By Janet Levy
Although the headline of the June 8th article in the Daily Times of Pakistan read “Pakistan to ask EU to amend laws on freedom of expression,” the request from high-level government officials was in reality a threat. The six-person Pakistani delegation was set to deliver a warning that unless blasphemy against Islam stopped, terrorist attacks against European assets could escalate. Their cited example was the suicide bomb attack this June 2 on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan in which eight people died and 27 were injured as a result of possible renewed backlash to the 2005 publication of 12 editorial cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed.
Islamabad informed the European Union countries that the backlash to perceived insults to the “religion of peace” could jeopardize “inter-religious harmony” and result in uncontrollable attacks on other diplomatic missions abroad. A high-level delegation representing the Pakistani government was to travel to Brussels to further warn EU officials of the liabilities of free expression.
This apocryphal grandstanding, in which Islamabad seeks to eradicate free speech and reclassify it as an offensive hate crime, is part and parcel of the insidious Islamic effort to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate under shariah law. Paradoxically, in most of the Muslim world, the right of free speech is nonexistent. Verbal and physical attacks on non-Muslims are rampant, as is death for apostates, terrorism training for youth, hate indoctrination of non-Muslims in mosques and schools and the oppression of Christians, Hindus and Jews. But Muslims feel free to use democratic precepts in the service of their own radical ideology to, ultimately, overthrow liberty, eliminate individual rights and destroy freedoms in Western societies. They seek prohibitions on free expression to strengthen Islam, pave the way toward Islamization and keep the Western public ill informed and unaware of potential threats to the democratic way of life. By couching this effort as merely the elimination of offensive speech, they conceal their true goal of undermining the laws of Western societies, specifically the very foundation of democracy – free speech.
This goal was dramatically illustrated in March of 2008, when the 57 Muslim states that make up the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) struck a blow against free speech by successfully forcing through the United Nation’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) an amendment to a resolution on Freedom of Expression. The amendment, requiring extensive changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, officially characterizes as abuse and an act of religious discrimination any criticism of Islam. It also calls for the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to report any individuals and news media issuing negative comments about Islam.
In June, this limitation on free speech was further underscored when representatives of two non-governmental organizations sought to address stonings, honor killings and female genital mutilation sanctioned under shariah law. As part of the effort to mute criticism of Islam, the Egyptian UNHRC delegate demanded that the speakers be silenced, proclaiming, “Islam will not be crucified in this Council.”
Thus, banned from UNHRC sessions is criticism of shariah laws that oppress women, condemn homosexuals and threaten converts and non-Muslims. Also banned are statements against Islamic law-sanctioned child marriage, honor killings, the hanging of homosexuals and the murder of apostates.
The United Nations is not the only front where Islamic gag orders are in place. Canada’s Human Rights Act, which defines hate speech as any speech “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt,” was used against Ezra Levant, the former publisher of The Western Standard, who was charged by the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission with offending Muslims by reprinting in 2006 the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. Thus, Canada is increasingly regulating opinion and making it a crime to hurt someone’s feelings. The right of free speech is being replaced by the right not to be offended.
Also in Canada, author Mark Steyn and MacLean’s magazine were charged by the Canadian Human Rights Commission of “spreading hatred and contempt” for Muslims by publishing in 2006 an excerpt from Steyn’s book, “America Alone.” The Canadian Islamic Congress filed a complaint with the commission, seeking to ban opinions such as Steyn’s that they deem “Islamophobic.” Steyn was charged with hate speech for using the term “Mohammedan” to describe Muslims and for failing to incorporate differing points of view in his writing. Although charges were dismissed in June this year, if they had been found guilty, financial penalties could have been assessed against MacLean’s, which would dampened opinion journalism throughout Canada. Yet, a Canadian investigator in the Steyn/MacLean’s case, when asked about the importance of free speech in his considerations, remarked, “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.”
In the United Kingdom, two Christian clerics were recently prohibited from preaching and handing out biblical tracts in a “Muslim area.” In an ironic twist, a Muslim police officer charged with upholding British law accused the ministers, technically agents of the Church of England, of perpetuating a hate crime by proselytizing. Thus, an officer charged with maintaining law and order in England prevented the preaching of the doctrine of the established faith of England. Curiously, this event occurred at a time in which the UK is accelerating the hiring of British police officers in Muslim areas in order to “build bridges” with the Islamic community.
Last month, when the Bishop of Rochester warned that Britain was developing “no-go zones” that are the exclusive province of Muslims, he was denounced as Islamophobic. His fellow bishops and government ministers denied the existence of such Muslim-only areas. The Bishop and his family were placed under police protection after receiving death threats at home warning that he would not “live long” if he continued to criticize Islam.
Yet, “no-go” zones do exist and are apparently being preserved by agents of the British state. They are areas where it is dangerous for non-Muslims to enter, as demonstrated in 2006, when former Home Secretary John Reid was heckled by Islamist Abu Izzadeen who cried, “How dare you come to a Muslim area.”
