The frenzied, crazed response of Muslims worldwide to the Danish cartoons is clearly a case of Western freedom of expression under siege from fundamentalists of an alien culture, but there is a deeper and more strategic logic behind the bizarrely over-the-top outcry from Muslims. Hoping to prompt a slow-on-the-uptake Bush administration to move away from its initial, clumsy condemnation of the Danish cartoons and embrace a full scale defense of Western values in the face of Islamic bully tactics, the Washington Times provides a good sketch of motives of the intellectual puppet-masters behind the riots
A lot of this "spontaneity" was clearly staged. The cartoons gained a wider audience when radical Danish clerics toured the Middle East last month, showing the offending cartoons to the heads of several of the major Islamist groups in the region. Just in case the originals weren't offensive enough, the clerics also supplied a few of their own cartoons, ever more inflammatory, and said they sprang from the pens of the infidels. One of the clerics, Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Ladan, explained in an interview that the tour was meant to "internationalize this issue." The clerics told their hosts that Muslims do not have the right to build mosques in Denmark, and repeated other ridiculous lies to foment discord and ridicule the Danish government.
The radical clerics in Denmark have succeeded, a fact pundits and analysts on both sides have largely missed. The focus has been on the assault on freedom of expression in the name of religious tolerance, as it should be, but that was not what Abu Ladan and his travelers had in mind when they toured the Middle East. They wanted to create a groundswell of discontent among Muslims in Europe, put pressure on Denmark -- and other nations -- to abide by sharia law and to build a sympathetic base for further terrorist attacks. The placards of British Muslims, demanding more "7/7s," a reference to the London subway bombings on July 7, went straight to the point of the clerics' Middle East tour. This was an exercise in agitprop to further the goals of Islamofascism, and it worked.
These facts have not received sufficient commentary in the mainstream press. The protests were the result of an extremely well orchestrated campaign that has been going on for the last four months. Danish Muslims went from Muslim country to country, lying about the conditions in Denmark and the cartoons published in the Danish newspaper. The ruling classes of the countries they visited are well acquainted with Europe – most vacation and shop there and send their children to European school. They knew well that the bile being spewed about Denmark by the Danish Muslims was a lie, but rather than counter those untruths, they allowed them to be spread to the streets, where the mobs awaited marching orders from the imams.
Of course, there are other forces at play as well. In Syria, where the Danish and Norwegian embassies were burned by an angry mob, there is no such thing as a protest without government approval. The Assad government is infamous for its unyielding brutality in dealing with dissenters and squelching protests. That a Damascus mob was able to encircle and burn foreign embassies without Assad’s blessing is unthinkable. The last twelve months have been a public relations disaster for the hapless Bashir Assad and his increasingly shaky thug-ocracy. Anything that shifts focus away from his government’s corruption and repression is welcomed in Damascus’s ruling circles. Foreign boogeymen are particularly useful. This is true in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and throughout almost all of the Islamic world.
Still, the widespread nature of the Muslim rioting suggests that a lot more is in the air than the despot-sanctioned venting of Muslim rage against their own leaders. Especially in light of the protests by Muslims in Europe – protests that featured calls for 9/11-style attacks on European cities, and people dressed up as suicide bombers. So much for assimilation! This is the wonderful situation that unfettered Muslim immigration to Europe has produced. Welcome to the paradise.
In the Sydney Morning Herald
, Miranda Devine notes that Western multiculturalism-mandated "sensitivity" toward Muslims has become a cultural Achilles’ heel
that Muslims are exploiting to their agenda’s advantage.
The institutionalised weakness of the West is epitomised by its reaction to the riots over the cartoons: the apologies from governments, the sacking of an editor in France, the ready acceptance by newspapers of a limit to free speech, despite the fact the cartoons are so tame by the standards of Western satire. Two of the cartoons are comments on the "reactionary provocateurs" at Denmark's Jyllands-Posten who had commissioned the cartoons.
The most provocative cartoon is probably one that shows a Muhammad-like figure with a fuse coming out of his turban, or one with a queue of smoking suicide bombers on a cloud with an Islamic cleric saying "Stop. We ran out of virgins".
