“We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,” said 2016 Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz in a statement last week following the deadly March 22 coordinated terror attacks in Brussels.
“For years, the West has tried to deny this enemy exists out of a combination of political correctness and fear. We can no longer afford either. Our European allies are now seeing what comes of a toxic mix of migrants who have been infiltrated by terrorists and isolated, radical Muslim neighborhoods,” continued Sen. Cruz’s statement according to CNN.
Time notes that New York City Police Department deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism John Miller recently responded to Cruz’s comments on CBS’ Face the Nation, saying, “When you have people campaigning through fear and using that as leverage, and then giving advice to police to be the cudgel of that fear, that’s not the direction American policing should be taking in a democracy. We’re the proudest country on the planet and that’s because we have been a leader on freedom and human rights and everything else.”
Miller added, “I think in our history if there are moments of shame it would be Japanese internment, the Red Scare and McCarthyism, torture after 9/11 — these are things that on reflection, through history, the American people have rejected.”
Rival Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called Cruz’s proposal a “good idea.”
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) disagreed with Cruz’s plan and said according to CBS News, “To send inflammatory messages could actually have an unintended consequence.”
“In Europe it’s very segregated, and you have the diasporas in Belgium that I saw. And they’re being radicalized because they’re not assimilated with the culture. I don’t think we have that same situation in the United States,” said McCaul.
November 18, 2015– Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says the United States has “no choice” but to close certain mosques around the country.
“Nobody wants to say this and nobody wants to shut down religious institutions or anything, but you know, you understand it,” Trump told Fox News’s “Hannity” on Tuesday. “A lot of people understand it. We’re going to have no choice, there’s absolutely no choice.”
Saying that “some really bad things are happening, and they’re happening fast,” Trump displayed a sense of urgency during the interview.
Tuesday’s statements aren’t a new direction for Trump. In fact, he was simply doubling down on the position.
On Monday, Trump renewed calls for domestic surveillance of mosques in the U.S. after Islamic militants claimed credit for last week’s attacks in Paris.
“You’re going to have to watch and study the mosques, because a lot of talk is going on at the mosques,” Trump said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
In an interview on Fox Business News last month, Stuart Varney asked Trump whether or not, if elected president, he would make similar moves as the British government, which has revoked passports of some people and closed select mosques.
“I would do that, absolutely, I think it’s great,” Trump responded. “If you go out, you go fight for ISIS, you can’t come back. Why can’t you do it? You can do it here.”
“Can you close a mosque? I mean, we do have religious freedom,” asked Varney.
“Well I don’t know,” Trump said. “I mean, I haven’t heard about the closing of the mosque. It depends, if the mosque is, you know, loaded for bear, I don’t know. You’re going to have to certainly look at it.”
How many Westerners who changed updated their Facebook profiles with a Tricolore on Friday updated them with the Lebanese flag the day before, when dozens of Lebanese were killed in Beirut in another Islamo-extremist attack?
If you did the one and not the other, don’t feel bad. You – like they – are victims of the Western media, just as much as of Western foreign policy.
With all the usual (but nevertheless important and true) qualifiers that those who bear all the moral responsibility for the recent deaths in Paris are those who pulled the triggers and detonated their suicide vests, it must be said that we, the West, are collectively doing nothing to help ourselves.
On the contrary, we continue to make it worse – in two main ways. And importantly, the reason we cannot stop doing making it worse, it seems, is that across the West, the political Left are committed to making things worse in one way, and the political Right are committed to making things worse in the other.
What are these two things we are doing to exacerbate the actions of extremists against us?
The first is the one already mentioned – favored by the standard neo-con sensibility (Bush, Hillary Clinton et al.) – to go pound the hell out of (or into) cultures and countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. ) that we don’t control, to affect the dynamics of long-standing conflicts that we don’t understand, in ways that do damage that we cannot contain.
Ron Paul for years was warning us about blowback. It’s a real thing – and, it always has been, throughout history – because human nature is largely constant.
Don’t take my (or Dr Paul’s) word for it: take the word of the United States’ own Department of Defense, which commissioned a study, headed by Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, that collected and analyzed huge amounts of data on suicide terrorism — which is 12 times more dangerous than other forms of terrorism when measured by the number of people killed per act. In this U.S. government study, speakers of the local languages of the families of suicide bombers were sent to speak with family members of the terrorists to gain as much information as possible about the context and the people involved. The database thus obtained on suicide terrorism is, as far as we know, the most comprehensive in the world.
