“There are millions of peaceful Muslims, but Islam is not a religion of peace.”
-Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Is Islam a religion of peace? Is it compatible with Western liberalism? Or does Islam need a reformation, just as Christianity had the Protestant Reformation? Somali-born author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali explains.
By suppressing debate about Islam, nationalism and terror, the left set the stage for today’s backlash, says Sohrab Ahmari in The Wall Street Journal.
Sohrab Ahmari writes: Donald Trump’s double-layer fence along America’s southern border, and his plan to suspend all immigration from terror-producing countries, are dramatic and consequential pieces of public policy. But they’re also palliative symbols. The message they send to the president’s supporters is: “Your days of anxiety are behind you. We will be a coherent nation once more.”
Politicians across the West are beginning to tell their voters the same thing in what is shaping up to be the widest rollback of the freedom of movement in decades.
It’s not just right-wing nationalists like Marine Le Pen in France or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. Centrists get it, too. Some, like Angela Merkel, are still-reluctant restrictionists. Others, like Theresa May, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and French presidential aspirant François Fillon, are more forthright. All have wised up to the popular demand for drastically lower immigration rates.
The paradox here is that freedom of movement is unraveling now because liberals won central debates—about Islamism, social cohesion and nationalism. Rather than give ground on any of these fronts, they accused opponents of being phobic and reactionary. Now liberals are reaping the rewards of those underhanded victories.
Liberals “won” the debate about the link between Islamist ideology and terrorism.
For eight years under President Obama, the U.S. government eschewed even the term “Islamism.” The preferred nomenclature created the ludicrous effect that U.S. service members were sent to war against people passionate about “violent extremism.” But voters could read and hear about jihadists offering up their actions to Allah before opening automatic fire on shoppers and blasphemous cartoonists. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] ‘Can We Take a Joke?’ Official Trailer HD, Featuring Adam Carolla, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, Penn JillettePosted: June 7, 2016
In the age of social media, nearly every day brings a new eruption of outrage. While people have always found something to be offended by, their ability to organize a groundswell of opposition to—and public censure of—their offender has never been more powerful. Today we’re all one clumsy joke away from public ruin. Can We Take A Joke? offers a thought-provoking and wry exploration of outrage culture through the lens of stand-up comedy, with notables like Gilbert Gottfried, Penn Jillette, Lisa Lampanelli, and Adam Carolla detailing its stifling impact on comedy and the exchange of ideas. What will future will be like if we can’t learn how to take a joke?
Kyle Smith writes: What’s the deal with young people today? “They just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist,’ ‘That’s sexist,’ ‘That’s prejudice,’” Jerry Seinfeld told ESPN’s Colin Cowherd this week. “They don’t know what the f—k they’re talking about.”
“I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative.”
— Chris Rock
Comics are afraid to work on college campuses, Seinfeld said. To give an idea of how young people think, he cited a bizarre response his 14-year-old daughter made when his wife noted that the girl might want to go to New York City from the suburbs more often “So you can see boys.” The girl replied that the remark was “sexist,” her father said.
“There is a word…That word is illiberal; there is nothing ‘conservative’ about it.”
— Kyle Smith
The determination of the identity-politics obsessed to shut down speech on campus inspired a couple of hilarious one-liners in the past year. One was from The Onion: “College Encourages Lively Exchange of Idea: Students, Faculty Invited to Freely Express Single Viewpoint.” The other, though unintentionally funny, was equally amusing, and came from Chris Rock: “I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative.”
There is a word for the move to ban a screening of 2014’s most popular movie, American Sniper (and replace it with Paddington), to hound a major university into rescinding its honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to punish someone with a Title IX investigation for the crime of questioning the wisdom of certain Title IX investigations, and designating a “safe space” to which to flee after failing to prevent a speech by Christina Hoff Sommers from taking place. Read the rest of this entry »
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Daniel Greenfield writes: What is Islam? The obvious dictionary definition answer is that it’s a religion, but legally speaking it actually enjoys all of the advantages of race, religion and culture with none of the disadvantages.
“Islamist organizations have figured out how lock in every advantage of race, religion and culture, while expeditiously shifting from one to the other to avoid any of the disadvantages.”
