Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future
In the aftermath of the jihadist attack in Garland, TX, leftists and Islamic supremacists are moving swiftly to blame Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer for their American Freedom Defense Initiative/Jihad Watch Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest for supposedly “provoking” the violent attack. Once again, advocates of free speech are being slandered while any attempts to examine the real motives of the ISIS-linked terrorists who tried to slaughter them are being labeled as unjustified and “Islamophobic.”
To combat this pernicious tactic and the toxic delusion that impoliteness about the prophet, and not planned Islamic terrorism, is somehow the cause of the attack in Garland in particular and the global jihad in general, Frontpage is running the Freedom Center’s pamphlet, Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future, written by David Horowitz and Robert Spencer.
he authors reveal how the word “Islamophobia” is used by the Muslim Brotherhood to inhibit opposition to jihad terror, and detail how the portrayal of Muslims as victims after every Jihadist attack is a carefully planned and skillfully executed program with the ultimate goal of curtailing the West’s freedom of speech and allowing the jihad to advance unimpeded.
Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future
By David Horowitz and Robert Spencer
In George Orwell’s futuristic nightmare, 1984, citizens are watched by a secret police for “thought crimes” committed against the totalitarian state. These thought crimes are simply attitudes and ideas the authorities regard as politically incorrect.
Orwell wrote 1984 during the height of the Cold War and its vision reflected an all-too-real fact of life. The Soviet police state had spread its tentacles over hundreds of millions of captive peoples. Tens of millions of them whose ideas failed to conform to the prescriptions of the totalitarian state were sent to labor camps and firing squads for committing thought crimes. Their offense was to be “anti-Soviet” – to speak out against socialism, or its rulers, or to fail to parrot the views and opinions approved by the regime.
During the Cold War, America led a coalition of democracies to oppose Communism because America’s founders had made the principle of liberty the cornerstone of their Republic. The very first article of the American Bill of Rights was not to have one’s speech restricted by the power of the state.
This First Amendment freedom guaranteed citizens the right to dissent from orthodoxy, to criticize the powerful, and to tell the truth as they saw it without fear of reprisal. This freedom is the absolute and indispensable basis of every other freedom that Americans enjoy. For without the right to dissent from the opinions of the state, every other freedom can be taken away. Without this right, every dissent from the policies and practices of the state would be a thought crime.
“Islamophobia” is the name that has been given to a modern-day thought crime. The purpose of the suffix in the term “Islamophobia” is to suggest that any fear associated with Islam is irrational – whether that fear stems from the fact that its prophet and current-day imams call on believers to kill infidels, or because the attacks of 9/11 were carried out to implement those calls. Worse than that, it is to suggest that such a response to those attacks reflects a bigotry that itself should be feared.
Those with a perspective on history, however, will take a different view. In the fall of 2005 global Muslim riots resulted in the deaths of over 100 people. The riots were triggered by the publication of cartoons in Denmark depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. In the wake of these religiously inspired outrages, a group of internationally reknowned writers issued a manifesto called, “Together Facing the New Totalitarianism.” One of the writers, Salman Rushdie, had himself been the target of such attacks after the Islamic leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa calling on all Muslims to kill him. His offense? Insulting the prophet Muhammad in a novel. Rushdie was forced to go into hiding for several years and was only able to regain his freedom after the Ayatollah’s demise, although every year the Islamic Republic of Iran renews the death sentence.
The manifesto issued by Rushdie and his fellow writers said: “After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global totalitarian threat: Islamism…. We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of ‘Islamophobia,’ a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it. We defend the universality of the freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit can exist in every continent, towards each and every maltreatment and dogma.”
Islam is often defended as a religion no different from Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and most other faiths. But this overlooks the fact that unlike other modern faiths, Islam is a political religion. Islam has had no reformation since its founding in the 7th Century, and Muslims recognize no separation between religion and state. In its canonical texts and teachings, Islam regards all other religions (and non-religions) as “infidel” creeds, and instructs believers to regard themselves at war with those who will not submit to the Muslim God. Unlike Christians or Jews, Muslim leaders seek to establish a global Islamic state or “caliphate” that would impose Islamic law on individuals everywhere and thus criminalize heretical thoughts.
Political Islam’s global ambition is openly stated. The president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has said: “Have no doubt… Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world.” In 1990 the 56 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) met in Egypt and adopted the “Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.” The Cairo Declaration states that, “all human beings form one family whose members are united by their subordination to Allah.”
These are religious statements, but they are made by political authorities. Moreover, they are in complete accord with traditional Islamic theology. In his 1955 book War and Peace in the Law of Islam, Majid Khadduri, an internationally renowned scholar of Islamic law, wrote: “The Islamic state, whose principal function was to put God’s law into practice, sought to establish Islam as the dominant reigning ideology over the entire world…. The jihad was therefore employed as an instrument for both the universalization of religion and the establishment of an imperial world state.”
Because the tenets of Islamic belief are not open to question, and because as a religion Islam prescribes moral behavior for every aspect of individual and social life, Islamic law – sharia – is by its very nature totalitarian. A religion that recognizes no principle of separation from governmental authority, whose prescriptions dictate what is proper for every aspect of private life is the very definition of totalitarian rule. Where Islam becomes the religion of the state, violations of Islamic doctrine and heretical thoughts are inevitably seen as crimes against the state.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (now called The Organization of Islamic Cooperation) is composed of the fifty-six Islamic nations plus the Palestinian Authority. At present, only Saudi Arabia and Iran, along with Islamic northern Sudan and most of Somalia, are states where Islamic law is fully implemented. Other Islamic states, such as Pakistan, Egypt and Indonesia are currently governed by a mixture of Western and Islamic law. Even in such “moderate” majority-Muslim states, however, Christians are violently persecuted as infidels and non-Muslims in general are denied basic rights. Even in these states, apostasy is not tolerated. Converts from Islam to other religions are routinely threatened, harassed, jailed and even executed under existing state law. In short, even in “moderate” Muslim states the penalty for deviation from the accepted religious orthodoxy is severe, and in each of these states there are radical Islamic movements pushing for more stringent conformity to Islamic law.