The most astonishing conclusion of this work was as follows; 95 percent of all suicide terrorist attacks — going back to the 1980s — are against countries that the terrorist deems to be occupying (in the sense of a military presence) physical territory that that the terrorist regards as a homeland. The reason this is astonishing is that this 95 percent figure includes all those radical Islamic groups who have attacked Israel and the USA, but it explains why the U.S., for example, has only experienced such attacks (such as 9/11 itself), from citizens of countries in which it has a military presence: that’s why, says the DOD study, we were hit by Saudis on 9-11, but not Iranians, Sudanese or representatives of other countries with a large radical Islamist contingent.
So one way of helping to protect ourselves from extremists might be just to stop with all those self-righteous “Freedom bombs” that kill children in places whose names we cannot even spell.
Of course, one might object that France is hardly intervening globally on the scale that America does, so isn’t the fact that Paris is getting hit more than, say, New York or D.C., evidence against the thesis?
No – because not imposing one’s will on others in their homes is only half the story: it’s only the “Let Live” part of “Live and Let Live”.
In the West, we have also forgotten that “Live and Let Live” has a first part, which is usually overlooked: that is simply “Live”.
The same Western polities that feel perfectly (and illiberally) righteous in intervening with physical force in other countries are paradoxically caught up in a faux progressivism at home that prevents them from defending their own.
It’s an absolute contradiction that goes like this: “we must attack them over there because they are dangerous and evil – but we don’t need to monitor and control those who flow across our borders because to do so would be intolerant, prejudicial and even racist”. In other words, “they” are dangerous enough that we need to kill them where they cannot hurt us, but not so dangerous that we need to stop them coming to hurt us.
Only ideological (or power-driven) politicians could maintain that kind of contradictory nonsense without painful cognitive dissonance.
The first responsibility and primary justification of government is the security of its own citizens – to whom it is accountable. And the first line of the security of a nation is its borders, which must be controlled to prevent the entry of those who wish to do harm. That is a moral good. In contrast, hurting innocents who are nowhere near one’s borders is a moral evil.
Making a real assessment of the risk associated with largely or partially unmonitored immigration – and in particular, making a proper distinction between genuine refugees (from messes that we helped to create) and economic migrants to whom our moral responsibility is clearly different – is not intolerant, prejudiced, or racist. It is reasonable, sensible, and just.
Here’s a thought experiment that doesn’t take much imagination at all.
And since I write for an American audience, if you were an ISIS fighter, how would you get in to the US to launch an attack? Of course you’d walk over the Mexican border because you can.
Mark Steyn insightfully observed that
“… multiculturalism is a unicultural phenomenon”.
He might have overstated there, but if we add one word, he is painfully accurate: pathological multiculturalism is a unicultural phenomenon.
So what makes multiculturism pathological? I’ll offer a very precise definition: pathological multiculturalism is the over-accommodation by one culture of others by denigrating or hiding its own values, its own history, its own identity, and its own self-celebration.
Why is it that we in the West are so bad at overtly celebrating our history, our values, and our culture. We don’t even teach any of these in our schools in any serious way in the developed West. I hate to give a cliché as an answer, but it just fits so well – especially in Europe. Our white Liberal guilt has gotten the better of us. Because we did bad things in our history, we don’t celebrate the good things we did. Because we have oppressed people, we don’t point to the thousand-year long march of history that has freed millions. Because cultural minorities in our countries find it harder to get mainstream exposure (inevitable by virtue of their numbers), we stay quiet about our own culture, lest we cause offence.
Live and Let Live is – as it has always been and forever will be – the right motto for our times. But the West, in a kind of vicious cycle of fear, has (at least since 2001) been doing the opposite: “Kill and Let Be Killed”.
For those who prefer concrete political concepts to four-word idioms, the problem and its solution can be framed it in terms of self-determination – a concept right there in Article 1 of Chapter 1 of the United Nations charter.
Self-determination demands that we respect the sovereignty of other self-identified communities, nations and cultures. But it’s the very same self-determination that leaves us with the responsibility of respecting and protecting our own from those who would infiltrate to disrupt our own communities, nations and cultures.
In short, the fundamental question for the West at this time in history seems to be: must our open societies tolerate the intolerance that seeks to destroy our tolerance?
The answer is No – because that is what self-determination means.