Islam is a religion when mandating that employers accommodate the hijab, but when it comes time to bring it into the schools, places that are legally hostile to religion, American students are taught about Islam, visit mosques and even wear burkas and recite Islamic prayers to learn about another culture. Criticism of Islam is denounced as racist even though the one thing that Islam clearly isn’t is a race.
Islamist organizations have figured out how lock in every advantage of race, religion and culture, while expeditiously shifting from one to the other to avoid any of the disadvantages.
“Islam is a theocracy. When it leaves the territories conquered by Islam, it seeks to replicate that theocracy through violence and by adapting the legal codes of the host society to suit its purposes.”
The biggest form of Muslim privilege has been to racialize Islam. The racialization of Islam has locked in all the advantages of racial status for a group that has no common race, only a common ideology.
Islam is the only religion that cannot be criticized. No other religion has a term in wide use that treats criticism of it as bigotry. Islamophobia is a unique term because it equates dislike of a religion with racism. Its usage makes it impossible to criticize that religion without being accused of bigotry.
By equating religion with race, Islam is treated not as a particular set of beliefs expressed in behaviors both good and bad, but as an innate trait that like race cannot be criticized without attacking the existence of an entire people. The idea that Islamic violence stems from its beliefs is denounced as racist.
“By equating religion with race, Islam is treated not as a particular set of beliefs expressed in behaviors both good and bad, but as an innate trait that like race cannot be criticized without attacking the existence of an entire people. The idea that Islamic violence stems from its beliefs is denounced as racist.”
Muslims are treated as a racial collective rather than a group that shares a set of views about the world.
That has made it impossible for the left to deal with ex-Muslims like Ayaan Hirsi Ali or non-Muslims from Muslim families like Salman Rushdie. If Islam is more like skin color than an ideology, then ex-Muslims, like ex-Blacks, cannot and should not exist. Under such conditions, atheism is not a debate, but a hate crime. Challenging Islam does not question a creed; it attacks the existence of an entire people.
Muslim atheists, unlike all other atheists, are treated as race traitors both by Muslims and leftists. The left has accepted the Brotherhood’s premise that the only authentic Middle Easterner is a Muslim (not a Christian or a Jew) and that the only authentic Muslim is a Salafist (even if they don’t know the word).
The racialization of Islam has turned blasphemy prosecutions into an act of tolerance while making a cartoon of a religious figure racist even when it is drawn by ex-Muslims like Bosch Fawstin. The New York Times will run photos of Chris Ofili’s “The Holy Virgin Mary” covered in dung and pornography, but refuses to run Mohammed cartoons because it deems one anti-religious and the other racist. Read the rest of this entry »
To defeat the extremists for good, Muslims must reject those aspects of their tradition that prompt some believers to resort to oppression and holy war
Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes: “Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.” Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims. In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide.
The lion’s share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.
“Let me make two things clear. I do not seek to inspire another war on terror or extremism—violence in the name of Islam cannot be ended by military means alone. Nor am I any sort of ‘Islamophobe.’ At various times, I myself have been all three kinds of Muslim: a fundamentalist, a cocooned believer and a dissident. My journey has gone from Mecca to Medina to Manhattan.”
Not all of this violence is explicitly motivated by religion, but a great deal of it is. I believe that it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace.
“For me, there seemed no way to reconcile my faith with the freedoms I came to the West to embrace. I left the faith, despite the threat of the death penalty prescribed by Shariah for apostates. Future generations of Muslims deserve better, safer options. Muslims should be able to welcome modernity, not be forced to wall themselves off, or live in a state of cognitive dissonance, or lash out in violent rejection.”
When I assert this, I do not mean that Islamic belief makes all Muslims violent. This is manifestly not the case: There are many millions of peaceful Muslims in the world. What I do say is that the call to violence and the justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam. Moreover, this theologically sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offenses, including but not limited to apostasy, adultery, blasphemy and even something as vague as threats to family honor or to the honor of Islam itself.
It is not just al Qaeda and Islamic State that show the violent face of Islamic faith and practice. It is Pakistan, where any statement critical of the Prophet or Islam is labeled as blasphemy and punishable by death. It is Saudi Arabia, where churches and synagogues are outlawed and where beheadings are a legitimate form of punishment. It is Iran, where stoning is an acceptable punishment and homosexuals are hanged for their “crime.”
