story of what happened in Garland and why, and lays out the full and appalling details of the all-out assault on the freedom of speech that is taking place today – and why this may be the most crucial battleground today in the war for the survival of the United States of America as a free republic.

The web series also features seldom-seen news footage and revealing details not only of the Garland event and the jihad killers who wanted to wage jihad there, but also of the many other battlegrounds in the war for free speech that led up to the Garland attack, including the death fatwa issued in 1989 by the Islamic Republic of Iran against Salman Rushdie for his supposed blasphemy in The Satanic Verses; the assassination of Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim on an Amsterdam street in November 2004 for his alleged blasphemy; the Dutch newspaper Jyllands Posten’s cartoons of Muhammad, published in September 2005, which touched off international riots and killings by Muslims – and most disturbing of all, calls in the West for restrictions on the freedom of speech; the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s years-long struggle at the UN to compel the West to criminalize “incitement to religious hatred” (a euphemism for criticism of Islam); and the U.S. under Obama signing on to UNCHR Resolution 16/18, which calls on member states to work to restrict incitement to religious hatred.

Can’t We Talk About This? also covers lesser-known skirmishes in the war against free speech as well, such as Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris’ “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” in 2010, after which Norris was forced to go into hiding and change her identity after threats. And it traces what immediately led up to the Garland event – most notably, the January 2015 massacre of Muhammad cartoonists at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris and the subsequent “Stand with the Prophet” event in Garland, at which Muslim groups gathered in the wake of that massacre not to defend free speech, but to complain about “Islamophobia,” while AFDI members and supporters protested outside.

We set out the media firestorm that followed the Garland event, as well as the attempts to kill me, and explain why the event’s detractors were all missing the point: the freedom of speech doesn’t apply only if you like the message; it applies to everyone. And if it is gone, so is a free society.

Can’t We Talk About This? tells the whole horrifying story of how advanced the Islamic war on free speech is, and how close leftist and Islamic authoritarians are to final victory and the death of the freedom of speech and free society.

Don’t miss the exclusive advance screening of Can’t We Talk About This? on September 5 on VIMEO. And if you’re in New York City, watch for our truth-telling ads. And please help us meet the massive expenses of our truth campaigns: contribute here.

Pamela Geller is the President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of PamelaGeller.com and author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. Follow her on Twitter here. Like her on Facebook here.

Also see:

Sharia – Muslims Cannot “Show the Way to Police” Against Other Muslims

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, August 2, 2016:

Why haven’t Muslims in America and Europe come out of the woodwork by the thousands to provide the identities of jihadis at their mosques, Islamic schools, and neighborhoods to law enforcement?

The reason is the same as it always is:  it is a violation of Sharia (Islamic Law) – the guiding doctrine which drives Islam and the Muslims who submit to it.

Islamic Sacred Law (Sharia) specifically makes Apostasy (“Leaving Islam”) a capital crime stating…

quote from Reliance oftheTraveler

Sharia goes on to say:  “There is no indemnity for killing an apostate since it is killing someone who deserves to die.” (o8.4)

But Apostasy is not simply “converting out” of Islam.  It is much more than that.

According to authoritative Sharia, “Acts That Entail Leaving Islam” (Apostasy) include:

“To be sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred Law (Sharia) or to deny that Allah intended the Prophet’s message to be the religion followed by the entire world.” [Ibid, o8.7 (19-20)]

It is a capital crime in Islam for Muslims to deny Sharia in any way.  Islam is Sharia and Sharia is Islam.

In the West there is a reason why the Muslim community is not helping law enforcement at the local and federal level.  It is because it is unlawful under Sharia.

It is all about Sharia.

Specifically, the Islamic Laws of SLANDER and TALEBEARING are clear and make it impossible for Muslims to help law enforcement officials against other Muslims without putting themselves at risk.

“Slander and talebearing are two of the ugliest and most frequently met with qualities among men…Slander means to mention anything concerning a person (Muslim) he would dislike.”                         (Um Dat al Salik, r2.1-2.2)

This is why people who draw cartoons or make movies about Islam are at risk of being killed.

Theo Van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim in 2004 for making a film about women in Islam

Theo Van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim in 2004 for making a film about women in Islam

Koran 49:12 specifically states “Do not slander (spy on) one another” and “Woe to whomever disparages others behind their back or in their face.” (Koran 104:1)

Mohammad said “The talebearer will not enter paradise” and “The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not betray him, lie to him, or hang back from coming to his aid.”

Sharia defines “talebearing” as follows:  “The reality of talebearing lies in divulging a secret, in revealing something confidential whose disclosure is resented.” (Ibid, r3.1)

Sharia specifically identifies that (r7.0) “Giving Directions to Someone Who Wants to Do Wrong” is considered “Talebearing,” and includes “showing the way to policemen.”