When we understand that, we might be able to make two existential changes: the first will be to stop hurting others where they live – which requires us to recognize and end our self-righteousness and arrogance. The second will be to start protecting ourselves where we live– which requires us to recognize our cultural guilt and be able to talk about Western values as something worth proactively, even preemptively, protecting and asserting – but not exporting.
If we in the West must feel so guilty, let’s feel guilty about the children we’ve killed in Muslim lands – rather than about protecting ourselves from “Muslims” – and others – who would kill us in our own.
NASHVILLE, October 14, 2015– On Tuesday, Tennessee State Representative Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) issued a response after being labeled an Islamophobe by the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). The group attacked Butt after she introduced a bill that sought to re-write the state’s social studies religion standards.
“Quite frankly, name calling adds no intelligence and has no relevance to this discussion,” said Butt. “Furthermore, it does nothing to ‘improve relations’.”
Last month, many Tennessee parents were upset to learn that their children were reportedly ordered to recite“Allah is the only God” over and over again in their 7th grade social studies classes during a study of Islam aligned with state standards.
Last week, Butt introduced HB1418, which would move the teaching of religious studies to 10th, 11th or 12th grades and would ensure that only a comparative teaching of religion with regards to historical events and geography was taught. The bill also specifically bans any curriculum that could be interpreted as indoctrination in favor of any specific religion, requiring that all religions are taught on equal grounds.
CAIR issued a critical statement against Butt and the legislation.
In the prepared statement, CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw called Butt an Islamophobe and said the legislation was bigoted and hate filled.
However, the bill targets no specific religion. In fact, it applies to all religions equally, which left Butt questioning why CAIR was targeting the bill.
“Tennessee HB1418 is neutral on its face as to the specific subject matter it addresses,” said Butt. “The bill is intended to prompt an open and rational discussion about the appropriate timing and weight of teaching religion in a student’s education. No one specific religion is mentioned in the bill.”
Regardless, CAIR called on its members to state legislators and the Governor to oppose the bill.
Following 2016 Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s remarks on NBC’s Meet the Press indicating that he would not support a Muslim for president of the United States, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer posed the same question to U.S. Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday.
“You know, the Constitution says there will be no religious test, and, when I ran for office, there were some people who insinuated I wasn’t a good enough Christian to run for office, so I’m pretty sensitive about people saying that your religion is not pure enough,” said Paul, referring to attacks on his religion by his 2010 Senate race opponent Jack Conway.
He added, “There’s nothing precluding a Muslim from holding office, and we do have several Muslims who I think are conscientious and well-meaning in Congress and some who I’ve actually worked with on legislation, criminal justice reform, but I do think there would be some questions to ask. Do you believe literally that a woman should be stoned to death for adultery? Do you believe that when someone steals something, their hand should be cut off?”
Senator Paul then pointed to the poor womens’ rights records of Muslim-led countries like Saudi Arabia and Brunei, suggesting that a Muslim candidate would need to clarify that his or her interpretation of Islam comports with U.S. views on gender.
Blitzer then pressed Paul to say whether he would personally support a Muslim for president.
“Sure,” Paul replied. “If they support the things that made America great—constitutional principles, Bill of Rights—but some of those are inconsistent with the interpretation of the Quran that’s being put forward, particularly by some folks.”
Paul added, “These are important questions to ask if you have someone who’s Muslim running for office. Do you think violence is O.K.? Do you think Sharia law should be the law of the land? Do you think that the 9/11 bombings were O.K.? For goodness’ sake, I surely wouldn’t vote for any Christian or Muslim that thought, you know, that violence was a way to shape your religious views.”
The above-embedded video clip concludes with Paul confirming that he believes that U.S. President Barack Obama is a Christian and that he was born in the United States.
On Monday, Ben Carson modified his position and said that he could support a moderate Muslim president who denounces radical Islam and that he would not support anyone “whose faith might interfere with carrying out the duties of the Constitution.”
A new report from a Washington-based research center found that the majority of terror attacks since September 11, 2001 have come from so-called “homegrown” extremists rather than radical Muslims.
New America has found that nearly twice as many people were killed by individuals espousing white supremacist and anti-government rhetoric than by those preaching radical Islam. The report calculates that 48 people were killed by non-Muslim extremists, and 26 were killed by self-proclaimed jihadists.