Not a single one of its members, with the arguable exception of Lebanon, which is unique in having a significant Christian population, can be considered a democracy in the western sense. Even secular Turkey denies equality of rights to Christians in numerous ways. Not a single one of the 56 Islamic states or the Palestinian Authority is tolerant towards gays, women or other minorities or treats them as equals.
Since the demise of the Soviet Union, the Islamic states of the OIC have comprised the largest voting bloc at the United Nations. Wielding its influence, the OIC has succeeded in having Israel condemned more than 200 times in formal UN resolutions, more than all of the other member states combined. But the same Islamic voting bloc has ensured that the terrorist regimes in Iran, Gaza and the West Bank have not been censured even once.
Through the OIC, the Islamic states have also been working for several years to persuade the members of the UN to criminalize “Islamophobia.”
Islamophobia and the Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood is a global organization and the leading force behind political totalitarian Islam. It is also the fountainhead of terrorist Islam, and in particular the Islamic terror groups al-Qaeda and Hamas.
The Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna. Al-Banna was an open admirer and supporter of Adolf Hitler, and had Mein Kampf translated into Arabic in the 1930s. His disciple, Haj Amin al-Husseni, the patriarch of Palestinian nationalism, spent the Second World War in Berlin recruiting Arabs for Hitler’s legions.
Al-Banna’s ambition was to create a global Islamic empire instituting sharia as a global law: “It is a duty incumbent on every Muslim to struggle towards the aim of making every people Muslim and the whole world Islamic, so that the banner of Islam can flutter over the earth and the call of the Muezzin can resound in all the corners of the world: God is greatest [Allahu akbar]!” The motto of the Muslim Brotherhood inspires its members to achieve this plan: “Allah is our goal. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest aspiration.”
Al-Banna’s movement grew quickly in Egypt, but after a member of the Brotherhood assassinated the Egyptian prime minister on December 28, 1948, the organization was outlawed. However, since the days of President Gamel Abdel Nasser (1956-1970), the Brotherhood has been so popular among Egyptians that the Egyptian government has looked the other way as the group terrorized Coptic Christians and others, and enforced Islamic strictures upon the population as a whole.
It was only when the Brotherhood showed signs of becoming strong enough to seize state power that the Egyptian government cracked down. In 1966, the Brotherhood’s leading theorist, Sayyid Qutb (also an admirer of Hitler), was arrested and executed for calling for the overthrow of the existing regime and its replacement with one that fully implemented Islamic law. But the popularity of the Brotherhood persisted. Nasser’s successor Anwar Sadat, signed a peace agreement with Israel, which led to his assassination by Islamic hardliners. Shortly before his assassination, Sadat released all the members of the Brotherhood who had been languishing in Egyptian prisons, and even promised the Brotherhood that Islamic law would be fully implemented in Egypt.
After 9/11, the Brotherhood launched a campaign to sanitize its image and present itself as a moderate organization. Its intention was to enter the political process, a goal that was finally achieved with the fall of Sadat’s successor, Mubarak, in order to further its goal of converting Egypt into an Islamic state. Immediately after Mubarak’s fall, the Brotherhood became the leading political force in Egypt, its influence manifest in the reopening of Egypt’s relations with Iran for the first time in 34 years. This entente coincided with Cairo’s ending of the arms blockade of Gaza that had been designed to keep weapons from flowing to the Islamic terrorist group Hamas – itself a Brotherhood creation.
Hamas identifies itself as a creature of the Brotherhood in its founding charter: “The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a world organization, the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era.” Al-Qaeda founders Abdullah Azzam and Osama bin Laden, and top leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, were all members of or trained by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood’s reach also extended into Shi’ite Iran. Navab Safavi, founder of the Iranian Islamic group Fedayan-e Islam, which was active in Iran in the 1950s, was strongly influenced by the Brotherhood; Savafi himself went on to become a close associate of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini, of course, was notorious for calling America after the name of the large pillar that Muslims stone during the pilgrimage to Mecca: the “Great Satan” – that is, the leader of the anti-totalitarian, anti-Sharia, infidel world.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s designs on the Great Satan are spelled out in a captured internal document the FBI seized in the Northern Virginia headquarters of the Holy Land Foundation in 2005. The Holy Land Foundation was the largest Islamic “charity” in America but was at the same time a front for raising funds for the terrorist organization (and Muslim Brotherhood creation) Hamas. The seized document was presented as evidence in the trial of the HLF in 2007. The Foundation was accused of illegally supporting a terrorist organization, Hamas. The trial resulted in convictions of the HLF leaders.