Any questions?

Muslims follow sharia because that is what being a Muslim means – someone who submits to Islam. Submitting to Islam means obeying the Sharia of Allah.

Muslims risk their lives under sharia if they help non-Muslims against the Muslim community.  The threat of death makes many people comply – as evidenced by the fact the Muslim community is silent in the face of a global holocaust except when it is to attack the non-Muslim world.

Islamist Panel Approaches Self-Parody in Hebdo/Radicalization Talk

IPT News
January 23, 2015

1118A panel discussion Thursday hosted by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) promised to plumb the “the root causes of radicalization” in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher market.

It turns out the problem is not Islamic theology or radical Muslim ideology. It’s all the things the West does wrong. Fix those problems, panelists said, and things get better.

During the 90-minute program at the National Press Club, no speaker discussed the Quranic verses invoked by terrorists in the Islamic State or al-Qaida to justify their actions. Instead, speakers emphasized a host of grievances that they say lead young Muslims to believe that peace and democracy will not lead to the changes they desire.

Muslim immigrants must be treated with more dignity and equality, said CSID founder Radwan Masmoudi. “Basically you must end all forms of racism, discrimination and hatred directed against Europeans of Arab descent or of the Islamic faith.” The West also must end the war in Syria and denounce the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood regime by Egypt’s military in July 2013.

Dalia Mogahed, a pollster and former White House adviser, took issue with the public reaction to the attacks. Defending the right to offend people as part of free expression plays into the terrorists’ agenda, she said. There is such a right, but society normally polices “incredibly offensive depiction(s)” of minorities. She wasn’t offended by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons as a Muslim, but she was “disgusted” by them as an American.

"All is forgiven"

“All is forgiven”

“The correct question isn’t, ‘can we?'” she said, “the correct question is ‘should we?'”

Mogahed called the attack on Charlie Hebdo “a very strange event” because it came at a time in which there were no protests. “The shooting literally came out of nowhere. It was a calculated act of provocation on the part of terrorist organizations. This was not an organic, or even fanatical, response of just rage and anger against cartoons.” This ignores the magazine’s history of satirizing all faiths, generating no violence from Christians or Jews. Last week, 10 people were killed in Niger when protesters angry at the latest Charlie Hebdo cover torched churches.

The assertion is puzzling because, as a pollster, Mogahed has monitored attitudes in the Muslim world for years. As such, she is well aware that the Paris attacks did not happen in a vacuum. In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street by a radical Muslim angered by van Gogh’s film, Submission, which focused on Islam’s treatment of women. In 2010, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard survived a home invasion attack by an ax-wielding Somali with ties to the Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

American Colleen LaRose, known as “Jihad Jane,” is serving a 10-year prison sentence in part due to her plotting to travel to Sweden to kill another cartoonist, Lars Vilks. That murder, she wrote in an email obtained by federal investigators, would be “my goal till i achieve it or die trying.”

There are numerous other examples of plots and attacks targeting people for their depictions of Islam’s prophet.

But the intent behind the attacks, Mogahed said, “was for Europe to respond essentially exactly as it did – to assert the right to offend by reprinting the cartoons.”

That certainly is a point of view. Another is that the terrorists hoped to intimidate others from showing images of Muhammad under any circumstance. Given that major American news outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and Fox and others have refused to show the Charlie Hebdo images, the attacks succeeded.

The focus on radical Islam and defense of free speech that resulted from the Paris attacks gave the terrorists “the rhetorical victory they desired,” she said. A better response would have been “to reassert the place of French citizens of Muslim faith in the republic.”

Mogahed and others repeatedly expressed resentment that the terrorists’ beliefs were being conflated with the beliefs held by 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide. They provided no examples to show this is what people mean when they talk about Islamic extremism.

Whatever the merits of Mogahed’s argument, it seems to have little connection to the causes of radicalization, which is what the panel was supposed to discuss.

In a podcast Wednesday, atheist writer Sam Harris slammed an emphasis on the West’s flaws in analyzing the Paris terrorist attacks as “completely insane.” After slaughtering the Charlie Hebdo staffers, Harris notes, Cherif and Said Kouachi yelled, “We have avenged the prophet.” They did not lament racism, disenfranchisement or any other grievance.

“That’s what causes someone to grab an AK 47 and murder 12 cartoonists and then scream ‘Allahu Akhbar’ in the streets,” Harris said facetiously. “It is a completely insane analysis. Even if you grant everything that’s wrong with capitalism and the history of colonialism, you should not be able to deny that these religious maniacs are motivated by concerns about blasphemy and the depiction of the prophet Muhammad, and consider their behavior entirely ethical in light of specific religious doctrines. And it’s a kind of masochism and moral cowardice and lack of intelligence, frankly, at this point, that is allowing people to deny this fact.”