Non-Muslims have launched 19 attacks since 9/11, while Islamic extremists launched 7 lethal attacks for the same time period. The New York Times reported that a new survey to be published this week found that police have a greater fear of domestic extremism versus radical Islam. Researchers with the University of North Carolina and Duke University took a survey of 382 police and sheriff’s departments nationwide and found that 74 percent believe anti-government violence is the greatest threat to their safety. The survey found that only 39 percent of the departments fear “Al Qaeda-inspired” violence.
In February, Truth In Media reported on an intelligence report produced by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigations which called attention to an apparent domestic terror threat from ”right-wing sovereign citizen extremists.” The mainstream media was all over the report, complete with headlines proclaiming the growing “right-wing” threat. However, it was found that CNN and other outlets did not read the actual report.
Despite CNN claiming that the threat from sovereign citizens was greater than ISIS and included “right-wing” extremists, the report does not state that at all. In fact, the entire report does not even use the term “right-wing” or even mention the Islamic State. Statements on the alleged danger of right-wing extremists came from a separate report and quotes from the Southern Poverty Law Center, not the actual report itself.
Whether a creation of the mainstream media or a reality check for tyrants, government agencies are, without a doubt, spreading the idea that homegrown, domestic civilians are to be feared.
In June 2014, Truth In Media reported on the creation of a new Department of Justice task force to combat “escalating danger” from “homegrown” terrorists in the United States. At the time of the announcement, Attorney General Eric Holder said, “We face an escalating danger from self-radicalized individuals within our own borders.”
The DOJ is not alone in monitoring domestic activity, however. Jay Syrmopoulos elaborated on the increasing focus on “domestic” or “homegrown” extremists:
“First there was the MIAC report, which claimed that potential terrorists include people who own gold, Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, and even people who fly the U.S. flag.
Then in 2012, there was a leaked Homeland Security study that claimed Americans who are “reverent of individual liberty,” and “suspicious of centralized federal authority” are possible “extreme right-wing” terrorists.
More recently, there is a Department of Defense training manual, obtained by Judicial Watch, using a FOIA request, which lists people who embrace “individual liberties” and honor “states’ rights,” among other characteristics, as potential “extremists” who are likely to be members of “hate groups.”
This document goes on to call the Founding Fathers extremists, stating, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements, “ including, ‘The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule.'”
So what’s the truth?
Do groups like ISIS pose a threat to the liberty of the American people? Is the “threat” from “domestic” or “homegrown” extremists truly increasing? And to whom are they a threat ? The people or the government?
Perhaps the greatest threat to Liberty lies in the people issuing these reports and passing laws that work to limit the freedom of the people.
WASHINGTON—February 15, 2015 – When Naghmeh Abedini married her husband Saeed in Iran, she never dreamed she would raise their future children as a single mother in Boise, Idaho, while her husband languished for years in an Iranian prison.
A native of Iran, Naghmeh and her family left when she was nine years old and spent a year in California before relocating to Boise. Her father was educated in the United States and obtained his master’s degree at Oregon State University prior to taking his family out of Iran. “He had a green card,” says Naghmeh, “We were not refugees.”
The real reason they left Iran, however, was due to the radicalization of their Muslim faith in the school system. “My brother was being brainwashed in elementary school,” says Naghmeh, “They started war recruiting for Jihad when he was eight years old.” Students were told that if they died for the cause they would “get to meet God.” They were forced to run through active mine fields as a school exercise. The land mines would occasionally detonate. “The government arrested any parents who complained,” says Naghmeh, “So our parents quietly packed up and left.”
Her parents were unhappy with the school system in California, also, and hoped a move to a smaller city would help preserve their culture and Muslim faith. Within ten years in Boise, however, both of Naghmeh’s parents, along with herself, her brother, and a sister had converted to Christianity.
In 2001, Naghmeh spent a year in Iran. Just before she returned to Boise, her cousin invited her to a government-approved Christian church service. She heard Saeed Abedini speak and was intrigued by his passion, so she introduced herself and asked him if he would watch out for her cousins. Later, she learned that Saeed was a pastor and a leader of the growing house church movement. He was also a former Muslim who once desired to kill Christians, but he converted in 2000. When she returned to Iran in 2003 for another visit, the sparks flew between them. He proposed marriage in June of that year, and they were married in Iran the following June in a government-sanctioned Christian church.
The Abedini’s life together in Iran was cut short when the country experienced a regime change in 2005 and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rose to power. Known for his religious hardline stances, Ahmadinejad was a main figure in the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran party, usually shortened to Abadgaran and widely regarded as the political front for the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Revolutionary Guards.) The latter group was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States in 2007.
