MoonDawg's Den: "Everyone Is Afraid to Criticize Islam"

MoonDawg's Den

Monday, February 06, 2006

"Everyone Is Afraid to Criticize Islam"

People are now dying in what Austin Bay has dubbed the Cartoon War, with Muslim protests, some involving violent attacks against Western diplomatic missions, taking place in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, Indonesia, Egypt, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Morocco, England, France, and Turkey.

A more peaceful gathering of Muslims and non-Muslims took place in Denmark, which of course is where the first shots of this "war" were fired. Those attending called for "dialogue". I'm not sure just how useful it is to engage in a "dialogue" with people who threaten to kill you if you dare to offend them.

Someone who has firsthand experience with such people was interviewed about the Cartoon War in the German magazine Der Spiegel. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Dutch politician who had to go into hiding because of death threats received after she wrote a book critical of how women are treated under Islam. In 2004 she teamed with Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh to make a movie called "Submission", which covered the theme of her book. Van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim radical for daring to make the film, with a note pinned to his chest by the killer addressed to Hirsi Ali. She believes the Cartoon War will result in the same type of self-censorship that has afflicted Holland since that killing:

We could see the same thing happening that has happened in the Netherlands, where writers, journalists and artists have felt intimidated ever since the van Gogh murder. Everyone is afraid to criticize Islam. Significantly, "Submission" still isn't being shown in theaters.
The calls for "dialogue" and the feckless reaction by the U.S. government to this mob assault on press freedoms are surely more of what Hirsi Ali describes as the "tradition" of the West "turning first one cheek, then the other". She says that such a response will only incite and empower Muslim radicals:

Not a day passes, in Europe and elsewhere, when radical imams aren't preaching hatred in their mosques. They call Jews and Christians inferior, and we say they're just exercising their freedom of speech. When will the Europeans realize that the Islamists don't allow their critics the same right? After the West prostrates itself, they'll be more than happy to say that Allah has made the infidels spineless.
Given the "spineless" response of the U.S. and some European governments so far, it unfortunately seems that Hirsi Ali's prediction will be proven correct.

UPDATE: Add Belgium and New Zealand to the list of countries at the beginning of this post.


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