SAN DIEGO, September 20, 2012 — “Islam is a religion of peace.” We’ve heard that repeatedly since 9/11. This past turbulent week, the point has been driven home again: “Islam is a religion of peace.” How do we know that? Because Muslims keep telling us it is. “Moderate” Muslims visit TV and radio talk shows during violent uprisings to set the record straight.
Non-Muslims also defend Islam. Obama has given his fair share of lectures. So did George Bush. So do political pundits and college professors.
World news doesn’t help sell the case. There are many peaceful Muslims, but their “stabilizing influence” is eclipsed by coreligionists who scale embassy walls, burn American flags, riot, murder, and engage in other acts of violence that have erupted like Vesuvius across the Islamic world. Last week, the lava flowed through Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Islamic countries.
While many (including Libyan Interim President Al-Magariaf ) believe these acts were planned, coordinated attacks deliberately set for the anniversary of 9/11, the Obama Administration initially insisted that the riots were spontaneous, sparked by Sam Bacile’s crude portrayal of the Prophet Mohammad in a 14-minute YouTube trailer for his film, Innocence of Muslims.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called it “a film we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting” (Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2012).
Was this video the real cause of the explosion, or just an excuse to justify an uprising that was going to happen anyway? Two completely different groups are trying to benefit from the video theory. They make strange bedfellows. Radical Islamist terrorist groups are always salivating at a new excuse to spread their cause. Obama’s spokespeople seem eager to produce a theory which distracts us from an obvious question: If these demonstrations were coordinated in advance, how did the Administration not see it coming, especially during a countdown to the eleventh anniversary of 9/11?
On Tuesday, the White House walked its position back a little claiming, “The FBI is investigating, and that investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead.”
Undoubtedly, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Riots and vandalism would have happened anyway, but the convenience of a hot-button video helped fan the flame.
Innocence of Muslims appears to be a horrible movie. The trailer looks like it was made on a budget of $12.00. The humor is stupid and awkward. The sexual scenes are disgusting. As if this “work of art” weren’t bad enough, new information is trickling in about the director’s shady background. His actors insist they did not understand the true purpose of the film and that the word “Mohammad” was actually dubbed in later.
While scandal surrounds the making of the film which is in extreme bad taste, we should not miss the real point: Had this story been written by Shakespeare and directed by Frank Capra, had it portrayed Mohammad as brilliant, compassionate and good, we still would have had these riots. Why? Partly because Muslim terrorists and nationals look for excuses to hate Americans, no matter what we do, partly because the Koran itself gives commands to wage war against the infidel (Surah 9), and finally because militant Muslims won’t tolerate any depiction of Mohammad, a lesson delivered a few years ago with another series of riots protesting Danish cartoon drawings of their Prophet.
In a case of déjà vu all over again, France is beefing up its security this week in the wake of new Muslim protests over cartoon drawings of Mohammad in a Parisian magazine. French caution is understandable. In 2004, the film Submission explored mistreatment of women in Muslim countries. Director Theo van Gogh (a much more serious director than Bacile) was later stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street in broad daylight. The lesson was clear: Dare to describe Islam as a religion that mistreats people, and you will be mistreated. From films to cartoons to Khartoum, the shout is the same: “How dare you disrespect our Prophet?”
While uncertainty remains about the true purpose of Bacile’s movie, or the real agenda of rioters who claim to be reacting to the video, glowing testimonials for Islam are arriving on schedule.
American Muslim Harris Zafar, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, was asked by Fox News about the assault on American embassies. He denounced the violence, but also spent significant time saying that, “although they’re legally allowed to produce such media,” there needs to be an “evaluation testing the limits of free speech.” He added, “Free speech should not be considered unfettered… Even here, there are defamation laws and Hate Speech laws” (Fox and Friends, September 16, 2012).
Translation: The film is legal but it shouldn’t be and maybe it won’t be if we look at defamation and hate speech laws.
Actually, we do not yet have hate speech laws in America, although they are only a stone’s throw from hate crime laws, which we do have. Zafar’s “moderate” view loses a little credibility, sounding more like Sharia and less like our First Amendment. If speech were never going to offend, we’d have no need to protect it. Bacile’s film is terrible and we should use our freedom of speech to say so, but in the name of open expression, it’s also time to take a stand and refuse to be intimidated by a religious community which orders us never to criticize them. Those who choose not to be Muslim are not obligated to respect every feature of its teaching. It’s not as if Muslims don’t criticize Christians and Jews. Their own sacred scriptures criticize both.
“Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. They are friends with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship will become one of their numbers. God does not guide the wrong doers … The most implacable of men are the Jews and the pagans” (Surah 5: 51, 82, N.J. Dawood translation).
Mohammed, while not the buffoon of this airhead movie, was not a man of peace, either. He waged war and he commanded Jihad. How do you think he conquered Mecca? By holding a quilting bee?
“Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you” (Surah 9:123).
“Mohammed is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to unbelievers but merciful to one another” (Surah 48:29).
If a director wants to claim Mohammad was the half brother of Peter Pan who set out to marry Tinker Bell, his rights must still be protected by all Americans who care about freedom of speech. Embrace it while you can: The Organization of the Islamic Conference will outlaw derogatory talk about Islam if they ever get enough muscle from the U.N.
For over a decade, the OIC has systematically worked to criminalize the “defamation of Islam” and to protect Islam from “blasphemy.” In yearly UN resolutions on “combating defamation of religions,” the OIC complains, “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.”
Professor Ekmeledin Ihsanoglu, head of the OIC, says the issue of Islamophobia has been placed “at the top of our priorities and preoccupations, while conducting a large-scale worldwide effort to confront it” (American Thinker, January 30, 2012).
The UN seems unconcerned that Muslims themselves criticize other religions. Muslims speak often about having the “one true religion with the one true God (Allah) and His Prophet.”
While a distinction should be drawn between theological disagreements and downright hate, the painful irony is that many Muslims treat other religions exactly as the U.N. claims they are treated. Examples can even be found in America. In 2009, Muslims were demonstrating against Israel in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. When some Jewish demonstrators came on the scene, one Muslim woman was caught on film shouting, “Go back to the oven!” Everybody understood this reference to the gassings and praetorians of the Nazi Holocaust.
The U.N. singles out Islam as a religion in need of extra international protection. President Obama may not wait for laws to change, international or otherwise. He may prefer to act now, matching action with passionate speeches that condemn the movie more than the uprisings.
Perhaps that’s Obama’s last card to play. God forbid we should think that his 2009 apology to the Muslim world was viewed there as a sign of weakness, or that his shabby security on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 had anything to do with endangering American embassies.
YouTube denied the request. At least somebody remembers that we still live in America, even when Politically Correct big brothers bully those who offend “the religion of peace.”
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net
Many comments to posts are discussed by Bob over the air where anyone is free to call in and respond/debate. Call in toll free number: 1-888-344-1170. Read more Forbidden Table Talk in The Washington Times Communities.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.