After Ahmadinejad was elected, the church the Abedinis married in was forced to close, as were other Christian churches in Iran, despite current law allowing the peaceful gathering of religious minorities. Overnight, Christians were seemingly not welcome or tolerated in the country, so the couple moved together to Boise. Their daughter Rebekka was born in 2006 and their son Jacob arrived in 2008, the same year Saeed became an ordained minister through the American Evangelistic Association.
In 2009, the entire family decided to visit Iran together and see Saeed’s family, as it had been four years since he had seen his parents who had yet to meet their grandchildren. When the Boise-based Abedini family arrived at the airport to fly home to Idaho, Saeed was arrested by Iranian intelligence police. “Please leave Iran,” Saeed told his wife and children, “It will make it easier on me.”
Saeed was placed on house arrest for a month in his parents’ home while investigators determined whether or not he was still establishing Christian church groups. Before he was released, the police advised him to focus on humanitarian efforts—a move that inspired Saeed to use his grandfather’s land and an existing building to open an orphanage in the Iranian city of Rasht.
Back in Idaho, Saeed began a three-year process riddled with paperwork hurdles and setbacks in an attempt to open the orphanage he envisioned. He visited Iran ten more times in an effort to complete the approval process for the orphanage. Naghmeh, Rebekah, and Jacob joined him in October 2011, as the Abedinis were convinced that the orphanage was close to being opened. “We really wanted our kids to be able to meet the orphans,” Naghmeh recalls. However, by February 2012, the approval was still pending. The Abedinis returned to Boise once more. Four months later, Saeed traveled to Iran to finish the orphanage once and for all. “That was the last time I saw him,” says Naghmeh.
He was due to return to Boise on July 29. However, on July 27, Saeed was arrested on a bus in Turkey after looking at land in Georgia. He was placed under house arrest once again. The Iranian government seized his U.S. Passport and he was questioned for months about his activities, without being charged with a crime.
He thought he would be able to resolve his detainment with one last interrogation, scheduled for September 26 at a location to be determined by a 9:00 a.m. phone call that same day. However, Revolutionary Guards forces raided his parents’ house in Tehran at 6:00 a.m. and took Saeed to an unknown location. Four days later, it was revealed that he was in solitary confinement at the notorious Evin Prison. Saeed was accused of “corrupting a whole generation against Islam,” a reference to his pre-Revolution house church activities.
Saeed was charged with undermining the national security of Iran. At his trial on January 21, 2013, Saeed and his attorney were only given one day to make their defense. He was convicted by Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, and sentenced a week later to eight years in prison. Revolutionary Court trials are not public, there is no jury, and a single judge decides the cases—which are final and not eligible for appeal. Details about court proceedings are revealed at the sole discretion of the court. The government says it will release Saeed if he converts back to Islam, but he refuses.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is representing Naghmeh and her children. “This is a real travesty—a mockery of justice,” said ACLJ’s Executive Director Jordan Sekulow. “From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights.”
Saeed Abedini has been reportedly beaten and tortured during his incarceration and is now housed in the Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj, his sudden move a possible indication of defiance toward President Hassan Rouhani by the Revolutionary Guard. Saeed is denied any electronic or voice communications with the outside world, but his parents visit him almost weekly, bring him letters from home, and send his letters out—including one to President Obama just before this year’s National Prayer Breakfast.
Naghmeh is hopeful due to extensive support from Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, as well as remarks made by President Obama, that her husband’s release will be secured during upcoming negotiations with Iran. “We’re in a good place,” she says, “If Iran wants to make a deal, I want to make sure Saeed is not left behind.”
To all those media outlets who have convinced themselves that they don’t need to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Mohammed in reporting the recent events in Paris: you are profoundly wrong.
Your raison d’etre is to present news. The Hebdo cartoons are a natural part of the story of the murders in Paris. To assert that a description of an image is anything like the image, itself, is a rationalization of cowardice. The only reason to “describe images” without publishing them is fear of the consequences of publishing.
The official reason offered by many Western media outlets for not showing us the images that have at least in part provided the excuse for three fanatics to murder is “so as not to cause offense”.
First, you can’t cause offense. Offense is always taken, never given. Western society depends on that – on responsibility for one’s emotions, and if not for one’s emotions, then for what one does with one’s emotions. Many of us get offended on a weekly basis. The “right” not to be offended is not a right at all. Rather it can only ever be, by definition, a claim made to limit the rights of others.