In January, 2007, the UK government again ignored its illustrious heritage of freedom of expression and undertook an investigation of a television broadcast of the documentary, “Undercover Mosque.” The program contained footage of radical imams in British mosques spewing hatred of Christians and Jews, advocating the subjugation and beating of women and praising Osama Bin Laden. Other footage included a Taliban who had killed a British soldier and Muslim clerics advocating Islamic supremacy, suggesting that homosexuals should be killed, calling for jihad and justifying the July 7th London bombings.
Instead of scrutinizing the mosques and calling for an end to such hateful and inflammatory rhetoric, British authorities, bowing to pressure from terrorist-sympathizing groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, the Muslim Council of Britain and others, denounced the program as “Islamophobic.” Local police solicited the services of the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS), which launched an extensive investigation of the network, scrutinizing 56 hours of media footage for possible prosecution under the Public Order Act of 1986: showing inflammatory material likely to stir racial hatred.
Eventually, the investigation concluded that, although the CPS believed that the editing process had “completely distorted” the sermons of the Muslim clerics, the police were advised to drop their criminal investigation due to insufficient evidence to substantiate charges of incitement.
Essentially, “Undercover Mosque” was an important story to potentially alert the British public to the threat of a fundamentalist ideology endemic throughout the British Islamic community. Unfortunately, it was discredited by the police who, in a misguided attempt to prevent Muslim backlash in the community, were placed in the untenable position of supporting radical Islamists and opposing British free speech.
Thus, as Islamic calls to prayer ring loudly throughout England from an ever-increasing number of imposing mosques, Christianity, individual freedom and the British identity are being marginalized while Islam is permitted free rein to fill the void.
Within the United States, important dialogue about the threat of radical Islam was silenced by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department which issued a memo in May instructing bureaucrats on how to talk about the “war on terror.” The memo called for restrictions on terrorist-defining nomenclature in accordance with recommendations from American Muslims. Thus, definitive and descriptive words such as “jihad,” mujahadeen,” “Islamic terrorist,” “Islamist,” or “holy warrior” were to be avoided, even though Muslims and Muslim media worldwide use this very terminology.
The government memo also advised that the war on terror be renamed a “global struggle for security and progress.” This change, undertaken to avoid glamorizing the appeal of Islamist ideology and reduce terrorist recruitment, came about after the Secretary of Homeland Security solicited assistance from American Muslims. These newly proposed “speech codes” were advanced with the intent of eliminating the appeal of the virulent ideology of Islamism. Thus, the State Department and the DHS advanced the idea that terminology used by the government could fan the flames of radicalism, yet totally ignored the impact of violent rhetoric common in mosques across the country and on the Internet. Instead, the government focused on curtailing the speech of public servants charged with preserving our national security and accommodated the demands of Muslims. Lost was the opportunity for effective communication to inform and alert the American public of the Islamist threat.
Another instance of DHS curtailment and accommodation of Muslims, occurred when Muhammad Rana, a Pakistani Muslim and new DHS hire was being trained as an adjudication officer at the agency’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Rana participated in a seven week training course in which he claimed to have faced discrimination based on his religion and national origin. In a March 2005 complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Rana said the instructional content of his classes contained “disparaging and factually inaccurate information about the Islamic faith and the Arabic people.” His in-class protests apparently prompted an instructor to recommend that Rana be investigated for possible terrorist ties. An administrative law judge ruling found that Rana had been subject to a hostile work environment and ordered $50,000 in compensatory damages, $6,195 in missed overtime, reimbursement for medical and prescription medication costs incurred as a result of the hostile work environment and, most significantly, the removal and destruction of and DHS memoranda regarding Rana’s potential ties to terrorist organizations. Ultimately, the course in question was discontinued by the DHS.
In these ways, our constitutional right to freedom of expression is being eroded and our democratic principles are being used against us to silence our concerns. With increasing frequency, free speech is being regulated, banned or categorized as a hate crime through intimidation tactics and apocryphal human rights concerns. We have come to the point where publishers have volunteered to pulp or alter the text of books to avoid lawsuits. Major newspapers freely chose not to publish the controversial Mohammed cartoons. Some organizations that have weathered costly slander lawsuits designed to silence them, have become cautious about weathering other suits that could cost them their insurance coverage.
None of this is coincidental. It is explained in “The Project,” a strategic planning document of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) written in 1982 but captured in a raid in Switzerland in 2001. It describes a long-term plan to take over the West, a roadmap to defeating the West through propaganda, infiltration and jihad using intimidation, subterfuge and influence operations. The MB master plan calls for Muslims to take advantage of constitutional freedoms and societal openness and seek employment in every sector of American society, including sensitive civil institutions, law enforcement, politics, the media and others. In addition to individual Muslims, many seemingly mainstream and “respected” U.S. Muslim organizations, some active in America since the 1960’s, are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and are actively involved in carrying out its mission of “destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house so that Allah’s religion is victorious over all other religions.”
Thus, the very nature of our republic is being challenged by a redefinition of our First Amendment to appease the demands of Islamists seeking to destroy us. Sadly, as we accommodate the Islamists, we are capitulating to their violent ideology and discriminatory religious practices and losing our precious rights and freedoms. In this way, we become partners in our own demise and hasten the downfall of the free societies we profess to cherish in the West.
Janet Levy is the founder of ESG Consulting, an organization that offers project management, fundraising, promotion, event organizing and planning services for conservative political causes and issues related to terrorism and national security.