The captured document was titled, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.” In it, Muslim Brotherhood members were told: “The general strategic goal of the group in America, which was approved by the Shura Council and the Organizational Conference for the year  is Enablement of Islam in North America, meaning: establishing an effective and stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood, which adopts Muslim causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at directing and unifying Muslims’ efforts, presents Islam as a civilizational alternative, and supports the global Islamic state wherever it is.” And further: “[Muslims] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
To realize the goal of destroying Western civilization and establishing a global Islamic state, the Brotherhood memorandum called for the creation of front organizations that would insinuate themselves into the institutional framework of host societies and of American society in particular. Among the groups the Memorandum identified as being part of this network of Brotherhood fronts in America were the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Students Association, the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, and the Islamic Association for Palestine, the parent group of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Another front group identified in the memorandum – the International Institute for Islamic Thought – invented the term “Islamophobia.”
A Global Movement Against Islamophobia
Abdur-Rahman Muhammad is a former member of the International Institute for Islamic Thought. He was present when the word “Islamophobia” was created, but now characterizes the concept of Islamophobia this way: “This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.” In short, in its very origins, “Islamophobia” was a term designed as a weapon to advance a totalitarian cause by stigmatizing critics and silencing them.
Although it was invented in the early 1990s, “Islamophobia” did not become the focus of an active Brotherhood campaign until after 9/11. Since then it has become “a matter of extreme priority” for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation according to its Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. By 2010, the campaign had already achieved notable success. In November of that year, the U.N. General Assembly voted to condemn what it called the “vilification of religion.” Every majority-Muslim state, without exception, supported the resolution.
A Reuters report claimed that the resolution’s language had been softened before it was finally submitted. The term “defamation” had been changed to “vilification” in order to win more support from Western nations. But the two words are essentially synonyms, and both are dangerously subjective. What actually constitutes “defamation” or “vilification” would presumably be left up to some UN body to determine, in other words essentially to the Islamic states.
The resolution is a step towards making criticisms of “matters regarded by followers of any religion or belief as sacred” into criminal acts. So defined, and made into law, it would be an anti-blasphemy statute. Such statutes are presently on the books in several Islamic states. On the other hand, anti-blasphemy laws are the very reason why the American founders created the First Amendment.
They themselves were refugees from religious persecution and wanted to make sure the new republic they had created could not sanctify a particular creed and use it to persecute dissenters. That is what American democracy is essentially about.
To sugarcoat its bitter pill, the UN resolution against “vilification” condemned not only “Islamophobia,” but “Judeophobia and Christianophobia.” But this was merely a sop to Western sensibilities and bothersome notions of free speech, not something that the Muslim framers of the resolution took seriously. Massacres of Christians in Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Indonesia, and terror attacks against Passover seders in Israel, along with other acts of Muslim hatred towards other religions never led to calls for UN censure from the OIC. When Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ became a cause celebre, or a thousand anti-Semitic caricatures appeared in Arab government media (including the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which was run as an eleven-part mini-series on Egyptian TV), there were no expressions of OIC or UN outrage or formal condemnations.
The clear aim of the UN’s anti-blasphemy resolution was to proscribe Islamophobia in non-Muslim countries, not to curb hatred against Jews, Christians and other religions by Muslims. On the contrary, blasphemy laws defined to include the expression of basic Christian and Jewish beliefs are already on the books in many areas of the Islamic world. Saudi Arabia, to take an extreme case, allows no non-Muslim religious expression at all, since Muhammad commanded that Jews and Christians be expelled from the Arabian peninsula, and that there be only one religion there. Thus it is illegal to build a Christian church in Saudi Arabia, or to bring a Bible across its borders, and no Jew or Christian is permitted to set foot in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina lest they be defiled. In Pakistan, a blasphemy law has been used to victimize numerous innocent Christians, sometimes simply for affirming the Christian faith. The punishment is often death.
Just as the Muslim Brotherhood had affinities with Nazi totalitarians, so they absorbed and embraced Marxist indictments of the capitalist West. Their instructors were first their Communist allies and then post-Communist, “social justice” progressives. Islamic jihadist pronouncements regularly incorporate the analyses of American leftists. Among the books recommended in Osama bin Laden’s fatwas are Mearsheimer and Walt’s conspiratorial text on how the Jewish lobby controls Washington’s policy in the Middle East and Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance.
Indeed, the anti-Islamophobia movement has been built on the foundations created by progressives and, as a result, is already well advanced in the West. In 1996 the Runnymede Trust, a leftist group in England, established a “Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia.” Its elaborate definition of Islamophobia has since become a model for Muslim Brotherhood fronts like CAIR and the Muslim Students Association in their drive to impose anti-Islamophobia strictures on everyone and suppress critics of the Islamic jihad. Under the Runnymede definition, Islamophobia includes any one of these eight components:
- Islam seen as a single monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to new realities.
- Islam seen as separate and other – (a) not having any aims or values in common with other cultures (b) not affected by them (c) not influencing them.
- Islam seen as inferior to the West – barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist.
- Islam seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, engaged in ‘a clash of civilizations’.
- Islam seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage.
- Criticisms made by Islam of ‘the West’ rejected out of hand.
- Hostility towards Islam used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
- Anti-Muslim hostility accepted as natural and ‘normal’.”
Note, at the outset, how contradictory these proscriptions are. The very first Runnymede injunction seeks to ban all references to Islam as a “single monolithic bloc.” But then, with one exception, every other Runnymede proscription presents Islam as a single monolithic bloc: “Islam seen as separate;… Islam seen as inferior;… sexist; Islam seen as violent,” “Criticisms made by Islam of ‘the West’ rejected out of hand”…, These statements presume that Islam is a unitary entity, and can, for example, make judgments about the West with a single voice that are rejected out of hand. These definitions of Islamophobia are made as though there were no separatist Muslims to be concerned about, no violent Muslims to fear, no doctrines associated with “Islam” that are backward and sexist, and no Muslim criticisms of the West that should be rejected out of hand.