“But it is not only Muslims who would benefit from a reformation of Islam. We in the West have an enormous stake in how the struggle over Islam plays out.”
As I see it, the fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts.
It simply will not do for Muslims to claim that their religion has been “hijacked” by extremists. The killers of Islamic State and Nigeria’s Boko Haram cite the same religious texts that every other Muslim in the world considers sacrosanct.
Instead of letting Islam off the hook with bland clichés about the religion of peace, we in the West need to challenge and debate the very substance of Islamic thought and practice. We need to hold Islam accountable for the acts of its most violent adherents and to demand that it reform or disavow the key beliefs that are used to justify those acts.
As it turns out, the West has some experience with this sort of reformist project. Read the rest of this entry »
Nina Shea writes: What lesson will Europe draw from the Charlie Hebdo massacre? Will it get serious about ending Muslim extremism within its borders, or will it try even harder to curb offensive political cartoons and speech about Islam? Up to this point, Europe has responded to Islamist violence in retaliation against ridicule, and even against sober critique of Islam, by taking the latter course.
In 2008, the EU mandated religious hate-speech laws, with European officials indignantly declaring that there is “no right to religious insult.” More revealingly, one official European commission delicately explained that this measure was taken to “preserve social peace and public order” in light of the “increasing sensitivities” of “certain individuals” who “have reacted violently to criticism of their religion.”
“Today, the Charlie Hebdo staff is being mourned as ‘courageous chroniclers’ by President Hollande. But yesterday, it was the French state, not extremists, who sought to ‘avenge the prophet,’ through hate-speech charges against the magazine and its editor for other irreverent Mohammad cartoons.”
Europe was frightened and wanted to cool down its angry Muslim populations and appease the censorship lobby that claims to represent them in the 56-member-state Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Since 2004, it had seen the assassination of Theo van Gogh in an Amsterdam street for his and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s film on abuses against Muslim women; worldwide Muslim riots and economic boycotts over an obscure Danish newspaper’s caricatures of the Islamic prophet Mohammed; and yet more rioting and murders after Pope Benedict presented a paper to an academic audience at Regensburg University that questioned Islam’s position on reason. Read the rest of this entry »
Heavily armed gunmen on Wednesday infiltrated the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper in Paris, murdering at least 12 people, including its editor, before fleeing. The deadliest terror attack on French soil in more than a decade is a fresh reminder that the war on Islamist terror is far from won, and that jihadists are bent on eradicating the heritage of Western freedom.
Charlie Hebdo was founded in 1970, and the left-wing weekly has always been an equal-opportunity offender. Its politics and taste aren’t ours, but from Jesus to Michael Jackson and from 9/11 to the Pope, nothing has been off-limits.
“Wednesday’s attack also demonstrates again that violent Islam isn’t a reaction to poverty or Western policies in the Middle East. It is an ideological challenge to Western civilization and principles, including a free press and religious pluralism.”
That mocking spirit extended to Islam, and the paper drew the ire of Muslim fanatics for poking fun at the Prophet Muhammad. The newspaper in 2006 reprinted the Muhammad cartoons first published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. In response, the grand mosque of Paris and other French Muslim organizations unsuccessfully sued Charlie Hebdo for “racism.”
“The murder of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists is merely the latest evil expression of a modern arc of Islamist violence against Western free speech that stretches back to Ayatollah Khomeini ’s 1989 fatwa calling for the killing of novelist Salman Rushdie.”
In 2011 terrorists firebombed Charlie’s offices after the announcement of a “Shariah Hebdo.” (See the cover nearby: “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing.”) A subsequent cover depicted a cartoonist passionately kissing a Muslim man with the headline: “Love Is Stronger Than Hate.” Charlie Hebdo moved to a new office, but police protection failed to stop the terrorists who on Wednesday were heard shouting “we have avenged the prophet!”
From NR, The Editors: When, this spring, Brandeis University reneged on its commencement invitation to human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it revealed the cravenness that characterizes many of America’s leading institutions of higher education. The decision of Yale’s William F. Buckley Jr. Program to invite Hirsi Ali to New Haven as part of its speaker series has exposed the same quality in many of that school’s students.
