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As Long as We Remember...

September 27, 2012

Islam: No Tolerance for Free Speech

Steve Gottlieb

We are once again reminded that Islam, and those who follow it, is intolerant of free speech. The wave of violence, hate and intolerance we are witnessing in response to a 14-minute obscure video should be a wake-up call to freedom loving people around the world.


Whether or not this video is appropriate is not the question. Framing this issue in that light as an excuse for the violence is as wrong as it is dangerous. For those of us in the United States, the question should be: Do we have the right of free speech even if the subject is unpleasant.


Remember, when people say things about Christianity or Judaism, which some may find intolerant, we don’t see thousands of Christians and Jews taking to the streets to kill, maim and destroy. We do see such intolerance quite often in the Muslim world.


This is not the first time we’ve seen this type of violence or intolerance expressed by those who follow Islam. A few examples over the last 30 to 40 years of Islamic intolerance for freedom of speech can start with the case of Salman Rushdie and his book “The Satanic Verses.”


First published in 1988, Mr. Rushdie’s book sparked frequent violent reactions around the world. In 1989 the ruler of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa (a religious decree) ordering Rushdie’s murder. The fatwa was taken seriously and Mr. Rushdie and his family were forced into hiding for many years as attempts were made on his life. In 1998 Iranian president Mohammad Khatami stated his government no longer supported people trying to kill Mr. Rushdie.


On a Monday in September 2005, the Danish newspaper Gayllands-Posten published some cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. Muslim groups in Denmark immediately complained and this controversy soon led to worldwide protests. Demands were made to censor any criticism of Islam or Mohammed. Charges were even filed against the newspaper by a Muslim group hoping to silence free speech. The charges were eventually dismissed by the Danish prosecutors. Eventually some protests led to violence, and there were even multimillion dollar bounties placed on the life of the cartoonist.


Based on what happened the previous year, you would think Danish media would be afraid to stand for freedom of speech. In November 2004 Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was assassinated, ostensibly because he produced a short 10-minute film entitled “SUBMISSION,” which dealt with violence against women in some Islamic societies. Mr. Van Gogh was shot eight times, and then the killer tried to decapitate him.


Time and again we witness Muslim intolerance for one of our basic rights, free speech. It’s bad enough that they stifle the expression of their own people. It is even worse that they try to push their ideas and beliefs on the rest of the world and become violent if we refuse to bow to their will. Don’t think this just takes place overseas. We have incidents of Islamic violent intolerance in the United States as well.


While Muslims live in all areas of the United States, Dearborn, Michigan, is arguably the hub of Islamic life in this country. In June of this year, a group of rather controversial Christian missionaries showed up at what is probably the largest public gathering of Arab Americans in the United States. Now to be fair, the Christian protesters were not there to show support for Islam, or for what the Muslim group was doing. They reportedly were actually pretty direct and hateful in what they said.


However, regardless of what was said, the violent actions perpetrated by the Muslims in response were inexcusable and illegal. This is not the first confrontation in Dearborn between Christians and Muslims. People in the United States being attacked for exercising free speech is a troubling turn of events. Remember, when the Nazis marched in Skokie, Illinois, a number of years ago, nobody saw the Jewish population throwing rocks or stones or becoming violent.


What is really sad about this latest incident is the reaction by our president and secretary of state. Instead of standing up and saying that in our culture free speech is allowed, the protection of free speech is paramount and we will not tolerate anyone trying to infringe on the right of our people to freely express themselves, they appear to be either apologizing for the movie or kowtowing to Muslims around the world in other ways, such as the recent film President Barack Obama did for the people of Pakistan.


Interestingly, when Christianity or Judaism is the target of satire, cartoons, disparaging comments or movies, our administration is not in the least bit upset. Actually, it doesn’t have any comment to make. Its officials don’t really seem to mind religious satire unless it deals with Islam.


According to an email sent out by ACT FOR AMERICA, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the smash Broadway musical “Book of Mormon,” last year; an irreverent spoof on Mormonism.


It is imperative that we take a stand protecting free speech. It is so important that it is the first right protected in the Bill of Rights delineated by the First Amendment. We must demand our leaders do the same!


Our freedoms are under attack by Islam in their quest for a worldwide caliphate. The Quran 9:5; Surat At-Tawbah (The Repentance) as found on states: “And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.”


To ensure we protect ourselves and maintain our freedom we must heed the words of Dr. Moorthy Muthuswamy, author of the book Defeating Political Islam:


"About sixty-one percent of the contents of the Koran are found to speak ill of the unbelievers or call for their violent conquest; at best only 2.6 percent of the verses of the Koran are noted to show goodwill toward humanity. About seventy-five percent of Muhammad's biography (Sira) consists of jihad waged on unbelievers."


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