There is a reason why the Runnymede statement and its imitators take a monolithic view of Islam. It serves their primary goal, which is to conflate criticisms of some Islamic doctrines and opposition to Islamic terrorists with attacks on Muslims as such. As the signers of the Rushdie manifesto put it: “‘Islamophobia’ [is a] wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it.” Thus critics of Islam’s relegation of women to second-class citizenship are labeled anti-Muslim even though they are defending Muslims, and opponents of Islamic terror are called Islamophobes.
Each one of the Runnymede criteria is so vague as to be easily applied to any criticism of Islam. Is Islam sexist – i.e., do women have diminished rights in Muslim societies and cultures? It is undeniable that they do. But in the Runnymede view to say so is Islamophobic. Is Islam engaged in a clash of civilizations? The leaders of Islamic jihadist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah, and the rulers of Muslim states like the Sudan and Iran proclaim that they are in a civilizational war with West. But to recognize this fact is Islamophobia. Is Islam a political ideology? It is the ideology of political organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban and states like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Islamic apologists all over the world criticize the idea of the separation of religion and state, and compare Islam favorably to Christianity precisely because Islam has a political doctrine and Christianity does not. Yet to note this fact is anti-Muslim.
There is no mystery as to how the Runnymede principles will be interpreted. They have already been used to condemn every critic of the Islamic oppression of women, Islamic support for suicide bombings and other acts of terror, and of Islamic intolerance. Such critics are Islamophobes.
Outlawing Cartoons and Films
The OIC campaign against Islamophobia began in earnest at its annual meeting in March 2008 in Senegal. At this meeting, the OIC declared its intention to craft a “legal instrument” to fight against the threat to Islam “from political cartoonists and bigots.” The reference was to the Danish cartoons of Muhammad that appeared in 2005, touching off international protests by Muslims worldwide, which included riots, the burning of embassies, and even murders of non-Muslims, including a Catholic nun. “Muslims are being targeted by a campaign of defamation, denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination,” fumed Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who gave attendees “a voluminous report by the OIC that recorded anti-Islamic speech and actions from around the world. The report concludes that Islam is under attack and that a defense must be mounted.” The attack by Muslims on non-Muslims and the 100 plus fatalities caused by the protests went un-noted and un-deplored.
Ihsanoglu even compared the appearance of the Danish cartoons to the 9/11 atrocity, warning that “the Islamic world took the satirical drawings as a different version of the September 11 attacks against them.” He then urged the European Union to adopt new laws against Islamophobia.”
At the Senegal conference, Ihsanoglu declared: “Islamophobia cannot be dealt with only through cultural activities but (through) a robust political engagement.” Political engagement meant a campaign to restrict freedom of speech. Abdoulaye Wade, president of Senegal and OIC chairman, explained: “I don’t think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy. There can be no freedom without limits.” In a July 2008 briefing on Capitol Hill, Pakistani Embassy representative Asma Fatima defended the anti-cartoon outrages as necessary and called for restrictions on speech that insulted Islam: “The ideal of freedom of speech is precious to you, but it’s not value-neutral. You don’t have to hurt people’s sentiments and bring them to the point where they have to react in strange ways.”
The OIC’s new anti-Islamophobia campaign also focused on Fitna, a short film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders. The offense committed by the film consisted of quotes of passages from the Qur’an exhorting Muslims to violence and then depictions of the contemporary violence directly inspired by those passages. The OIC condemned Fitna in “the strongest terms,” claiming that Wilders’ film was “a deliberate act of discrimination against Muslims,” and was intended only to “provoke unrest and intolerance.” There was no suggestion that the citations from the Qur’an were inaccurate or that the incidents depicted hadn’t taken place. Physical threats against Wilders by Muslims resulted in the Dutch government providing him with a 24-hour security detail. The same threats forced Wilders to live in hiding, separated from his family.
It was extraordinary enough that a member of the Dutch Parliament and leader of the nation’s third largest party would have to live in hiding, but the indictment was even more outrageous than that. It charged that Wilders had “intentionally offended a group of people, i.e. Muslims, based on their religion”; had “incited to hatred of people, i.e. Muslims, based on their religion”; and had “incited to discrimination…against people, i.e. Muslims, based on their religion.” It also claimed that he had incited people to hate Muslims because of their race. All this was based on statements Wilders had made about Islam that were entirely true and accurate; the Netherlands came quite close to criminalizing the speaking of unpleasant truths.
But instead of defending Wilders’ right to his opinions, many Western officials rushed to support the OIC’s condemnation. Ihsanoglu noted that the anti-free speech campaign had made “convincing progress at all these levels mainly the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and the UN General Assembly. The United Nations General Assembly adopted similar resolutions against the defamation of Islam.” He added: “In confronting the Danish cartoons and the Dutch film ‘Fitna’, we sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed. As we speak, the official West and its public opinion are all now well aware of the sensitivities of these issues. They have also started to look seriously into the question of freedom of expression from the perspective of its inherent responsibility, which should not be overlooked.”
