Saturday, 22 September 2012
From City Journal:
Michael J. Totten
The Terrorists’ Veto
Around the world, a campaign of religious intimidation and murder intensifies.
20 September 2012
Using riots, mayhem, and murder to “protest” an asinine trailer for an anti-Mohammad video on the Internet, the Middle East’s mobs, assassins, and hostile regimes have vetoed freedom of speech in the United States. Not only did America’s overseas diplomatic officers and staff have to hunker down under siege for a week, individual citizens here at home have good reason to fear that if they criticize the wrong religion, the response could be catastrophic for themselves, for others, or both. Neither the First Amendment nor the United States government, it seems, can do much about it.
I’ve seen this sort of thing before in another context. In the wake of the Beirut Spring in 2005, when massive demonstrations forced the end of Syria’s military occupation, Lebanon had decent provisions for freedom of speech—at least by regional standards and at least on paper. The country was theoretically free. But free speech was extra-legally and extra-judicially nullified by terrorists backed by a foreign police state. A wave of car bombs targeted journalists, activists, and officials critical of Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad. Everyone needed to watch what he said. Those who didn’t might be killed.
This is the terrorist’s veto. Now it’s our turn. A week after region-wide riots started in Cairo, Hezbollah sent half a million supporters into the streets of Beirut’s southern suburbs, ostensibly to protest the trailer for the now-infamous movie on YouTube. The mob screamed the same tired slogans we’re accustomed to hearing—“Death to America” and “Death to Israel”—but Hezbollah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah said something new. “The U.S. should understand that if it broadcasts the film in full it will face very dangerous repercussions around the world.”
Hezbollah is technologically advanced and media-savvy. Nasrallah knows perfectly well that when an individual uploads a video to YouTube, it doesn’t count as “the United States broadcasting a film.” That’s actually his point. He’s not threatening the United States in the abstract. He’s threatening you. If you insult Hassan Nasrallah’s religion on the Internet, terrorists may come after you.
You’re kidding yourself if you think he’s bluffing or that this is just talk. He’s not and it isn’t. There are precedents. In 1989, Iran’s blood-soaked ruler Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa condemning acclaimed novelist Salman Rushdie to death for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his novel, The Satanic Verses. Terrorists and death squads went after him and anyone who dared to publish, translate, or sell his books all over the world. They set bookstores in the United States and the United Kingdom on fire. They firebombed a small newspaper office in New York City with Molotov cocktails. They killed dozens of people around the globe as far away as Japan. Rushdie spent years in hiding under the assumed name Joseph Anton and still lives with the knowledge that he could be murdered at any time. Just a few days ago, the Iranian government increased the bounty on his head to $3.3 million.
Rushdie is lucky compared with some. In 2004, an Islamist maniac with a butcher’s knife stabbed Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh to death on an Amsterdam street over a short film, Submission, about women’s rights in Muslim societies. A blood-curdling note pinned to his corpse said the local Somali-born feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali was “next.” Ali eventually fled the Netherlands, where she was once a member of parliament, and lives today in the United States under armed guard.
She’s not the only one who has to live this way now. Paul Berman compiled quite a list of names in his 2010 book, The Flight of the Intellectuals. Dutch politician Ahmed Aboutaleb, British writer and occasional City Journal contributor Ibn Warraq, and Italian journalist Magdi Allam all have bodyguards or have had to go into hiding. They’re liberal Arabs who live in the West, but non-Arabs are just as frequently targeted. A would-be assassin attacked Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in his own house with an axe. An international terrorist cell went after Swedish artist Lars Vilks. French writer Caroline Fourest and French philosophy professor Robert Redeker joined the ranks of those under guard, and Seattle Weekly cartoonist Molly Norris also went into hiding. She had to enter the FBI’s witness-protection program after Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (whom the United States later vaporized with a Predator drone) placed her on one of his hit lists. These names are but a sample. Berman’s list is more inclusive, but not exhaustive.
