Since 2001 it’s safe to say the vast majority of Americans are aware of Muslims, who scream various incantations of “Death to infidels”. Some subset of this group actually follow the threats with action. The American response to the 9/11/01 attack in NYC was to embark on a muddled decades plus long effort to cite the number of peaceful, moderate Muslims in the world, twist ourselves into pretzels to avoid offending these peaceful, moderate Muslims, and then engaging in tortured parsing and prevaricating to pretend that this violent subset isn’t really practicing what the highest levels of our government dubbed “a religion of Peace”, but instead were some fringe outlier beliefs. Well, I am not an Islamic scholar, but “Peace”, tolerance of other faiths, and any desire to get along with people of different faiths and views doesn’t appear to be part of the practice of the Islamic faith and the supposed vast moderate Muslim majority seems a fact to be taken on faith, despite the deafening silence from them for over 14 years. Where is the moderate Muslim majority – either here or in the Muslim world?
We have big name pundits arguing about how the cartoon-drawing event was “incitement” and wrong and here’s an excerpt of Bill O’Reilly’s take on the matter from Breitbart News:
“He continued that the “Christian point of view” is that “you don’t demean other people unnecessarily. Jesus would not have sponsored that event.” And “the goal of every decent person in the world should be to defeat the jihad. And in order to do that, you have to rally the world to the side of good, our side. Emotional displays like insulting the prophet Mohammed make it more difficult to rally law-abiding Muslims, for example. Including nations like Jordan and Egypt, who are actually the fanatical Islamists. In any war, you have to win hearts and minds, and the situation in Garland, TX goes against that. Again, the freedom of speech issue is bogus. No one is saying the exposition was illegal. The point is winning, defeating the jihad.””
The recent terrorist incident in Garland, TX whereby two adherents of the religion of Peace planned and tried to execute an attack on a private cartoon-drawing event, if nothing else has incited a firestorm over free speech, civility and even defeating jihad.
Let me attempt to disassemble Mr. O’Reilly’s argument and then point out where I disagree. He states: “He continued that the “Christian point of view” is that “you don’t demean other people unnecessarily. Jesus would not have sponsored that event.” America is a secular nation and luckily for all of us, one where that “Christian point of view” helped create our secular Republic, so that tolerance and respect for all people serve as keystone values. Mr. O’Reilly wants us to rally the world to the side of good. Yay, we’re all in for trying to “win the hearts and minds”.
Pam Geller is speaking the truth about the religion of Peace. She’s speaking the truth about the radical Islamists, whose views are more mainstream in the Muslim world than we care to acknowledge. You may not like her approach to making you confront the reality, but the fact is she held a private event in America where they drew cartoons. Two adherents to the more radical branch of the religion of Peace planned to attack the event, ostensibly out of anger over the cartoons, and drove from AZ to TX to do so. We are supposed to accept that if Pam Geller hadn’t incited them or had instead tried to win their hearts and minds, they would have had no reason to plan this attack…. Now, a contrarian like me might argue they were looking for targets to make a point that their views will be obeyed or there will be hell to pay. Then again I see radical Islam not as a religion, but as a totalitarian political movement hiding behind the shield of a religion. Americans value freedom of religion, so we bend over backwards to allow free establishment and practice of religion, this Islamist movement exploits that American value.
Now,we’ve got Islamists screaming for her head, we’ve got Americans condemning her as the problem for inciting a response (Juan Williams is quite vocal on this point) and many others offering some variation of O’Reilly’s point, “Emotional displays like insulting the prophet Mohammed make it more difficult to rally law-abiding Muslims, for example. Including nations like Jordan and Egypt, who are actually fighting the fanatical Islamists.” Let me take a stab at deflating this “higher-purpose” Hindenburg, descending in flames as Americans watch the ME burn, Al Qaeda stabbed in the heart by Obama, now rising from the ashes and morphing into the JV ISIS team and the “law-abiding Muslims” (moderates, we’re assured), remain silent.
Here’s how I see it from what I, as JK used the word, glean from the last 14 plus years: from oh, extensive reading, observing news reporting and following the news daily. O’Reilly’s “law-abiding Muslims'” argument is ludicrous. Here in the West, where Muslims are living in a free society, they already know free speech is reverently upheld and the most vile radical Islamists living in the West use that freedom to spread their abhorrent ideology, but on the other hand, they also scream, trying to rally others to silence Pam Geller and those who oppose their ideology. Many Muslim groups and sympathizers in America and the West aid and abet the imposition of Sharia compliant behavior under the guise of “we shouldn’t offend Muslims” and somehow by bowing down in fear of inciting them or creating more of them, we will “defeat them”. All we are doing is trying to censor free speech out of fear. This is the the lunch room bully extorting your lunch money every day, so you just cower and pay up, but beg Mom and Dad for extra money or go hungry. Bowing down makes you a spineless victim and it emboldens the bully.
The idea that private American citizens need to conform their beliefs, speech or setting up a private event to aid our dismal foreign policy “to rally law-abiding Muslims, for example. Including nations like Jordan and Egypt, who are actually fighting the fanatical Islamists.” ” is one of the stupidest things I have heard lately. There has been no mass rallying among moderate Muslims (at least I haven’t seen any reported, although there have been a few brave Muslims who have spoken out against radical Islamists). I have seen many reports over the years of Muslims cheering attacks against Americans though. Egypt is run by a military cabal, who threw out the radical Islamist regime and umm,, I believe they outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and aren’t putting up with radical Islamists. In Jordan, they’ve got a king – he’s got a British mother, is western educated and he will work with the West against radical Islamists regardless whether Pam Geller hosts a Mohammed cartoon-drawing contest every week. To pretend private citizens behavior will impact whether leaders of other countries will work with the American government is ridiculous.
What O’Reilly and our leaders are pandering to is the power of propaganda in the Muslim world, because here’s a newsflash Bill O’Reilly, the news most Muslims in the Muslim world receive isn’t “fair and balanced” – it’s CENSORED. Those who CENSOR that news look for small things like Pam Geller’s cartoon-drawing contest to sensationalize and INCITE anti-American sentiments. You will never win “hearts and minds” of people who can not hear opposing views and be FREE to think for themselves. The issue to argue about is not Geller “inciting”, the issue to argue about and the goal of our policy should be to enlighten Muslims on the power of FREEDOM and that starts by showcasing our values. Sure, I’m all for civility and I would not attend a Mohammed cartoon-drawing contest, but then again I would not pay money to watch a play mocking Mormons, or sit through a stand-up comic bashing Jews. And, I sure as hell wouldn’t ever consider trying to ban their free speech or drive hundreds of miles to murder them. Until we can find ways to promote free thinking in the Muslim world, any hope of “winning their hearts and minds” is doomed!
I’ve believed for a long time that the way to open the doors to freedom in the Muslim world is through finding ways to reach women and help them learn to be free-thinkers and agents of change in the Muslim world. Even here in America the most powerful cultural movements were championed and propelled by large numbers of women. If we can reach the women in the Muslim world and help them understand FREEDOM, more than half the battle is won. Living as little more than chattel at best, slaves at worst, women in the Muslim world might be the key to actually “winning their hearts and minds”. Yes, conservative ol’ me champions women too, but more than that, I champion the cause of FREEDOM!