Doudou Diène, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of “racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” went further, suggesting that even quoting the Qur’an accurately but in a critical manner was an act of bigotry:
One may note that a number of Islamophobic statements have been falsely claimed to be scientific or scholarly, in order to give intellectual clout to arguments that link Islam to violence and terrorism. Furthermore, the manipulation and selective quoting of sacred texts, in particular the Qur’an, as a means to deceptively argue that these texts show the violent nature of Islam has become current practice.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the international campaign against free speech was the readiness of western politicians of a leftist bent, including government leaders, to support the Muslim assault and to impose restrictions on their own people. This was especially egregious in the Netherlands, the scene of shocking acts of Islam-related violence.
The gay politician Pim Fortuyn was murdered in 2002 by a leftist Dutchman, Volkert van der Graaf, who explained that he had done it on behalf of the country’s Muslims, to stop their “scapegoating” by Fortuyn. In 2004 an Islamic jihadist, Mohammed Bouyeri, murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh – also gay – in broad daylight on a street in Amsterdam, because van Gogh had insulted Islam with his film, Submission, criticizing the Islamic treatment of women.
The trial of Geert Wilders ended in an acquittal in June 2011, on which occasion he said: “It is my strong conviction that Islam is a threat to Western values, to freedom of speech, to the equality of men and women, of heterosexuals and homosexuals, of believers and unbelievers.” These claims are founded in the behavior of the OIC and the failure of any Muslim authority to defend Wilders, in the clear and elaborate strictures about women and homosexuals in Islamic teachings and Islamic law, and in the persecution of non-believers, Christians in particular, in Muslim countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia, all of which go un-noted and un-lamented in the pronouncements of the 56 Muslim states (and the Palestinian Authority) included in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Nonetheless, Wilders’ post-trial utterance is precisely the sort of statement that led to his indictment. Even as the Dutch court acquitted him, moreover, it affirmed the false and dangerous premises that underpinned the prosecution, including the idea that one could and should face legal action for saying things that others deemed offensive. Amsterdam judge Marcel van Oosten explained: “The bench finds that your statements are acceptable within the context of the public debate. The bench finds that although gross and denigrating, it did not give rise to hatred.”
In other words, the presiding judge would not have hesitated to fine or jail Wilders if he had determined that his words gave rise to “hatred.” Thus the false and dangerous premise of Wilders’ indictment is still in place in Dutch law. Upon his acquittal, Wilders said: “Today is a victory for freedom of speech. The Dutch are still allowed to speak critically about Islam, and resistance against Islamization is not a crime.” At least for now.
Islamophobia Witch Hunts
In many European countries governments already preemptively silence critics of Islam in the name of fighting racial hatred. In June 2002, well before the OIC had begun its Islamophobia campaign in earnest, Muslims in Switzerland targeted the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci for her post-9/11 book, The Rage and the Pride. In it, she had argued that Europe was being colonized by Muslims who refused to assimilate into their host societies, and remained hostile to their cultures and values.
Citing Swiss laws against racism, the Islamic Center of Geneva demanded that Fallaci’s book be banned. Hani Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, declared that “Fallaci is insulting the Muslim community as a whole with her shameful words.” The Islamic Center called on Swiss authorities not only to ban her book, but to prosecute those who were distributing it. Swiss officials moved to have Fallaci extradited to face trial, but failed in their attempt. Then, in May 2005, the Italian government itself indicted Fallaci for writing a book that “defames Islam.”
The campaign to silence Fallaci spread to France, where a group calling itself the Movement Against Racism And For Friendship Between Peoples (MRAP) also filed racism charges, arguing that “Freedom of expression is and will remain a fundamental right . . . but when this great writer resorts to outrageous stigmatization of Islam, the limits of what is tolerable are breached.” In the end, Fallaci escaped prosecution only because she fled Europe and took refuge in America, where the Bill of Rights still prevailed. Shortly before she died of cancer in 2006, she predicted that when the case came to trial, she would be found guilty.
The guardians of “tolerable” speech had better luck against Sixties screen siren Brigitte Bardot, who was convicted five times in her native France for “inciting racial hatred” – in every case for remarks considered denigrating to Muslims. In June 2008, a court fined the 73-year-old Bardot 15,000 euros (around $23,000) as punishment for writing that the Islamic community in France was “destroying our country and imposing its acts.” The court apparently didn’t consider the possibility that imposing Islamic law was precisely what many Muslims in France had in mind. Although they had not moved, like their coreligionists in Britain, to establish separate Sharia courts, they enforced many Sharia provisions in the banlieus, the majority-Muslim areas encircling most major French cities.
These prosecutions were ongoing. Wilders noted shortly after his acquittal that “Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard, Austrian human rights activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and others…have recently been convicted for criticizing Islam.” In October 2009, journalist Jonathan Turley noted that Ireland had passed a blasphemy law, and that “in Holland, Dutch prosecutors arrested cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot for insulting Christians and Muslims with cartoons, including one that caricatured a Christian fundamentalist and a Muslim fundamentalist as zombies who want to marry and attend gay rallies.” Christian fundamentalists, of course, were not the ones complaining. Turley added that, “the ‘blasphemy’ cases include the prosecution of writers for calling Mohammed a ‘pedophile’ because of his marriage to 6-year-old Aisha (which was consummated when she was 9). A far-right legislator in Austria, a publisher in India and a city councilman in Finland have been prosecuted for repeating this view of the historical record.”
Such prosecutions have already come to North America as well. On February 14, 2006, a Canadian magazine, the Western Standard, became one of the few publications in the Western world to reprint the Danish Muhammad cartoons. The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and the Edmonton Muslim Council complained that the Standard’s publisher, Ezra Levant, was “Islamophobic,” sparking an investigation of Levant by the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission. In America, Yale University press published a scholarly book about the Muhammad cartoons, but refused to print the cartoons themselves in the text.