Harris argued that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were not racist. But even if they were, emphasizing the offensive nature of the images shows someone “has completely lost the plot here.”

“[P]rotecting this speech becomes important when you have one group of people – ‘radical Muslims’ – who are responding to this offense with credible threats of murder in every country on earth. We can’t give in to this.”

“People have been murdered over cartoons,” he added. “End of moral analysis.”

Not for Nihad Awad, co-founder and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). His prepared remarks at the radicalization forum focused on the frustration he said Muslim American youth feel for constantly having to condemn the actions of others and for drawing disproportionate law enforcement attention.

“Islam has been blamed for the recent events, not the terrorists themselves,” Awad said. The media’s focus on the religious motivation inspiring terrorists and references to a war of ideas within Islam “is very offensive to me, to implicate the entire Islamic faith and the 1.7 billion people into accusing them of being inherently violent and warring among themselves. I believe this is dishonest discourse.”

Awad’s assertion is contradicted by other Muslims who believe the only way to stem radicalization is by modernizing and reforming Islam, steering away from strict, literalist interpretations. In addition, those most offended by cartoons or commentaries need to learn more peaceful ways to express their frustration.

Read more (with video)

Charlie Hebdo: Martyrs for the Truth

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
January 7, 2015

1110With the massacre of Charlie Hebdo magazine’s editors and cartoonists in Paris by Islamic gunmen early Wednesday afternoon, the forces of radical Islam lay the gauntlet down: radical Islam is not just fighting against Western freedom, or the hegemony of Western powers. Their real enemy is truth.

The killing of the Charlie Hebdo staff was not the first time Islamists have made a point of murdering journalists or commentators, or the first time they have risen up against satirists in the West. The record is rich with them: the slaughter in broad daylight of Theo van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam in November, 2004; the many attempts on the life of Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist responsible for the drawings of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban; the plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Viks, for similar drawings; the kidnap and murder of American journalist Steven Vincent in response to his New York Times article exposing corruption in the Basra police force in 2005; the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff in 2014; and the 2011 bombing of the Charlie Hebdo offices in response to the magazine’s own publication of cartoons about Mohammed. Among others.

(And that doesn’t even address the strong-arming and censorship of Muslim countries – even “democratic” Turkey, which, under the iron hand of Islamist president (and former prime minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been condemned internationally for its imprisonment of journalists. Indeed, on a list of 170 countries graded on press freedom, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia stand at 154, 158, 159, and 164, respectively.)

1109But what is most terrifying about the Charlie Hebdo massacre is the fact that we can no longer hide behind excuses about “lone wolf” terrorists who are “unbalanced” or “disturbed.” Such descriptions are the way in which both media and public officials have attempted to minimize the impulses behind attacks such as the one in Fort Hood in 2009, or the attempts to behead two police officers in the streets of New York. What today’s events in Paris make clear is that this is not the work of individual crazies, and that Islam is, in fact, a part of the equation.

It’s time to stop pretending otherwise.

Let’s be clear: the killers announced after their rampage that “this was vengeance for the Prophet Mohammed.” Some witnesses claim that at least one of the men cried “Allahu Akbar,” (“Allah is great”), the rallying cry of Islamic terrorists. And while many Muslim organizations condemned the attack, other Muslims have taken to Facebook and other social media to praise them.

But as CNN’s Anderson Cooper said, “This was an attack on journalism.” And an attack on journalism is an attack against truth, against insight, against knowledge – against the Enlightenment.

The weapons may not be new, but the frontier Muslim extremists are fighting on – the destruction of the media, of truth – is one we have not paid enough attention to before.

In many cases, we’ve perhaps contributed to it: most American and other Western publications refused to republish the Danish Mohammed cartoons after they first set off international rioting among Muslims. And even the Bush administration spoke out against them, saying “We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive.”

And in 2012, White House spokesman Jay Carney criticized Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons mocking Mohammed.

“[W]e have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this. We know that these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory. But we’ve spoken repeatedly about the importance of upholding the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution,” Carney said.
“In other words, we don’t question the right of something like this to be published; we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it. And I think that that’s our view about the video that was produced in this country and has caused so much offense in the Muslim world.”

Perhaps in this, Charlie Hebdo was way ahead of the rest of us: they, along with the editors of the Danish Jyllands Posten, which first published the “Mohammed cartoons,” have been fighting back from the very start. Shockingly, even Western commentators (and especially Western Muslims) condemned the cartoonists in Denmark, just as they condemned Theo van Gogh and, today, Charlie Hebdo for “inviting” these attacks through their “recklessness.”