But the global over-reaction to the publication in a privately owned newspaper in a Western secular society shows that there are increasing numbers of Muslims who expect to be able to control what non-Muslims do in their own countries.
The murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 by a Muslim extremist enraged by his documentary about violence against Muslim women was just the start.
Western governments, Ms. Devine argues, have been cowed by cries of "racism" and other politically correct nonsense from dealing with Muslims as they would against criminally-behaving members of their native populations. In Australia, she points out, this led to December’s nasty rioting between white Australians and Muslim immigrants.
Similarly, a semi-official policy by NSW authorities of not antagonising groups of young Arab-Australian men behaving criminally or antisocially in Sydney has enfeebled police, while emboldening law-breakers to ever more audacious behaviour, such as the revenge attacks after the Cronulla riots.
This sort of appeasement tacitly acknowledges and encourages the uncivil nature of Muslim culture.
Civilised people don't usually make their "hurt felt" by torching other people's embassies, stoning churches and waving the sort of banners reported at a protest over the cartoons in London last week: "Massacre those who insult Islam", "Europe, your 9/11 will come".
This creeping acceptance of intolerance in our midst is what Daniel Pipes, the director of a US think tank, the Middle East Forum, has warned about as the second prong of a radical Islamic attack on the West: a relentless demand for cultural change. This non-violent but incremental encroachment on Western secular society curtails freedoms and accords the Muslim minority special privileges.
Of course, Muslims accord themselves special status within their own societies, a fact that politically-correct commentators deliberately ignore. The rank hypocrisy of Saudis demanding tolerance for Islam in Western nations is rarely challenged, even though Saudi Arabia specific prohibits the practice of any other religion save Islam. Yet the Bush administration has permitted the Saudis – even after 9/11 – to continue funding the construction of mosques and Islamic foundations all across the US.
But Muslims did not create the Trojan horse they now exploit. In fact, in the last ten centuries, Muslims have generated precious few intellectual innovations of their own. The ideological trap into which the West continues to fall was created by its own intellectuals who sought a vehicle to undermine Western confidence and erode its defenses in order to bring their own socialist utopia into creation. When that failed, Western Civilization became the object of their all-consuming hatred, which gave birth to the benign-sounding poison of multiculturalism. Though presented to the public as a means of including all cultures, in practice, and as intended, it meant destroying only one. Coupled with mass immigration from non-Western nations – also favored by the left to weaken Western nations – multiculturalism and politically correctness (i.e. terror at being called a racist, no matter how baseless the charge is) have left the West demographically and intellectually vulnerable to Muslim brazenness.
The result has been the West’s ridiculous non-response to escalating acts of Muslim violence over three decades that culminated in the horrific events of September 11, 2001. But even after that atrocity, the West’s response to the threat remains muted. US military action in Afghanistan was carried out with every effort made to limit Muslim casualties and not to "enflame" Muslim passions – at the expense of American lives. Notice that the Muslims who danced in the streets of Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Europe as the Twin Towers fell felt not worries about angering the West. In fact, the Twin Towers had barely fallen before Western governments were warning their publics not to get angry or carried away. Public service advertisements in the US chided Americans not to be racist or violent against Muslims, even though no such reaction had occurred. Consider that the 9/11 attacks spawned no protests in the Muslim world, even after al Qaeda claimed responsibility in Islam’s name. Yet four years later, the Muslim world erupts in violence and flame over cartoons. This, if nothing else, should warn Western leaders that they’ve been had. Despite the PC-multicult claptrap that they’ve been pitching like so much manure at Western audiences, Islam is not a religion of peace and love. It is a creed and set of cultural beliefs entirely alien to the West and incompatible with the values and ethics Western cultures espouse. It seeks to dominate and control. The widespread nature of the riots and their venomous nature make clear that the difference between a radical and a moderate Muslim has less a matter of theological substance and more of readiness to commit violence. Not all Muslims are violent or fundamentalist, but a sizable number – not simply a small minority – are. As Claudia Rosett points out
With each step, we have looked for ways to defuse the anger by understanding the grievances. Bookshops have filled with volumes on the history of Islam, the wounded pride, the regional distinctions, the contending forces within Islam itself. Our political leaders, who have relatively little to say — and just as well — about Buddhism, Hinduism, or for that matter Animism, have taken to celebrating the end of Ramadan, invited Islamic moderates to their state dinner tables and told us over and over that Islam is a religion of peace. We have debated whether to describe those who deviate from this serene vision as Islamic radicals, Islamo-fascists, militant Islamists, or plain old evil-doers, terrorists, fascists, and thugs who happen to be Muslims.