During his interrogation by a commission investigator, Ezra Levant delivered a ringing defense of freedom of speech. Many voices were raised in protest against the prosecution, including even some on the left, such as that of Megan McArdle, a senior editor of The Atlantic. Facing a groundswell of support for Levant, the Islamic Supreme Council withdrew its complaint. But an even higher profile case was brought against Maclean’s magazine in Canada for running an excerpt from America Alone, a book by the popular columnist Mark Steyn.
Charging that Steyn’s “flagrantly Islamophobic” writing subjected Canadian Muslims to “hatred and contempt,” the Canadian Islamic Congress (C.I.C.) filed complaints against Maclean’s with three separate Human Rights Commissions. One of the Canadian Islamic Congress’s complaints was about Steyn’s comment that in Europe, “the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes.” New Republic writer Jim Henley labeled Steyn a “racist” because of this phrase. One small problem with these attacks was the mosquito remark was a quote from Mullah Krekar, a Muslim jihadist who continues to reside in Norway, despite longstanding efforts to deport him.
Moreover, Krekar’s prediction of Islam’s demographic conquest of Europe is hardly original. As far back as 1974, Algerian leader Houari Boumédienne declared at the United Nations that “One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”
In fact, this is a commonly expressed aspiration of Islamic supremacists. It wasn’t Steyn who said that “Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor,” or that “The conquest this time will not be by the sword but by preaching and ideology.” These are sentiments expressed by Al-Jazeera’s Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who is widely hailed as a “moderate” reformer in the West and is a close friend of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone. Qaradawi is also on record saying that the Holocaust was God’s punishment of the Jews and that “Allah willing, the next time it will be by the believers.” Nor was it Steyn who said that Muslims “will control the land of the Vatican; we will control Rome and introduce Islam in it.” This was said by a Saudi Sheikh, Muhammad bin Abd Al-Rahman Al-Arifi, imam of the mosque of the King Fahd Defense Academy.
In the end, Steyn’s offense was identical to Wilders’ – to quote the statements of Muslims themselves revealing agendas that many Westerners would find worrisome.
The actions of the Canadian Islamic Congress show the great lengths to which Western-based Muslim advocacy groups will go to carry water for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in its campaign to silence public discussion of jihadists’ self-stated goals in their holy war against the West. The Canadian Islamic Congress doesn’t file complaints against the jihadists who actually advocate an Islamic conquest of Europe; it just goes after western critics of these agendas. In other words, it is “Islamophobia” to reveal the unpleasant reality of the Islam-inspired war against the West.
Islamophobia and National Security
Stigmatizing critics of the Islamic jihad as “Islamophobes” not only threatens free speech; it cuts large holes in our security defenses against a terrorist attack. In April 2009, Barack Obama appointed Arif Alikhan, the deputy mayor of Los Angeles, as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security. While serving as Los Angeles’ deputy mayor, Alikhan (who once called the jihad terror group Hezbollah a “liberation movement”) blocked a Los Angeles Police Department project to assemble data about the ethnic makeup of mosques in the Los Angeles area. This was not an attempt to conduct surveillance of the mosques or monitor them in any way. LAPD Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing explained that it was actually an outreach program: “We want to know where the Pakistanis, Iranians and Chechens are so we can reach out to those communities.” But Alikhan and other Muslim leaders claimed that the project manifested racism and “Islamophobia,” and the LAPD ultimately discarded all plans to study the mosques and gain invaluable contacts in the Muslim community that might prevent terrorist attacks. Alikhan’s reward for this disservice was to be appointed by President Obama to a key role at Homeland Security, the department charged with managing the defenses of the entire country. And in December 2010, the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution condemning “Islamophobia.”
The effect of the multifaceted societal onslaught against critical observations about Islamic jihadists has been a weakening of necessary defenses. On November 5, 2009, Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan gave a neighbor a copy of the Qur’an and told her, “I’m going to do good work for God.” Later that day, he entered a center at Fort Hood in Texas where soldiers receive medical examinations before deploying overseas. Shouting “Allahu akbar,” Hasan pulled out a handgun and began firing. Before he was finished he had murdered thirteen unarmed American soldiers and wounded 30. Yet long before this massacre, Hasan had displayed unmistakable signs of sympathies for jihadist terror. Major Hasan routinely harassed his colleagues with harangues about Islam, and proclaimed that he was “Muslim first and American second.” His business card read “SOA,” a well-known acronym among jihadists for “Soldier of Allah.”
Hasan gave a PowerPoint presentation to his colleagues in which he proposed to show “what the Qur’an inculcates in the minds of Muslims and the potential implications this may have for the U.S. military.” In it, he argued that Muslims must not fight against other Muslims (as is mandated by Qur’an 4:92), and that the Qur’an also mandates both defensive and offensive jihad against unbelievers, in order to impose upon those unbelievers the hegemony of Islamic law. He quoted the Qur’anic verse calling for war against the “People of the Book” (that is, mainly Jews and Christians) until they “pay the tax in acknowledgment of [Islamic] superiority and they are in a state of subjection” (9:29).