“Even the most enthusiastic Ivy League shill should know that spending $55K a year to have one’s presuppositions obsequiously endorsed is a waste.”
In an open letter sent to Buckley Program student leaders, members of 35 campus groups say they feel “highly disrespected” by the September 15 lecture “Clash of Civilizations: Islam and the West.” The letter, drafted by the Muslim Students Association, lays out their complaints.
“But in our age of studious political correctness, where the inmates write the asylum’s curriculum, these students are happy to insulate themselves against any opinions from beyond the Old Campus Quad.”
They are concerned that “Ms. Hirsi Ali is being invited to speak as an authority on Islam despite the fact that she does not hold the credentials to do so.” They accuse Hirsi Ali of “hate speech” and express outrage that she should “have such a platform in our home.” “We cannot overlook,” they write, “how marginalizing her presence will be to the Muslim community and how uncomfortable it will be for the community’s allies.”
Their remedy, of course, is censorship. Read the rest of this entry »
Each week seems to bring another incident. Who will the thought police come for next?
How ironic that the persecutors this time around are the so-called intellectuals. They claim to be liberal while behaving as anything but. The touchstone of liberalism is tolerance of differing ideas. Yet this mob exists to enforce conformity of thought and to delegitimize any dissent from its sanctioned worldview. Intolerance is its calling card.
Each week seems to bring another incident. Last week it was David and Jason Benham, whose pending HGTV show was canceled after the mob unearthed old remarks the brothers made about their Christian beliefs on homosexuality. People can’t have a house-flipping show unless they believe and say the “right” things in their life off the set? In this world, the conservative Tom Selleck never would have been Magnum, P.I.
This week, a trail-blazing woman was felled in the new tradition of commencement shaming. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagardewithdrew from delivering the commencement speech at Smith College following protests from students and faculty who hate the IMF. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, this trend is growing. In the 21 years leading up to 2009, there were 21 incidents of an invited guest not speaking because of protests. Yet, in the past five-and-a-half years, there have been 39 cancellations.
I.M.F. Chief Christine Lagarde Not Approved by Smith College’s Left-Wing Thought Enforcers, Withdraws as Commencement SpeakerPosted: May 13, 2014
For THE NEW YORK TIMES, RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA reports: A week before she was to speak at the Smith College commencement, Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund, has withdrawn from the event, citing protests against her and the fund, the college said Monday.
Her withdrawal comes after Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state,withdrew from speaking at the Rutgers University commencement in the face of protests against her role in Bush administration foreign policy, and weeks after Brandeis University rescinded its invitation to the rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement, after protests over her anti-Islam statements.
Such reversals have become more common in recent years, said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, referring to this time of year as “disinvitation season.” What has changed is not so much the protests themselves, but the willingness of colleges and speakers to give in, adding that many apparently voluntary withdrawals are made at the college’s urging. Read the rest of this entry »
For the Wall Street Journal, Ruth Wisse writes: There was a time when people looking for intellectual debate turned away from politics to the university. Political backrooms bred slogans and bagmen; universities fostered educated discussion. But when students in the 1960s began occupying university property like the thugs of regimes America was fighting abroad, the venues gradually reversed. Open debate is now protected only in the polity: In universities, muggers prevail.
Assaults on intellectual and political freedom have been making headlines. Pressure from faculty egged on by Muslim groups induced Brandeis University last month not to grant Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the proponent of women’s rights under Islam, an intended honorary degree at its convocation.
Ruth Wisse‘s book: “No Joke: Making Jewish Humor” (Library of Jewish Ideas) is available at Amazon.com
This was a replay of 1994, when Brandeis faculty demanded that trustees rescind their decision to award an honorary degree to Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In each case, a faculty cabal joined by (let us charitably say) ignorant students promoted the value of repression over the values of America’s liberal democracy.
Opponents of free speech have lately chalked up many such victories: New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly prevented from speaking at Brown University in November; a lecture by Charles Murray canceled by Azusa Pacific University in April; Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state and national-security adviser under the George W. Bush administration, harassed earlier this month into declining the invitation by Rutgers University to address this year’s convocation. Read the rest of this entry »
“Once you get a taste for shutting people up, it’s hard to stop. Why bother winning the debate when it’s easier to close it down?”