Some people and organizations do indeed get-off on causing offense for attention or for its own sake. I have little time for such behavior. Indeed, all my political work is geared to mutual respect and finding common ground.
But that is not at issue here. Any sane person can see that the presentation of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Mohammed in stories about the murders in Paris is a very natural and legitimate part of telling the story of those murders – a purpose that is entirely and necessarily consistent with the much greater and deeply necessary purpose of the media in a civilized society.
This is all very basic stuff. Murders have been committed because (among other reasons) the murderers dislike the way their victims exercised their freedom of expression. Some media organizations whose existence depends on that freedom, and that have the greatest responsibility to defend it (because they exercise that right every day), are giving it up without a fight. That responsibility to defend it is a responsibility to self-interest, let alone to the free society that allows them to operate, and to the people from whom they gain their revenues.
If these mainstream media outlets have adopted “not causing offense” as a new standard for editorializing, then I hereby inform them that I – and millions like me – choose (because it is always a choice) to be deeply offended by much of the mainstream media’s credulous reporting of our own government’s actions – especially in foreign policy, military and civil rights matters – since 9/11.
I don’t expect them to be very bothered by that, of course, because it’s not the causing of offense that concerns them – and all editors know as much from a moment’s introspection. They’re not concerned by my taking offense because I, being a civilized human being whose mind has not been ossified by religious orthodoxy and fundamentalism, am not going to use my offense as an excuse for violence against them.
Everyone who’s working at these media outlets realizes that one goal of the attacks in Paris is to render the Western press unfree, or to punish it for exercising its freedom (which is exactly the same thing). Now, by definition, only the media, and those who work in the media, can decide whether to give the attackers what they are demanding – a veto by one group on everyone else’s freedom of expression.
A media executive might protest that his job is not to take political, cultural or religions sides … that the presentation of information doesn’t entail direct engagement in such controversy. And that is correct … and that is why the editors should do their job without fear or favor, which is to tell the story in full. It’s by not publishing those cartoons, therefore, that media outlets are acting politically and morally – and they are doing it for the wrong side.
When George Bush famously said, “either you are with us or you’re with the terrorists”, he was profoundly wrong. At that time, the media collectively failed us miserably by promoting the fear-driven propaganda that resulted in the deaths of many American servicemen, many more innocent foreigners, and the take-down by our government of the very rights that the terrorists in Paris would also like to see taken down as they establish their silly caliphate.
But now if you’re in the media, there is a clear sense in which “either you are for freedom of the press, or you are with the terrorists” – because you can’t be for freedom of the press if you would prefer not to do the proper job of the press so as to avoid the possible consequences of defending press freedom by exercising it.
Think about that. If you’re an editor who’s not publishing those cartoons today, you’re not just failing to defend press freedom, you’re acting against a free press because you’re giving up your job to tell the whole story at the very time when the story is about the freedom on which your job depends.
That is not a neutral position.
As Sartre said, “What is not possible is not to choose”.
This is not about multiculturalism or cultural sensitivity. It is not about imposing images of a prophet on people who don’t want to see them. My deep sensitivity and respect for the values and lives of Muslims around the world, many whose lives have been destroyed by Western policies that I oppose, in no way requires me to engage in a wholesale suppression and denial of my own values – which include media that tell the truth without knowing distortion by either falsity or omission.
Ironically, perhaps, in the next few days, the media’s actions will speak louder than their words. And to turn to another idiom, a picture is worth a thousand of those. Right now, then, one cartoon is worth even more than that – but, crucially, no cartoon is worth an order of magnitude more.
Much of the American media, in particular, spent many years rather uncritically providing platforms for people who have asserted that defense of our freedom requires killing innocent Muslims abroad – while legislatively compromising away those very values that we were purportedly defending… without any of the sensitivity to Muslim sensibilities (let alone lives) that they have found over a few images.
The events in Paris have shed light on something that has always been true: that the fight to maintain our liberties can ultimately only be won or lost in the minds of the people whose liberties they are. They are won or lost whenever people choose to preserve those liberties by exercising them even when doing so feels risky, or when, alternatively, people decide not to exercise them because they are less important than avoiding discomfort.
So media, are you with us, the People, and our freedom of speech – which is also yours, or are you with the terrorists? Because if you will not do your job at this time when your freedom even to be the media is attacked – then what the heck are you for?