Terrorists and state sponsors of terrorism have been going after apostates and blasphemers for years. But the Egyptian government, supposedly an ally of the United States, just filed international arrest warrants for eight American citizens allegedly involved in the now-notorious video. All are currently in the United States, so unless they’re kidnapped, there’s no chance they’ll ever see the inside of an Egyptian courtroom. But the prosecutor’s office in Cairo says they may receive the death penalty if they’re convicted. And who can say that death squads will never go after them, Rushdie style, if they’re convicted in absentia or even beforehand?
Six months ago in the New Republic, Berman reviewed a book by Paul Marshall and Nina Shea called Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide. It makes for sobering reading. Islamist murder and intimidation campaigns against apostates and blasphemers are so widespread and common nowadays that the authors managed to write 448 pages about them and only cover 20 countries. Religious minorities are the principal victims, but so are liberals, free-thinkers, and humanists from every religious community. “Our survey,” they write, “shows that in Muslim-majority countries and areas, restrictions on freedom of religion and expression, based on prohibitions of blasphemy, apostasy, and ‘insulting Islam,’ are pervasive, thwart freedom, and cause suffering to millions of people.”
Berman wrote that, in light of the recent and current civil wars and election results in the Middle East, this worldwide campaign “is about to make a gigantic and intimidating lurch forward, beyond anything we have so far seen.”
He was right. And it’s here.
Posted on 09/22/2012 1:46 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
30 Sep 2012
Something to think about, in all this.
If there were no Muslims currently resident in the USA - none at all - would Molly Norris have had to go into hiding?
If there had been no Muslims resident in the Netherlands, would Theo Van Gogh have been killed? (People like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq, and Magdi Allam, apostates from Islam, would have had to make like dissidents from the old USSR - their quiet decision to reject the Ummah, to defect from it, would have had to precede their flight across the borders into dar al harb, and a flinging of themselves upon the mercy of non-Muslims...and such apostates would have to be willing to submit themselves - in light of taqiyya and the phenomenon of the double agent - to a lifelong 'parole'/ 'probation').
No Muslims in Denmark? - no-one to heed the summons to attack Westergaard, the assorted jihad gang bosses small and great could rant and rave and threaten all they liked, but to no avail.
No Muslims in Japan? then there would have been no assassin available.
No Muslims in France? - Fourest and Redeker could have written whatever they liked.
The Ummah, or Mohammedan mob, the so-called 'Muslim community' in any given non-Muslim country, is the sheltering sea within which the jihadists, the sharia-pushers, what Nonie Darwish called 'allah's enforcers', swim and from which, ceaselessly they emerge (and they will emerge in greater and greater numbers, and with ever greater violence, in proportion as that surrounding ummah/mob grows in numbers and in perceived and actual strength).
No Mohammedan Mob = nowhere from which the sharia-pushing assassins may arise (or to which, if visiting, they may go for hospitality, for the 'safe house') and within which they may find concealment and assistance and encouragement.
And a further, inescapable conclusion: if one does not have embassies in the lands of Islam (and the flipside of that, is that Muslim countries should not be permitted to maintain embassies within the lands of the non-Muslims) then there is nobody for the Muslim mob to attack and hold hostage.
The first non-Muslim land that faces these facts squarely and draws the appropriate conclusion, and then proceeds to do the obvious: to forbid and prevent all further entry of Muslims onto its soil, to break off (or reduce to the barest arms-length minimum) diplomatic relations with Muslim entities, to end 'aid' to and trade with Muslim entities, to prevent all further building within its borders of Muslim military bases/ forts/ propaganda/ jihad recruitment centres (= mosques and madrasas), and to slowly but steadily (beginning with the most blatant inciters and/ or plotters or practitioners of 'hot' jihad and the worst criminals [e.g. Muslim gang rapists and armed bandits and extortionists and serial pimps, 'honor' murderers, and those who attack or incite to attack or try to attack 'apostates' and 'blasphemers') to remove from its soil those Muslims already present, will experience a concomitant freeing up of speech and expression for its non-Muslim citizens.