According to reports of his talk, Hasan seems then to have told the assembled (and no doubt stunned) physicians that Muslims had a religious obligation to make war against and subjugate non-Muslims as inferiors under their rule. An official who spoke to some of those who attended the lecture said that “Hasan apparently gave a long lecture on the Qur’an and talked about how if you don’t believe, you are condemned to hell. Your head is cut off. You’re set on fire. Burning oil is burned down your throat.” According to the Associated Press, “he gave a class presentation questioning whether the U.S.-led war on terror was actually a war on Islam. And students said he suggested that Shariah, or Islamic law, trumped the Constitution and he attempted to justify suicide bombings.” above all, he warned that Muslim soldiers should not be sent to fight for the U.S. in Muslim countries, invoking the earlier jihad murders by another Muslim serviceman, Sgt. Hasan Akbar, of his commanding officers in Kuwait as evidence of what could happen if they were forced to do so.
It was fear of being accused of “Islamophobia” that prevented Major Hasan’s Army superiors from acting upon the warning signs of his commitment to jihad. According to the Associated Press, “a Defense Department review of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, has found the doctors overseeing Maj. Nidal Hasan’s medical training repeatedly voiced concerns over his strident views on Islam and his inappropriate behavior, yet they continued to give him positive performance evaluations that kept him moving through the ranks.” In other words, he rose through the Army ranks even as he justified suicide bombing and spouted hatred for America while wearing its uniform. He was even promoted from Captain to Major after the notorious lecture at the school of medicine.
While his colleagues and superiors noted his statements, and were worried about them, “no one in Hasan’s chain of command, appears to have challenged his eligibility to hold a secret security clearance even though they could have because the statements raised doubt about his loyalty to the United States.”
What was the reason for the silence in the face of all these warnings? If Nidal Hasan had been removed from his position or merely reprimanded in the months or years before he massacred thirteen people in cold blood at Fort Hood, it isn’t hard to imagine what might have happened. Groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) would have been quick to charge the Army with Islamo-phobia. The mainstream media would have embarked on a full-bore witch-hunt about the alleged persecution of Muslims in the military, interviewing the teary-eyed mothers of Muslim soldiers killed in the line of duty while fighting for the U.S. in Iraq or Afghanistan. Army Generals would have had to answer questions about alleged discrimination against Muslims in the military on the Sunday morning talk shows. And ultimately the President of the United States would order a special effort to make Muslims in the military feel welcome.
Worse still, those who might have complained about Hasan would have faced public abuse, smearing by CAIR and MPAC as Islamphobes, and possibly even disciplinary action from their superiors. Chris Matthews, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher would have subjected them to nationally broadcast ridicule. All Army personnel would have been ordered into sensitivity training, perhaps run by CAIR itself.
It isn’t hard at all to imagine such a scenario, because it has played out in real life more than once. For years now CAIR, MPAC and other Islamic advocacy groups have done all they could to demonize everyone who speaks honestly about the threat of jihad and Islamic supremacism. For CAIR and MPAC the Fort Hood massacre was in a very real sense a mission accomplished: “Islamophobia” was duly avoided. Nidal Hasan was not removed from his post, and no steps were taken to protect anyone from him. The U.S. Government’s official report on the Fort Hood massacre doesn’t mention Islam or jihad or terrorism even once. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared: “This was an individual who does not represent the Muslim faith.” The U.S. Army Chief of Staff, George Casey, went further: “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”
So recognizing signs of Muslim hostility (which, of course, is Islamophobia) is worse than mass murder. That is the judgment of the U.S. Army Chief of Staff.
CAIR’s Islamophobia Campaign
The Muslim Brotherhood front CAIR is the leader of the anti-Islamophobia campaign in the United States. CAIR presents itself as a mainstream civil rights organization for Muslims, “similar to a Muslim NAACP,” in the words of CAIR spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper. The group says its mission is “to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”
Like so many pronouncements from Brotherhood fronts, this is just a smokescreen for CAIR’s real agendas. On June 4, 2007, the Justice Department named CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case. The Foundation was accused and then convicted of funding the terrorist organization Hamas, a Brotherhood offshoot. Federal prosecutors identified CAIR as an organization created out of “the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations.” To set itself up in business, CAIR had received half a million dollars from the Holy Land Foundation making it the participant in a criminal conspiracy on behalf of Hamas. When confronted with this fact by terrorism analyst Steven Emerson in 2003, CAIR cofounder and Executive Director Nihad Awad declared: “This is an outright lie. Our organization did not receive any seed money from the Holy Land Foundation. CAIR raises its own funds and we challenge Mr. Emerson to provide even a shred of evidence to support his ridiculous claim.” Emerson then produced the canceled check.
CAIR was created in 1994 as a spinoff of a Hamas front group, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). Founded in 1981 by Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook, the IAP was shut down in 2005 by the U.S. government for funding terrorism. In 1994 at Barry University in Florida, Nihad Awad conceded, “I’m in support of [the] Hamas movement more than the PLO.” In 1998, CAIR cofounder and longtime Board chairman Omar Ahmad told a Muslim audience: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Qur’an should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.” Since 9/11, CAIR executives have learned to be more careful with their public utterances, and today Ahmad denies uttering the quote. But the journalist who reported it stands by the accuracy of her story.
In 2007 six Muslim clerics sued US Airways after they were removed from a flight for behavior that could only be described as mimicking the behavior of airline terrorists. The lawyer for the “Flying Imams,” as they became known, was Omar T. Mohammedi, who has served as president of CAIR’s New York chapter. The imams also attempted to sue the anonymous passengers who reported them, but House Republicans pushed through a measure protecting whistleblowers in such circumstances. If the imams’ suit had been successful it would have essentially placed Muslims beyond the pale of security-related scrutiny; anyone who reported suspicious behavior by a Muslim in an airport or airplane would have risked being sued as an “Islamophobe.”