Nothing Charlie Hebdo ever did was “reckless,” any more than Steven Vincent’s reporting was reckless, any more than Theo van Gogh’s film Submission, about honor killings and the abuse of women in Islam, was reckless. In Charlie Hebdo’s case, it was about satire on the face of it – but more than that, their work was about the very urgent need to preserve free expression, and to condemn – in any and all ways possible – those who seek to destroy it.

In the memory of those who died for truth and freedom, we cannot give up that fight – and we cannot afford to lose it.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

The Tyranny of Silence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———————————————–

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

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

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

Going Dutch – The Psychometric Tool Against Jihadism in the West

muslim-man-and-wife-afpby Esam Sohail
Special to IPT News
November 3, 2014

The famed laissez faire liberalism of the Dutch is only matched by their flinty commonsense. Two years after the brutal 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh at the hand of Islamist jihadists in Amsterdam, the Dutch government quietly introduced a form of personality testing for immigrants from certain backgrounds who wished to make the Netherlands their permanent abode. By showing a set of short video clips highlighting the culture of diversity, secularism, free speech, and gender equality to potential migrants from very different cultures and then allowing responsible officers to evaluate reactions of the audience, the Dutch government made a very business-like decision to ensure a proper fit for a person to his/her new home. The government of the Netherlands continues to monitor this new screening tool which went into effect as a pilot project in 2006 and will likely be rolled out on a larger scale in the years ahead.

Immigration, especially of people with high education and in their prime working years, remains vital to the economic prowess and social welfare systems of most developed countries. That said, that necessity is better coupled with wisdom. With tens of thousands of people from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia moving to the Anglophone countries every year, the United States, Canada, Britain, and Australia do not have the luxury of waiting to institute large scale and focused immigrant testing that small Holland does. While security safeguards have been heightened in all of these desired immigration destinations, the common flaw remains the same across the board in the English speaking democracies: all potential immigrants are treated to the same battery of standardized screening procedures which often evaluate the Christian fleeing victimization in Bangladesh and Pakistan along the same lines as an Islamist engineer wishing to plant the flag of Islam for himself and his children in Canada. Neither the standard questions of the type “have you ever been part of a terror group” nor the routine check of law enforcement agency reports is going to do much diagnostic good in this regard. The Dutch figured this out finally and, instead, decided to tentatively use the science of psychometrics to detect potential trouble before it becomes actual trouble.

Let us be brutally honest about immigration from countries where Muslims are in big majorities. Almost all of these countries have cultures where Salafi Islamism is ascendant, where free speech and gender equality are increasingly dismissed as parts of some Western plot, and anti-Semitism is a staple for the most popular conspiracy theories. Not all immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia, Malaysia, or the Arab world adhere to such Islamist tendencies. But many, including quite a few professional and educated types, do. And these are the ones that can quickly become the transmitters, organizers, sympathizers, funders, and even purveyors of jihadism in the civilized world (remember Palestinian Islamic Jihad board member Sami Al-Arian and would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad?). In the age of shadowy ISIS sympathizers in Chicago, jihadist murderers on London streets, and Muslims converts on rampage in Ottawa, it only make sense to quarantine the Islamist virus at the entry point whether it is dormant, passive, or active. The Dutch have shown the path to do so; the rest of the civilized world should improvise.

Psychometrics is not an exact science and no psychological evaluation or personality test is fool proof. On top of such uncertainty, these things cost time and money which are realistic constraints for visa evaluators and Customs agents. Yet, these tools are increasingly sophisticated and used in human resourcing decisions by growing number of major businesses and public entities; at the disposal of well-trained immigration professionals who have the flexibility of discretion and a relatively narrow focus, such psychometric instruments can be vital weapons against potential jihadist terror.

Potential long term immigrants from certain areas should be instructed – even provocatively so – on the fundamental importance of free speech, dissent, apostasy, equality before the law regardless of religion or gender, and basic personal liberties. They should be evaluated on their reactions through well developed and professionally benchmarked tests and such evaluations should be allowed to inform an immigration official’s decision to about a residency application. Indeed this kind of approach could lead to the penalization of certain beliefs; but if such beliefs include the rectitude of killing apostates and punishing women for wearing short skirts, should we be shedding too many tears? And even if we were to shed some tears at such scrutiny of those desiring to live in a pluralist society, isn’t it better than the shedding of blood that could happen otherwise?

Esam Sohail is an educational research analyst and college lecturer of social sciences. He writes from Kansas, USA