Will Western Leaders Really Encourage Free Speech?

January 9, 2015

by Avi Davis

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is adamant. In the wake of the brutal massacre of the staff of the Charlie Hebdo Magazine in Paris on Wednesday, he referred to the media rights exercised by the satirical French magazine as “not just a pen, but a pen that represents an instrument of freedom, not fear.”

Well said, but does he believe it?   In fact do any of the Western leaders who stood up and condemned one of the most brutal terrorist attacks in the history of Paris, believe that, that when it comes to examinations of Islam, the West either has a truly free press or that it should have one?

If their past conduct and views is any guide, the answer would be almost certainly no.

President Barack Obama, for instance, thinks that there are certain criticisms which are out of bounds.  In September 2012 at the United Nations and in the wake of his administrations’ assertion that the Benghazi attacks had been solely provoked by an American made video which pilloried Mohammed, the President announced:  “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”   This extraordinary statement, wherein the reputed  leader of the Free World allowed himself to be co-opted by Islamic propaganda ( for such words would surely have been comfortable in the mouth of Ayatollah Khoemieni) was a telling sign of where free speech is headed in the Western world.

For years the Islamic nations have fought to obtain a worldwide ban on the defamation or criticism of religion.  It is a subtle – and clever – attempt to prevent the West from identifying the scourge which now assaults it.

Yet, many Western liberal leaders seem to agree with that sentiment.   While in office, former French president Jacques Chirac had been particularly vocal about the criticism of Islam and had even encouraged law suits against the very same magazine whose editorial staff was slaughtered by Muslims on Wednesday.   In fact, in 2006 he recommended his personal lawyer to the Muslim agitators in order to sue the magazine.   While the case did not proceed, it is in stark contrast to the treatment received by former actress and now animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot who has been convicted repeatedly for criticizing Muslim halal slaughter practices.

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has stated his view that the defamation of Islam is in fact a defamation of the U.K. itself.  He has pledged that upon his ascension to the throne, that he will be a defender of the faith(s), rather than the traditional defender of the Christian faith.

Meanwhile those politicians brave enough to stand up and bring attention to incitement in both European and American mosques and the threat that the spread of Islam represents to their societies have been prosecuted and otherwise ostracized for hate speech.

Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders was brought to trial for his repeated warnings about Islam and even prosecuted for his film Fitna – a wordless presentation of the scriptural writings in the Koran.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born Muslim and at the time a Dutch parliamentarian, was forced to flee the Netherlands because the Dutch government could not guarantee her safety.  Many politicians considered her an outright racist for her condemnations of Islamic intolerance.

Sweden’s Democrat Party politician Michael Hess was sentenced on May 8th last year to a fine for hate speech after having connected the religion of Islam with rape.

Rather than give the press a green light to provide an intense investigation of Islam and the way it has and is being used to advance an anti-Western agenda,  Western politicians have fallen over themselves in recent years  to not only assert that Islam is a religion of peace but that they can say so because they happen to be experts on the matter .

So therefore, John Kerry, lately so determined to ensure that the Western media can freely criticize or attack Islamic intolerance (as Charlie Hebdo has done) went so far last month as to say ” ISIL does not represent Islam and Islam does not condone or honor such depravity. In fact, these actions are a reminder that ISIL is an enemy of Islam.”   How  good it is to see our Secretary of State so thoroughly versed in the hadith that he can distinguish between good and bad Islam.

Meanwhile we should all acknowledge that the events in Paris on January 7th were perpetrated, not by Arab terrorists nor foreign nationals – but by Frenchmen – three men who were born and raised on French soil.  One must assume that they had all been exposed to the great benefits of a free society – the pinnacle of which is freedom of speech.  That they despised that right and wished to exterminate it, should be deeply disturbing to any Western politician.

Is it possible now that our leaders understand, if they did not before, that the heart of Western Europe is riddled with a threat they have not even begun to meet let alone identify?   European leaders and the West in general will never accomplish this unless writers and commentators are given the license to openly, without fear of prosecution or any other form of retribution, investigate the reality of Islam today.

Sadly, I harbor few hopes that our present crop of pusillanimous leaders are up to that challenge.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of The Intermediate Zone

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‘The Terror’ Returns to the Streets of Paris

January 8, 2015

by Avi Davis

“Terror” has  worn many faces in Paris over  the past 225 years.

