Dutch politician Geert Wilders has become the latest missile in a global war between two civilisations. Without wishing to seem pedantic and pointing out the obvious this is of course the conflict between Western Civil Society and traditional Islam.
Wilders, now in hiding and under continual armed guard due to death threats, recently released a short film entitled ‘Fitna’ (‘strife’ in Arabic) over the Internet. Juxtaposing images of Muslim violence with quotes from the Koran, fury followed in its wake and the film declared grossly offensive.
Now the odd thing here, given that Muslims live in a permanent state of ‘deeply offended’ anyway, is that they often refer to these same passages as perfectly acceptable validations for their actions, so simply illustrating this correlation in a film would seem uncontroversial. Contentious or not, however, one would definitely envisage politicians and journalists in every free society defending Wilders right to make such a film. Well not here… you’d have to take a trip to another planet where its inhabitants did not happily renounce their most fundamental freedoms in the name of ‘religious sensitivity’.
Take a look at the world’s response to Fitna. The Dutch government sought to ban it outright, and EU ministers publicly condemned it, as did UN Secretary-General Ban (no pun intended) Ki-moon. Dutch television refused to broadcast it and when Wilders declared his intention of airing it over the Internet his American web-host Network Solutions closed down his website.
All this happened before the proposal to show the film at a private viewing in the House of Lords and when Wilders attempted to enter Britain to host Fitna and answer any questions about it he was promptly arrested at the airport and detained there until the next convenient plane arrived to take him home.
Predictably (yawn) there were instantaneous calls for an embargo of Dutch products throughout the Muslim world, and several Muslim countries blocked ‘You Tube’ in the endeavour to save their populations from the indignation of Wilders’ blasphemy penetrating their minds. Next followed isolated protests, attacks on embassies and ubiquitous demands for Wilders’ murder, although it must be said that nothing has yet occurred to rival the ferocious response to the Danish cartoons.
In the interim, incidentally, one of the Danish cartoonists threatened to sue Wilders for breach of copyright because he’d used the bomb-laden image of Mohammed in Fitna without permission. This said cartoonist has also been living in hiding since the publication of the cartoons in 2006. Ironically there does seem something rather amusing about one hunted man unable to venture out in public for fear of being killed by religious lunatics, threatening to sue another man in the same sticky situation over a copyright violation!
Wilders and indeed the Danish cartoonists have all been extensively vilified for ‘seeking to inflame’ the Muslim community. Even if this had been Wilders’ objective this condemnation represents an astounding concurrence of moral blindness and political incautiousness. The point is not (and never will be) that some free person spoke, or wrote, or illustrated in such a manner as to inflame the Muslim community. The point is that only the Muslim community is flammable in this way. The storm over Fitna like all such controversies renders one fact about our world especially significant: Muslims appear to be far more concerned about perceived slights to their religion than about the atrocities committed daily in its name. Our accommodation of this psychopathic skewing of priorities has, more and more, taken the form of spineless, blinkered, submission and compliance.
Another irony arises here that cannot have gone unnoticed. In the face of all provocations the position of the Muslim community appears to be; ‘Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t we will kill you’. Of course the reality is often more shaded, but this is about as shaded as it ever gets ‘ Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we peaceful Muslims cannot be held responsible for what our less peaceful brothers and sisters do. When they burn your embassies, or kidnap and slaughter your journalists, know that we will hold you first and foremost accountable and will use the bulk of our energies criticising you for ‘racism’ and ‘islamophobia.’’
Submission in the face of these threats has a chilling effect on the exercise of free speech. Failure of Western governments to make it safe for people to speak openly about the problem of Islam could be a matter of finance perhaps? They cannot afford to protect every person who speaks out against Muslim intolerance. No this is not the problem…the problem is that so few people do speak out, if there were tens of thousands of voices the risk to each would be radically reduced, and those who do are persecuted by not only the Muslim community but by their own governments as well.
While it remains taboo to criticise religious faith in general, it is considered especially unwise to criticise Islam. Only Muslims hound and hunt their apostates, infidels, and critics in the 21st century. There are to be sure reasons why this is so. Some of these reasons have to do with accidents of history and geopolitics, but others can be directly traced to doctrines sanctifying violence, which are unique to Islam.
What about the allegedly ‘moderate’ Muslims, all those civil, freedom loving reasonable Muslims, the ones who are just as appalled by intolerance as I am? By the law of averages alone there must be some, but vocal moderates are very hard to find. Wherever ‘moderate Islam’ does announce itself, one often discovers frank Islamism lurking just a euphemism or two beneath the surface. The subterfuge is rendered all but invisible to the general public by political correctness, wishful thinking, and ‘white guilt.’ This is where we find sinister people successfully posing as ‘moderates’. Take a good long hard look at the members who comprise The Muslim Council of Great Britain, they are an Islamist public relations organisation posing as a civil-rights lobby.
The association between the doctrine of Islam and Islamic violence is simply not open to dispute. Muslims themselves acknowledge and demonstrate this connection at every possible opportunity and to deny it is to retreat into a fantasy world of political correctness and religious apology.
Liberalist talk of how benign Islam ‘really’ is and about how the problem of fundamentalism exists in all religions only obfuscates what may be the most pressing issue of our time. Islam as it is currently understood and practiced by vast numbers, is antithetical to civil society.
A recent poll showed that thirty-six percent of British Muslims (ages 16-24) believe that a person should be killed for leaving the faith. Sixty-eight percent of British Muslims feel that their neighbours who insult Islam should be arrested and prosecuted, and seventy-eight percent think that the Danish cartoonists should have been brought to justice.
These are so called British Muslims, if there is such a thing.
The Muslim community is continuously exempted from paying any respect to Western standards of moral order in the name of cultural relativism which turns things completely upside down, and it is us in the end who are forced to ‘respect’ the glaring pathologies in their culture.
The lesson we should draw from the Fitna debacle is that we need more criticism of Islam, not less. Let it come down in such torrents that not even the most deluded Muslim could conceive of containing it. There is no such ‘right’ as the ‘right’ not to be offended; indeed I am deeply offended by the contents of the Koran with its overt hatred of Christians, Jews, apostates, non-believers and homosexuals, but cannot demand its suppression.
It is time we recognized that those who claim ‘the right not to be offended’ have also chillingly announced their hatred of Western Civilisation and will stop at nothing in order to triumph.
Monday, 30 March 2009