Sunday, 8 July 2012

RIP: Free Speech about Islam

(American Thinker) - The right of Westerners to speak  freely regarding Islam-related topics -- radical Islam or Islamism, Islamist terrorism, and Islamist terror funding -- is in jeopardy.  Islamists and their sympathizers try to silence any and all questions possibly critical of Islam with a vicious, multi-pronged assault until a critic is silenced, punished, or made an example of for others.

Islamists seem to use at least three different methods: 1) the initiation of legal proceedings, known as "lawfare" -- i.e., frivolous or malicious lawsuits which often do not even hope to succeed in court and are reluctant to reach discovery to avoid disclosing information, but which therefore seem intended, on charges of hate speech or defamation, to harass and financially crush the defendant; 2) threats of violence, or violence itself; or 3) pressure applied based on political correctness, as with attempts to smear reputations by alleging "racism," "Islamophobia," or other epithets.  Sometimes the Islamists use only one of these methods -- sometimes two, or all three.  Regardless, the assault is often successful.  

The Danish cartoon controversy, for example, began in September of 2005, after an author in Denmark stated that he could not find an artist willing, under his own name, to illustrate a book about the Islamic Prophet Mohammed's life.  In Islam, it is considered blasphemous to draw a picture of the prophet.  In response, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran twelve cartoons by various artists depicting Mohammed, with the editor explaining that the project was an attempt defend the Danish right to exercise free speech and to contribute to the debate regarding criticism of Islam and self-censorship.  The most controversial of these cartoons -- the "bomb in the turban" picture of Mohammed -- was drawn by Kurt Westergaard.  These cartoons were soon reprinted in magazines/newspapers in more than 50 other countries.  However, the only major U.S. magazines/newspapers to reprint any of the cartoons were the conservative Weekly Standard, the atheist Free Inquiry, and the Denver Rocky Mountain News.  Many organizations cited their unwillingness to publish them out of concern for the sensitivities of Muslim readers.  A fear of violence may also have been a significant concern.
Soon after the cartoons were published, Islamist, Islamic, or politically correct pressure groups swung into action.  In October of 2005, some ambassadors from Muslim countries sent a letter requesting a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, stating that they wished to discuss the "on-going smearing campaign in Danish public circles and media against Islam and Muslims."  They also hinted that the Danish government should legally prosecute the paper's editors.

At the same time, a nearly identical letter arrived in Copenhagen from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC -- now known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), an intergovernmental organization of fifty-seven Muslim states, also protesting the publication of the cartoons.  As noted here, "[t]he diplomatic protests aimed to use international disapproval to sanction the newspaper -- and the Danes -- for Islamophobia," an invented term patterned after the term "homophobia."  Coinciding with the arrival of the letters, three thousand Danish Muslims demonstrated in Copenhagen and demanded an apology from the newspaper for insulting Muslims. continue reading

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