First there was la Terreur, in the early 1790s when the French Revolution spiraled into a orgy of bloodletting.  Then came the extra judicial executions of the brief Paris Commune of 1871;  The 1890s witnessed the rise of the anarchists who planted bombs in the French Chamber of Deputies and in French cafes;  The Second World War saw the French Underground’s relentless sabotage of German occupied Paris before its liberation in August, 1944 and in the 1970s, a host of  European and Arab terrorist groups including  the Red Army, Baader Meinhof Gang , the PLO and the PFLP slipped through the city, threatening kidnappings, hi-jackings and bombings.

Barricades during the  reign of the Paris Commune 1871

In every instance citizens of  Paris always seemed to believe that the latest outbreak was only a temporary virus that would soon enough pass through their system and be expunged.

The blood had not yet dried in the editorial meeting room of Charlie Hebdo Magazine in Paris on Wednesday, before commentators were making the very same assumptions, labeling the Parisian atrocity as an isolated attack unconnected to either the rise of militant Islam or the civil disturbances which have streaked European society with blood in the past ten years.

A bullet impact at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, 7 January

In some ways  they are right, but in a more nuanced way.   The attack was singular because it is no longer the kind of terror to which we have become accustomed.  It is actually something very different.

As of this writing the full Muslim affiliations of the three killers is unknown.  But what investigators  may well uncover is that these men, much like Man Haron Monis in Sydney last month,  Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale – the beheaders of British soldier Lee Rigby in May, 2013  and  Mohammed Merah, the murderer of four Jews in Toulouse in 2012 are freelancers, not officially connected to any one Islamic militia or terrorist group, but nevertheless acting in their general name.

Which is to say that al Qaeda and Islamic State in the short time of their existence, have created an international brand which they have now successfully marketed and franchised to young jihadists.  In this new world of Islamic jihadism, the description ‘terror’ is almost passé.  It belongs to another age when terrorism operated largely as political theater – spectacular missions carried out to bring attention to a cause –  with the death of individual citizens only incidental to the publicity value of an attack.

The New Jihadists however are not interested in publicity.  They are only concerned with enforcement. Specific individuals are targeted for assassination for crimes of having violated a religious precept or  defamed the religion’s central inspirational leader.  This may end up being a crime as simple as wearing a revealing skirt on a subway or reading a secular newspaper which has at one time or another produced editorials critical of Islam. In such instances,  judgment and execution is swift and merciless.  It resembles the summary and spontaneous justice of the Brown Shirts rather than the planned  revenge killings of Black September or the Red Brigades. In this way, the New Jihadism becomes a political instrument, a means of imposing compliance through the spread of absolute fear.  The New Jihadists do not need to win an election to accede to power. In this new world, what we consider as traditional political power is superfluous.  What counts is who rules the streets – and those who rule the streets are the ones prepared to enforce their own view of the world in as a draconian manner as possible.

What it means for the media is that those columnists, commentators, cartoonists and satirists who would think of addressing the rise of militant Islam in their writings and editorials must think twice and thrice about it. And they must not only think about their own lives – but also the lives of their families, of their editors and of even their readers.  The effect is to send a shiver of dread down the spine of a democratic society and to shutter free speech behind a wall of fear.

In the wake of the Charlie Hedbo massacre Western leaders remain defiant, but that defiance looks and sounds hollow.  Throughout the West, we have seen how Britain’s libel laws, which have acted as an effective means to squelch free speech, have been exported to the continent and transformed into nonsensical sensitivity laws, which essentially forbid any verbal or written connection between Islam and terrorism.

This only serves to freeze resistance to the Islamic stranglehold enveloping Europe and to create a climate of passivity in the face of the most brutal atrocities.

We have watched too long as European leaders increasingly succumbed to the giddy romance of multiculturalism, certain that their Muslim populations would eventually assimilate into mainstream European civilization.  That they have not and have turned hostile to their host countries, is as much an indictment of failed policies as it is of the weak kneed and facile individuals who lead the continent today.

But beware. If the history of Paris is any guide, the citizens of that city won’t tolerate weak leadership for long.   Parisians have consistently risen in open rebellion when they felt betrayed by their rulers. Today they may not choose to build barricades on the streets of Paris, but aggressive anti-Muslim agitation, where the city’s inhabitants take matters into their own hands so as to defend their way of life, is almost certain to erupt if the country’s leaders do nothing.

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of The Intermediate Zone

This article first appeared in The American Thinker on January 9, 2015


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