Six years before this, CAIR was already on the offensive in a campaign that made clear its real aim: to suppress any association between Islam and the terrorists who acted in its name. In 2001, Tom Clancy’s novel about Islamic terrorists, The Sum of All Fears, was being made into a movie. CAIR launched a successful campaign to pressure the filmmakers into changing the terrorists of the script into some other kind of villain. Despite the fact that the film was targeted for a post-9/11 audience, the filmmakers bowed to CAIR’s pressure and re-cast the villains as neo-Nazis. Film director Phil Alden Robinson wrote abjectly to CAIR, “I hope you will be reassured that I have no intention of promoting negative images of Muslims or Arabs, and I wish you the best in your continuing efforts to combat discrimination.”
In June 2011, CAIR published a report on Islamophobia in America. It was called Same Hate, New Target: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States. The title reflected a main theme of the anti-Islamophobia campaign, which is to portray the effort to silence critics of Islamic jihad as following in the footsteps of the civil rights struggles of the past. As OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu explained “Islamophobia represents a contemporary manifestation of racism and the phenomenon must be addressed in that context.”
The CAIR report was published with an introduction by Niwad Awad, who thanked Dr. Hatem Bazian for his input. Bazian, an instructor at UC Berkeley, is a ubiquitous speaker for terrorist support groups like the Palestine Solidarity Movement. He gained notoriety in 2004 when he called for “an Intifada in this country” in a speech at Berkeley.
The CAIR report is careful to begin with a gesture of fairness, suggesting that not every critic of Islam is an Islamophobe (“it is not appropriate to label all, or even the majority of those, who question Islam and Muslims as Islamophobes”), but then fails to provide a single example of what those legitimate questions might be or to identify a single individual whose criticisms of Islam might be so regarded. It then defines Islamophobia as “close-minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims,” and lists the eight sweeping principles of the Runnymede document as tests of closed-mindedness.
Not surprisingly, CAIR has repeatedly and consistently used the vagueness of those principles to characterize as “prejudice” and “hatred” any resistance to the global jihad, including virtually all of the anti-terror legal measures and policy procedures adopted by the United States government beginning with the Patriot Act. In its report CAIR displays its own open-mindedness by demonizing as “Islamophobic” every public figure who has worked effectively against Islamic terrorism and supremacism.
In a section titled “The Worst” – meaning the worst Islamophobes – CAIR’s report smears Daniel Pipes (“the grandfather of Islamophobia in America”), Robert Spencer (“intellectualized Islamophobia”), Steven Emerson (“anti-Muslim propaganda mouth-piece”), former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney (“loony-tunes bigotry”), Brigitte Gabriel (“makes no attempt to hide her efforts to de-humanize Muslims), Newt Gingrich (“a consumer of the Islamophobic narrative”), and Pamela Geller (“an anti-Islam activist”).
Robert Spencer is a co-author of this booklet. The CAIR report claims that “[Robert] Spencer offers an intellectualized Islamophobia through ‘selectively ignoring’ Islamic texts and principles that do not fit his view of Islam as the enemy” i.e., as purveyor of violent jihadist doctrines. As in so many instances of CAIR’s claims, this is simply a fabrication. In his books Onward Muslim Soldiers and The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran, Spencer discusses the peaceful and tolerant verses of the Qur’an in detail. But he also explains how mainstream Muslim exegetes regard the peaceful verses, which are confined to the earlier sections of the Qur’an as being superseded by the later violent ones. Instead of responding to these observations and possibly challenging them, CAIR prefers to demonize the messenger and warn others not to consider his analysis and its implications.
CAIR’s principal charge against Spencer is that he “operates the blog ‘Jihad Watch,’ which is notorious for its depiction of Islam as an inherently violent faith that is a threat to world peace.” The irony, of course, is that so many Muslims behave on a daily basis as if Islam were an inherently violent faith. If they were to stop acting on this belief, ‘Jihad Watch’ would have nothing to report and would cease to exist. But it is characteristic of CAIR’s Islamophobia campaign to pretend that “Islamophobes” – not the Islamic jihadists – are the problem.
CAIR also condemns Spencer for participating in a 2006 conference honoring the murdered Pim Fortuyn. CAIR doesn’t mention, of course, why Fortuyn was murdered, for to do so would have revealed that the real targets of violence in the Netherlands are non-Muslim critics of Islam, not Muslims.
A comment on CAIR’s report by its legislative director, Corey Saylor. reveals its bottom line, which is to silence critics of Islamic supremacism and global jihad: “This report shows that Americans who embrace pluralism must act together to prevent Islamophobia from being accepted in mainstream society.” In other words, in the name of tolerance Americans are being asked to suppress the criticism of Islamic jihadism that CAIR finds objectionable. To speak out against Islamic jihad and Islamic supremacism, in this Orwellian perspective, is to discriminate against Muslims.
Worse, it is to collude with anti-Muslim terrorists. As of July 2011 there had been more than 17,000 terrorist attacks by Islamic jihadists since the September 11 attacks, with an even greater number of victims. During the same period, there had been no terrorist attacks against Muslims – at least not by non-Muslims. But on July 22, 2011 a violent attack against alleged supporters of the “Islamization” of Norway took place in Oslo and Utoya. The attack was committed by a deranged individual named Anders Behring Breivik who blew up a government building in Oslo, killing 8 and then proceeded to the youth camp of the reigning Norwegian political party on the island of Utoya where he killed 68 others.
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