The hypersensitivity of Muslims or Arabs to aspersions of their prophet Muhammad is not merely a result of piety. Muslims have exaggerated ideas of their world–historical significance; indeed, they are notorious for their overweening pride. The West indulges this conceit, and not only because of the West’s dependence on the oil resources of the Persian Gulf. Also operative is cultural relativism, which has eroded the West’s confidence as the pinnacle of civilization.
Be this as it may, notice the double standards and duplicity of Muslim clerics who demand Pope Benedict XVI apologize for his unflattering reference to Muhammad: Did these clerics ever apologize for 9/11? With all due respect to the Pontiff, neither an apology nor an invitation to engage in dialogue is in order—as if theological differences can be resolved through discussion. Surely the Pope knows that Islam has ever been at war with the non-Muslim world in general and with Western civilization in particular.
Since America is the only solid bastion of Western civilization, the United States should go on the offensive against its most dangerous enemy, totalitarian Islam.
To begin with, let it be noted that every Islamic regime stands in violation of the United Nations Charter, more precisely, Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which declares, “Everyone has the right to take part in the Government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.”
Accordingly, a movement should be initiated in America to purge the UN of those member states whose governmental system inherently contradicts that democratic article. Freedom House reports that of the 192 states composing the UN General Assembly, 89 are “free” or liberal democracies, while 30 other member states are “partly free.” If these 119 states were to establish a new United Nations, the shockwave would overwhelm Islamdom.
Short of this admittedly far-fetched proposal, Islamic states should be challenged: “Either conform to the democratic principles of the UN Charter or face expulsion.” As an object lesson, Iran should be expelled from the UN in view of its genocidal threat to “wipe Israel off the map.” If the UN had good reasons to expel South Africa, it certainly has good reasons to expel Iran.
If it be granted that Islam is at war with the West, then, instead of engaging in an orgy of analyses of Islam, let us go on the offensive, and the place to begin is in New York, in the United Nations. There is the place to tell Islamic states: “Shape up or ship out!”
Intimidating the West, from Rushdie to Benedict
by Daniel Pipes
The New York Sun
September 26, 2006
The violence by Muslims responding to comments by the pope fit a pattern that has been building and accelerating since 1989. Six times since then, Westerners did or said something that triggered death threats and violence in the Muslim world. Looking at them in the aggregate offers useful insights.
- 1989 – Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses prompted Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a death edict against him and his publishers, on the grounds that the book “is against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran.” Subsequent rioting led to over 20 deaths, mostly in India.
- 1997 – The U.S. Supreme Court refused to remove a 1930s frieze showing Muhammad as lawgiver that decorates the main court chamber; the Council on American-Islamic Relations made an issue of this, leading to riots and injuries in India.
- 2002 – The American evangelical leader Jerry Falwell calls Muhammad a “terrorist,” leading to church burnings and at least 10 deaths in India.
- 2005 – An incorrect story in Newsweek, reporting that American interrogators at Guantánamo Bay, “in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur’an down a toilet,” is picked up by the famous Pakistani cricketer, Imran Khan, and prompts protests around the Muslim world, leading to at least 15 deaths.
- February 2006 – The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten publishes twelve cartoons of Muhammad, spurring a Palestinian Arab imam in Copenhagen, Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Laban, to excite Muslim opinion against the Danish government. He succeeds so well, hundreds die, mostly in Nigeria.
- September 2006 – Pope Benedict XVI quotes a Byzantine emperor’s views that what is new in Islam is “evil and inhuman,” prompting the firebombing of churches and the murder of several Christians.
These six rounds show a near-doubling in frequency: 8 years between the first and second rounds, then 5, then 3, 1, and ½.
The first instance—Ayatollah Khomeini’s edict against Mr. Rushdie—came as a complete shock, for no one had hitherto imagined that a Muslim dictator could tell a British citizen living in London what he could not write about. Seventeen years later, calls for the execution of the pope (including one at the Westminster Cathedral in London) had acquired a too-familiar quality. The outrageous had become routine, almost predictable. As Muslim sensibilities grew more excited, Western ones became more phlegmatic.
Incidents started in Europe (Mr. Rushdie, Danish cartoons, Pope Benedict) have grown much larger than those based in the United States (Supreme Court, Rev. Falwell, Koran flushing), reflecting the greater efficacy of Islamist aggression against Europeans than against Americans.
Islamists ignore subtleties. Mr. Rushdie’s magical realism, the positive intent of the Supreme Court frieze, the falsehood of the Koran-flushing story (ever tried putting a book down the toilet?), the benign nature of the Danish cartoons, or the subtleties of Benedict’s speech – none of these mattered.
What rouses Muslim crowds and what does not is somewhat unpredictable. The Satanic Verses was not nearly as offensive to Muslim sensibilities as a host of other writings, medieval, modern, and contemporary. Other American Evangelists said worse things about Muhammad than Rev. Falwell did; the southern preacher Jerry Vines called the Muslim prophet “a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives,” without violence ensuing. Why did Norwegian preacher Runar Søgaard’s deeming Muhammad “a confused pedophile” remain a local dispute while the Danish cartoons went global?
One answer is that Islamists with an international reach (Ayatollah Khomeini, CAIR, Mr. Khan, Abu Laban) usually play a key role in transforming a general sense of displeasure into an operational fury. If no Islamist agitates, the issue stays relatively quiet.
The extent of the violence is even more unpredictable – one could not anticipate the cartoons causing the most fatalities and the pope’s quote the fewest. And why so much violence in India?
These incidents also spotlight a total lack of reciprocity by Muslims. The Saudi government bans Bibles, crosses, and Stars of David, while Muslims routinely publish disgusting cartoons of Jews.
No conspiracy lies behind these six rounds of inflammation and aggression, but examined in retrospect, they coalesce and form a single, prolonged campaign of intimidation, with surely more to come. The basic message – “You Westerners no longer have the privilege to say what you will about Islam, the Prophet, and the Qur’an, Islamic law rules you too” – will return again and again until Westerners either do submit or Muslims realize their effort has failed.
Sep. 27, 2006 update: Several readers have offered other cases beyond the six catalogued here. They include:
- The murder of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh in November 2004.
- The persecution of Bangladeshi doctor and writer Taslima Nasreen.
But neither of these fits the pattern in that neither included statements or actions by Westerners that sparked unrest and violence in the Muslim world. Only the two individuals themselves were targeted. A third case comes closer to the pattern, but it took place in Nigeria, where the situation differs markedly from in the West.
- Isioma Daniel wrote an article in the ThisDay newspaper in November 2002 about the Miss World beauty contest in which she responded to Muslim criticism of the pageant by asking “What would Mohammed think? In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from one of them.” This led to Muslim-Christian violence that left over 200 dead and thousands homeless. In addition, the newspaper offices were burned down.