The 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) met last week in Senegal, where they developed what AP called “a battle plan” to defend Islam “from political cartoonists and bigots.” Not against the violent supremacists who have allegedly “hijacked” their religion, mind you. No battle plan is needed against them.
The OIC is instead concentrating on the greatest threat to Islam: those who draw cartoons of Muhammad and writers who point out that the terrorists find their motivations in Islamic texts and teachings.
“Muslims are being targeted by a campaign of defamation, denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination,” explained Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the OIC’s secretary general. He did not mention the possibility that at least some of this “defamation, denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination,” if it exists at all, comes as a backlash to the 10,000-plus jihad terror attacks since 9/11, justified by their perpetrators by reference to the Qur’an and Islamic law.
Instead of working to divorce terrorism from Islam and condemn its perpetrators, AP reported that OIC “delegates were given a voluminous report by the OIC that recorded anti-Islamic speech and actions from around the world. The report concludes that Islam is under attack and that a defense must be mounted.” That’s right: not that the non-Muslim world is under attack from jihadist Muslims, but that Islam is under attack. In response, the OIC is planning to create a “legal instrument” to combat criticism of Islam. “Islamophobia,” Ihsanoglu declared, “cannot be dealt with only through cultural activities but (through) a robust political engagement.”
What kind of robust political engagement? Restrictions on freedom of speech, of course. Abdoulaye Wade, the President of Senegal and chairman of the OIC, said: “I don’t think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy. There can be no freedom without limits.”
In saying that the Senegalese President demonstrated why his nation is not a beacon of freedom in West Africa. His words, and the OIC’s “legal instrument” in general, demonstrate why the foundations of a free society cannot take root where Islamic law prevails.
Once you declare one group off-limits for critical examination or declare that these people must at all costs not be offended, or that if they are they’re perfectly within their rights to stone, or lash, or imprison, or kill the offender, then you have destroyed free speech. In a free society, people with differing opinions live together in harmony, agreeing not to kill one another if their neighbor’s opinions offend them. If offensive speech had been prohibited in the 1770s, there would be no United States of America, and that is one of the reasons for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Whenever offensive speech is prohibited, the tyrant’s power is solidified. No less in this case, although the tyrant in question is of a different kind.
This is especially true since Islamic spokesmen brand as offensive to Islam any inquiry into the use of Islamic teachings by the jihadists. Over the weekend the Al-Arabiya news channel fumed at my book The Truth About Muhammad. Among other things, Al-Arabiya was upset because the book “claims that Muhammad said terrorism made him victorious and that he used to tempt people with paradise so they would crush his enemies.” They do not mention the fact that Muhammad is quoted as saying “I have been made victorious with terror” and promising Paradise to those who die in battle in the collection of Islamic traditions that Muslims consider most reliable.
The upshot of this is that even reporting accurately about the teachings of Islam that jihadists use to justify violence, as Mark Steyn did when he ran afoul of Muslim leaders in Canada, will be branded hate speech that is offensive to Muslims.
That’s why all free people should oppose the OIC’s legal initiative. Not only does it threaten the foundations of Western society, but as it would render us unable to analyze it, it is an attempt to leave us defenseless against the jihad threat.
But what about “Islamophobia”? Here is a five-point plan that Muslims could adopt to eradicate it instantaneously:
1. Focus indignation on Muslims committing violent acts in the name of Islam, not on non-Muslims reporting on those acts.
2. Renounce definitively not just “terrorism,” but any intention to replace the U.S. Constitution (or the constitutions of any non-Muslim state) with Islamic Sharia law even by peaceful means.
3. Teach Muslims the imperative of coexisting peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis.
4. Begin comprehensive international programs in mosques all over the world to teach against the ideas of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.
5. Actively work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities.
Do those things, and “Islamophobia” will vanish.