Yesterday in the now well-known Danish newspaper, the Jyllands-Posten (home to the most popular cartoons in he Muslim world), 12 noted European intellectuals published an appeal to their comrades in the Western world to fight the threat to free speech, open society, and religious freedom posed by Islamism—“the new totalitarianism” in their words.
The group includes Salman Rushdie, the British Author who was famously placed under a Death Fatwa by the Ayatollah Khomenei for insulting Islam. The call to arms was also signed by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of the screenplay for “Submission”, a film depicting the horrid treatment of women in many Islamic societies. The film’s Director, Theo Van Gogh, was murdered by an Islamist terrorist for insulting Islam. Other signatories include the French author Bernard-Henri Levy, and Ibn Warraq, author of “Why I Am Not a Muslim” and “What the Koran Really Says.”
The statement reads:
MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism
After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.
We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.
The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.
Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.
We reject “cultural relativism”, which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of “Islamophobia”, an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.
We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.
We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
It will be interesting to watch how many in the European and American press take notice of this declaration, and how many will continue to avoid the debate in the guise of avoiding “Islamophobia.” Hat tip to Michelle Malkin for calling attention to the declaration.
Below are the cartoons published in Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten. Click each image to enlarge.