The delightfully dyspeptic Mark Steyn writes: These days, pretty much every story is really the same story:
- In Galway, at the National University of Ireland, a speaker who attempts to argue against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) programme against Israel is shouted down with cries of ‘Fucking Zionist, fucking pricks… Get the fuck off our campus.’
- In California, Mozilla’s chief executive is forced to resign because he once made a political donation in support of the pre-revisionist definition of marriage.
- At Westminster, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee declares that the BBC should seek ‘special clearance’ before it interviews climate sceptics, such as fringe wacko extremists like former Chancellor Nigel Lawson.
- In Massachusetts, Brandeis University withdraws its offer of an honorary degree to a black feminist atheist human rights campaigner from Somalia.
- In London, a multitude of liberal journalists and artists responsible for everything from Monty Python to Downton Abbey sign an open letter in favour of the first state restraints on the British press in three and a quarter centuries.
- And in Canberra the government is planning to repeal Section 18C — whoa, don’t worry, not all of it, just three or four adjectives; or maybe only two, or whatever it’s down to by now, after what Gay Alcorn in the Age described as the ongoing debate about ‘where to strike the balance between free speech in a democracy and protection against racial abuse in a multicultural society’.
I heard a lot of that kind of talk during my battles with the Canadian ‘human rights’ commissions a few years ago: of course, we all believe in free speech, but it’s a question of how you ‘strike the balance’, where you ‘draw the line’… which all sounds terribly reasonable and Canadian, and apparently Australian, too. But in reality the point of free speech is for the stuff that’s over the line, and strikingly unbalanced. If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all. So screw that.
Brandeis sides with a spawn of Hamas over a champion of women’s rights.
Author’s Note: This week, capitulating to Islamic-supremacist agitation led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Brandeis University reneged on its announced plan to present an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the heroic human-rights activist. In my 2010 book, The Grand Jihad, I devoted a chapter to the origins and purposes of CAIR, its roots in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Hamas-support network, and its aim to silence critics of Islamic supremacism. In light of the continuing success of this campaign — despite a federal terrorism-financing prosecution that exposed CAIR’s unsavory background — it is worth revisiting that history. What follows is an adapted excerpt from that chapter.
Andrew C. McCarthy writes: In January 1993, a new, left-leaning U.S. administration, inclined to be more sympathetic to the Islamist clause, came to power. But before he could bat an eye, President Bill Clinton was confronted by the murder and depraved mutilation of American soldiers in Somalia. A few weeks later, on February 26, jihadists bombed the World Trade Center. The public was angry and appeasing Islamists would have to wait.
Yasser Arafat, however, sensed opportunity. The terrorist intifada launched at the end of 1987 had been a successful gambit for the Palestine Liberation Organization chief. Within a year, even as the body count mounted, the weak-kneed “international community” was granting the PLO the right to participate (though not to vote) in U.N. General Assembly sessions. And when Arafat made the usual show of “renouncing” terrorism — even as he was orchestrating terrorist attacks in conjunction with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Islamist factions — the United States recognized him as the Palestinians’ legitimate leader, just as the Europeans had done. Arafat blundered in 1991, throwing in his lot with Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War, and that seemed to bury him with the Bush 41 administration. But Clinton’s election was a new lease on life. Read the rest of this entry »
Ayaan Hirsi Ali joined Megyn Kelly Wednesday night to react to Brandeis University rescinding the honorary degree they said they were giving her. Hirsi ALi blasted the “very feeble excuse” Brandeis gave and the way any critic of Islam is threatened with “violent repercussion” just for speaking out.
Hirsi Ali said, “For the last 12 years I have systematically been condemned by Muslim individuals… any time that I bring up the treatment of women in Islam.” She said that the people who protested the Brandeis honor cherry-picked from various interviews she’s done over the years “to fit their own narrative.” She also found it striking that Brandeis didn’t think to Google her ahead of time to learn what she’s actually said and only rescinded the honorary degree after the uproar.
Hirsi Ali pointed out that in the United States, if you insult Jews, Christians, Mormons, or what have you, the worst you get are angry letters. But, she continued, there is a “fear” of “violent repercussion” if you dare criticize Islam in any way.