And please don’t come back with the tired trope about protecting your employees. If they don’t like the fact that their organization is choosing to do the right thing, rather than fall into gross hypocrisy, then they can exercise another beautiful freedom … the freedom to get a job that suits them better.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are like all other rights: to keep them you have to exercise them – and sometimes that takes courage and involves risk. We should be profoundly grateful to those who help keep that right for us by exercising it.
And today, our thoughts are with our French friends – and especially with the families and friends of those who have been directly attacked for using that most important of freedoms – freedom of speech – to stimulate our use of another – freedom of thought.
And we don’t lose sight of the fact that we must stop ceding the moral high-ground in fighting against such an attack on liberty through a foreign policy that makes terrorists by killing innocents. Nor do we forget the impingement on the same liberty by our own politicians.
Offense is Always Taken – Never Given… but if it can be given, it is given by physical aggression against innocent people.
LA PLATA, Maryland, October 31, 2014 – In Maryland this week, a former Marine and father of a La Plata High School student was banned from school grounds after a dispute arose between the man and the school concerning the teaching of Islam in his daughter’s World History class.
Kevin Wood, a former corporal with the U.S. Marine Corps who served in Iraq, noticed on Wednesday evening that his daughter’s homework assignment was on Islam. The assignment included a three page essay on the five pillars of Islam, Mecca and Mohammad.
Wood objected to the religion of Islam being taught to his daughter, a junior at the La Plata High School, and approached the school to request a different assignment be issued in the original assignment’s place.
Wood stated, ““I don’t agree with it. You can’t study God or Christianity in school. You’ve got atheists suing schools for saying ‘God’ in the pledge and not being able to say prayers before football games, but we can force-feed our kids Islam.”
The school denied the father’s request however, and later issued a ban barring Wood from the school’s property entirely claiming he threatened to cause a “possible disruption“.
However, Melissa Wood, the mother of the student said that her husband never made any threats and that the situation has been blown “entirely out of proportion,” in an interview.
A spokesperson for the school, Katie O’Malley-Simpson stated, “We’re not teaching religion, we’re teaching world history,” in defense of the school’s decision to not issue a different assignment to the student.
The homework assignment reportedly contained questions such as, “How did Muslim conquerors treat those they conquered?” A copy of the homework acquired by MyFoxDC.com showed the correct answer for this question was, “With tolerance, kindness and respect.”
Days after Alton Nolen attacked two women after losing his job, murder charges are expected to be filed against him on Monday.
Nolen lost his job at Vaughan Foods in Oklahoma last Thursday and after this, Nolen reportedly went to his former workplace and carried out acts of violence against his co-workers.
Nolen reportedly drove to the Vaughan Foods processing plant, and rammed his car into another vehicle at the entrance before he entered the building. Upon entering, it is believed he grabbed a knife, similar to those used on the production floor of Vaughan Foods, and beheaded 54-year-old Colleen Hufford, an employee at Vaughan Foods.
Then, Nolen supposedly attacked 43-year-old Traci Johnson, another employee in the plant, before he was stopped by gunfire. Mark Vaughan is the company’s chief operating officer as well as a reserve deputy sheriff for Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department, and it was only after he shot Nolen the attack stopped.
Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told the LA Times, detectives will recommend prosecutors to charge Nolen with first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
After he was released from prison in 2013 on drug related charges, Nolen reportedly became more religious and co-workers at Vaughan Foods said he had tried to convert them to Islam.
A Facebook page under the name “Jah’Keem Yisrael,” was used by Nolen before the attacks according to CNN. The page contains pictures of Nolen as well as posts and pictures regarding Islam and the Quran. Some of these pictures are of al-Qaeda chiefs as well as the 9/11 attacks.
There were also disturbing posts on this Facebook page. One post reportedly showed a beheaded man with the quote, “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.”
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches made a statement Saturday saying, “The Islamic Community of Oklahoma has consistently condemned all violence — most especially acts of violence ostensibly carried out in the name of Islam… Along with our Muslim brothers and sisters we affirm that true Islam is, in fact, a religion of peace and that those inflicting violence in the name of Islam are perverting Islam for their own ends.”
After undergoing surgery, Nolen spoke to investigators on Friday, but no details have emerged form these interviews.
