Sunday, October 17, 2010

Islam, Religious Freedom and the West

Andrew McCarthy points out that the assault on free speech by Muslims is a threat to the freedom of the West in an article entitled "The Wilders West."
For a prosecutor, it was a simple matter of cause and effect. First, I showed that the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman, called for acts of violence: He admonished Muslims that Allah commanded them to slay non-believers and precisely quoted Islamic scriptures to back up that admonition. Then I showed that Muslim terrorists responded to these scripturally based exhortations by plotting and carrying out terrorist acts.

For this, the Clinton administration presented me the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award, the Justice Department’s highest honor. For doing exactly the same thing, the justice department of the Netherlands presented Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders with an indictment.

I got the pretty glass eagle for the mantelpiece, and the Blind Sheikh got sent to prison. Wilders, by contrast, got to stand in the dock while the global Islamist movement got to savor the possibility of something far more valuable than a trophy: a white flag draped over the shriveling remains of free speech. Wilders has been acquitted, but his trial was nonetheless damaging to what remains of the Western tradition of free discourse and inquiry.
But is there really a threat to freedom of speech and ultimately freedom not to be Muslim? McCarthy again:
When it comes to Islam as a category of speech, there is no doubt that our current government reflects the transnational progressive consensus: that the Western tradition of critical examination must give way to the Muslim tradition of submission. This is why when jihadists attack, the self-loathing elite’s response is to wonder what we did to offend them. It is also why when Muslims rioted over harmless cartoon depictions of their warrior-prophet as a warrior-prophet, the State Department’s harshest condemnation was reserved not for the marauders but for the offending newspaper. It is why Yale University Press would only publish a book about the cartoon controversy after the author agreed to purge from its pages the cartoons themselves. It is why the Washington Post just spiked a “Where’s Mohammed?” spoof in which the prophet nowhere appeared — and, by this craven act, validated cartoonist Wiley Miller’s point about Western timidity.

At least Mr. Miller is around to tell the tale. Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris had to go underground for merely suggesting an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” — as Mark Steyn observes, even being a good lefty who never followed through and tried to disavow the whole business didn’t help her. The threat whose name must not be spoken was too much. On the FBI’s advice, she disappeared without a trace, much to the relief of her former employer, the Seattle Weekly.

Islam does not seek freedom of all religions. Its goal is world domination and the suppression of all rival religions and political systems. The reason for this is that Islam is not simply a religion as "religion" has come to be defined in the West. It is both what we call a religion and also what we call a political philosophy. So it is an alternative both to Christianity, Judaism, paganism, Hinduism, Buddhism etc., on the one hand, and also to liberal democracy, on the other.

There can be no doubt that Islam and Western religion/Western political institutions are incompatible unless the Muslims immigrating to the West accept that Islam here can only be a religion and not a political system. The West is divided into two groups: a left-wing elite that is willing to let Islam be a political system as well as a religion and a conservative majority that is only willing to accept Islam as a religion, not as a political system. The flashpoint is the attitude toward Sharia Law. Sharia Law is incompatible with Western culture and that is the point at which the battle must be joined.

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