What’s noteworthy about the latest violence is not that it is unusual — but how very ordinary in so many ways it has become. Yes, of course, the grimly whimsical surprise is that this time the lightning rod has turned out to be not the famous London underground, or the grand train stations of Madrid, or the twin towers of New York, but a set of cartoons out of Copenhagen. The Danish drawings did not trigger some previously nonexistent fury. They have simply become the latest litmus test of how very much the worst thugs of the Islamic world believe they are entitled to get away with, whatever the pretext.
As for the cartoons, what ought to jump out here is that it is not, in fact, common for the Western press to caricature Mohammed, or even to run pointed cartoons about Islam. One has to wonder if the organizers of the gunmen, arsonists and death-threat-deliverers (and it takes a fair amount of organization to get hold of Danish flags in Gaza, or burn an embassy in the police-state of Syria) had to scour the ample outpourings of the Western press looking for something, anything, over which to take offense, and — faced with reams of material trying to understand their pain — had to fall back as a last resort on the cartoons of Denmark. To what extent is the Western press already afraid to risk offending those who even before the recent protests had racked up a record of death threats and murder?
But the multiculturalists aren’t finished yet. Faced with an all-too-public revelation of Islam’s complete lack of tolerance and civility, they are busy issuing calls for both sides to "exercise restraint." But as John O’Sullivan points out, this even-handed sounding approach is as intellectually evasive and bankrupt as the whole multiculturalist enterprise itself
Suppose both sides listen to these calls for restraint. What would happen? I suppose that one side would stop burning embassies and murdering people and the other side would no longer publish cartoons to which the murderers might object. That would mean the murderers had obtained their objective and the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons had been defeated in its campaign against the unofficial Islamist censorship that in recent years has spread across Europe by murder and intimidation.
Sadly, conceeding freedom to the Islamists is exactly what would most please the multiculturalists.
The editors of Jyllands-Posten did the world a great service by publishing those cartoons. The Muslim reaction to the cartoons has made a mockery of the banal lies about Islam’s peaceful nature, and exposed the insanity of Muslim immigration. The Western public had long sensed – from the bloody evidence in front of its own eyes – that Islam is incompatible with Western values, and antagonistic to the West as a whole. The orgy of irrational violence gripping the Muslim world destroys any pretense that such sentiments are confined only to a small minority of Muslims. It also lays bare the consequences of further appeasement, and the motives of those who try to argue in favor of the multiculturalist agenda.
[The] argument that we must all censor ourselves to avoid offending others in a multicultural society is a highly ironic commentary on the liberals' promise that multiculturalism meant a more lively, colorful and argumentative society. We are now told that it means holding our tongues on sensitive issues.
If multiculturalism is incompatible with a free and lively society, as some implicitly now concede, then the sensible response is not to gradually chip away at Western freedom but to ensure that immigration from non-Western cultures proceeds at a rate that is assimilable culturally as well as economically. In other words Muslims coming to Europe or America would automatically adjust to the freedoms of a free society because they would lack the numbers to insist on everyone else changing to suit them -- which is currently the Islamist demand.
That demand is, finally, the reason for applauding those French, German, Spanish and other European newspapers that have reproduced the cartoons as a gesture of sympathy with Jyllands-Posten and those politicians, such as France's Nicholas Sarkozy, who have supported them. Even if the arguments for laws against blasphemy were valid -- and they are not trivial -- that would count as a secondary consideration alongside the need to resist plain blackmail, intimidation and murder. Those who take refuge in the false equivalence of the "two sides" argument are, in the end, guilty of cowardice. They should seek some "Dutch courage" by ordering a glass of acquavit with a Carlsberg chaser.