Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Consequences of Telling the Truth

If you are a European who dares to criticize Islam and the extremists it inevitably seems to breed, you'd better be prepared for lifestyle changes. In the case of Somali-born, Dutch member of parliament, Hirsi Ali, a barrage of very credible death threats combined with the murder of other Islam-critics will force you to seek government protection. Hence, Ms. Ali lives under siege from radical Muslims, a perfect allegory for her adopted country, the Netherlands, actually.

She answers questions about her predicament by gesturing to the two ubiquitous bodyguards. "You can observe how it is," she says. "I am limited in my freedom of movement." Things have improved from the immediate aftermath of the killing, when she had to sleep in a naval base. She has travelled to the US and has met Salman Rushdie (the fatwa against whom she once supported in her youth). Now she has a flat, although of its two bedrooms one is reserved for the security team, and each time she opens her door a bodyguard will appear to check on her.

Ms Hirsi Ali travels in an armoured-plated car, and knows that were she to have a relationship she would put a partner's life at risk.

Fortunately, Ms. Ali is a woman of extraordinary courage and poise. Her outspokenness in the face of death threats and violence have helped awaken the Dutch people to the extent of the threat growing in their cities.

"I travel, I have an apartment since March so I have a little more privacy than when I was being moved from place to place," she says. She smiles slightly as she adds: "There are some bad things and some moments when I think, 'Well, what is all this about?' - some form of panic, you know - you are threatened and stuff like that. But there is also the positive side, because within three years I have been able to convey my message to the public. So everyone in Europe knows the situation of Muslim women is not comparable to the situation of the native women. That there are also atrocities performed in the name of culture and religion taking place within Europe, within the Netherlands, and governments must deal with this."

Even if the Muslims don't physically assail their critics, they will use any means available to silence them. Sadly, the radical Islamists have found an endless supply of "useful fools" in the form of Western multiculturalists, who are willing to compromise every western value and principle in the name of diversity, which they have elevated to a quasi-religious tenet. Thus, when Italian leftist Oriana Fallaci criticizes Islam in a book, Muslim activists easily use the anti-intolerance laws passed by Italian multiculturalists to have her indicted.
A judge has ordered best-selling writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci to stand trial in her native Italy on charges she defamed Islam in a recent book.

The decision angered Italy's justice minister but delighted Muslim activists, who accused Fallaci of inciting religious hatred in her 2004 work "La Forza della Ragione" (The Force of Reason).

Fallaci lives in New York and has regularly provoked the wrath of Muslims with her outspoken criticism of Islam following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. cities.

In "La Forza della Ragione," Fallaci wrote that terrorists had killed 6,000 people over the past 20 years in the name of the Koran and said the Islamic faith "sows hatred in the place of love and slavery in the place of freedom."

State prosecutors originally dismissed accusations of defamation from an Italian Muslim organization, and said Fallaci should not stand trial because she was merely exercising her right to freedom of speech.

But a preliminary judge in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, Armando Grasso, rejected the prosecutors advice at a hearing on Tuesday and said Fallaci should be indicted.

Grasso's ruling homed in on 18 sentences in the book, saying some of Fallaci's words were "without doubt offensive to Islam and to those who practice that religious faith."

Pause, for a moment, and consider the irony in this. Ms. Fallaci is to be tried for writing a book criticizing Islam in the same country where four hundred years ago Galileo faced the Inquisition for writing a book that affirmed that the Earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa. So much for freedom of speech, conscience or tolerance of dissent - in short, in the name of tolerating its non-Western minorities, Italy has turned its back on the last four centuries of Western political progress. Muslims, quite naturally, are overjoyed to see a Western legal system used to eviscerate defenders of Western civilization.

Adel Smith, a high-profile Muslim activist who brought the original law suit, hailed the decision.

"It is the first time a judge has ordered a trial for defamation of the Islamic faith," he told reporters. "But this isn't just about defamation. We would also like (the court) to recognize that this is an incitement to religious hatred."

Isn't that clever? To criticize Islam is to defame it; to defame Islam is to incite religious hatred. So much for the European Enlightenment. So much for science and free inquiry. The truly vile aspect of Ms. Fallaci's predicament is that so many Italians (and, for that matter, Europeans in general) are willing to betray their cultural heritage in order to placate hostile immigrants.


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