Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We must abandon the principle of free speech

WHAT!?! If we want to reconcile with Islam, that is what we must do, according to some Islamist "authorities". American writer Joshua Trevino at the Brussel's Journal has the details:

Too Good to Win. Is the West Losing the War?
[...] Last week, I returned from the Third International Conference on the Muslim World and the West in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The aim of the conference was to “bridge the gap,” as they put it, between the Muslim world and the West.

Now, this seems like a worthy thing. Surely we of the West ought to find our common ground with the Muslim world, and vice versa. Surely there is common ground to be found. Surely the problems between us are predominantly problems of understanding and comprehension… and surely they are solvable with a little goodwill.

I admit to having been a bit dismayed when, at a pre-conference interview, the chairman — a Columbia University alumnus named Imam Feisal Rauf — told me that Muslim violence was “predominantly” the fault of Westerners. Nonetheless, I soldiered on in the belief that we could — how to put it? — bridge the gap.

To say that the luminaries of the conference disappointed my hopes is to understate things. But to say that that were luminous is to be perfectly accurate. I’ll just name three of the most prominent and powerful:

• Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Ekmeleddin Ihsanouglu of Turkey.
• Former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.
• His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Faisal al Saud, former director of Saudi intelligence, and until recently the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.

These men are educated… well traveled… experienced… wealthy… and Westernized. And each of them told the conference that for the West and Islam to reconcile, the West must abandon the principle of free speech. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) Josh give the details of what they said, and it's shocking. It's bad enough that the whole conference was like that. But even worse, all the representatives from the West who were invited to speak agreed with them! Josh speculated about that:

[...] The deputy speaker of the French National Assembly was there, as was a Spanish ambassador, an Australian MP, and various other mostly European functionaries. Every single one of them accepted the demand for an end to free speech without complaint.

We might call this the mindset of the quisling. Or, to invoke the opposite side of that historical allusion, we might say that they merely adhere to Winston Churchill’s admonition that “it is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war.”

There is tremendous wisdom in Churchill’s statement — but to take it at face value is to ignore that the man himself would not “jaw-jaw” with simply anyone, on any terms. This, after all, is a man for whom Mohandas Gandhi was deemed a morally unfit interlocutor. (I believe Churchill was right on this, but that’s for another speech.) Churchill rightly understood that to talk with someone in the absence of conditions gives some measure of moral sanction to that person.

For Churchill, to sit down with Hitler on equal terms, conceding from the start the legitimacy of the Nazi’s desires, was to lose the battle before it began. [...]

Churchill wasn't a fool, and we would do well to follow his example. And lest you think this is merely a Muslim bashing article, it's not. Josh does not agree that these attitudes represent the whole of the Islamic world. He maintains that we must not accept the "logic" that our freedom is responsible for Islamic terror, and insists that we have an obligation, to ourselves and the Islamic world, to stand up and defend our freedom. He ends the article with an explanation of why he became a Republican at the tender age of nine. Way to go, I say.


Walker said...

I hope we decide to defend ourselves.

Chas said...

Me too. Many things in life, even religion, have been improved through criticism. The right to voice that criticism is to me essential and non-negotiable.