LONDON, September 9, 2014 – British Muslim extremist Anjam Choudary appeared on CNN’s ” Reliable Sources” Sunday morning. During his interview, Choudary defended his radical religious views and even went as far as referring to President Obama as a tyrant.
When pressed, Choudary refused to condemn the killing of American journalists by the Islamic State saying, journalists are “the propaganda machine of the Obama administration”; and claiming that Muslims in the region are not making distinctions between (Western) civilians and military “because they see that the general populace of America have revoted for people like Obama and Bush who continue their policy of tyranny in the area.”. You can hear his full interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter here:
KHARTOUM, Sudan, May 15, 2014– A Sudanese judge has sentenced a twenty-seven-year old, pregnant Christian woman to be hung for apostasy, which is the renunciation of one’s religion. Before Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag (her Christian name) is to be executed, the judge ordered she be given 100 lashes. Despite Western protest, the execution is scheduled to move forward.
“We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam,” Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa told the woman on Thursday while addressing her by her father’s Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah.
“I sentence you to be hanged to death.”
Protesters demonstrated against the verdict. These protesters were met by another group that supported the verdict.
“It’s not only Sudan. In Saudi Arabia, in all the Muslim countries, it is not allowed at all for a Muslim to change his religion,” said Ahmed Bilal Osman, Sudan’s information minister, while speaking to AFP news on Wednesday.
LOS ANGELES, March 20, 2014– “Tehrangeles” (Tehran+Los Angeles) is a nickname bestowed upon the southern California city known to many locals. The city boasts the largest Persian population in America and has a climate perfectly parallel to that of Iran.
As the Persian New Year, Norooz, approaches I cannot help but reflect upon baba joon’s (dad) life. Baba joon stands six feet tall and weighs approximately 190 pounds. Faint strands of gray hair paint his otherwise jet-black receding hairline. He is approaching his mid-fifties. Although time has been kind to him, in the right light, pain and sorrow stream through his slowly wrinkling face.
He makes various odd noises consisting of ever changing tone and pitch- It’s a Persian thing. I have only seen him cry once. This of course, made me cry- It’s a man thing.
Pride is of absolute, sovereign importance in our culture. My father’s pride was stolen from him and millions like him when they were forced to exile Iran because of the Islamic regime beginning in the late 1970s.
Together, he and I walked across the pier at a Norooz celebration called Chahar Shanbe Suri, which occurs on the last Wednesday of March. Thousands gathered for the event. Walking along the pier, which was about 600 yards away from the main event, we could still hear the loud music and celebration of joy and laughter.
The Persian national anthem began to play and baba joon’s face lit up. He perked up and began to softly sing the words. With a background sound of thousands singing in unison, I listened to my father’s voice. It is strong, full of pride, but also sorrow. After the first few versus, his face began to reflect this sorrow.
He broke song, “Iran use to be the greatest country in the Middle East.” He continued, “That all changed after the regime change. It could be the greatest country in the Middle East again in only a week if the regime was gone.”
The Islamic regime tried, unsuccessfully, to ban Norooz celebrations because it has roots in the Zoroastrian traditional religion of the Persian people.
The regime also attempted to ban the Persian anthem. One can rarely hear it in Iran today. Him hearing it at the celebration was truly music to his ears.
Anyone who would claim political Islam does not present innate danger to liberty is either inherently ignorant, or inherently ignorant. These claims are irrational, and insulting to myself, my family and all Persian people who seek liberty. The dangers of political Islam are undeniable.
Before the current regime, which was put in place during the Islamic Revolution, men, women and children were free to do as they please. The video below shows Iran before political Islam destroyed the lives of millions.
More than thirty years later, the video below shows a young woman by the name of Neda who was murdered by the Islamic regime’s thugs. Neda was walking through a protest after the regime rigged the June, 2009 elections. She was shot and left to die. She carried no arms, not even a sign. I’ve been watching this video since my sophomore year of college. I cry every time.
Before 1979, Christians, Jews and people of all faiths lived in Iran freely. Since then, untold numbers have been killed, imprisoned, exiled or took on refugee status.
“In Iran, Islam is the only political party now,” said baba joon.
In opposition to the rigged 2009 elections, Persians started the “Green Movement”. Millions took to the streets. Hundreds were killed and imprisoned by the government. In fact, the opposition leaders are still under strict house arrest. The Islamic regime has literally walled off their houses and will not allow them to leave. They haven’t been charged with a single crime. However, they are now political prisoners. Due process? Not under political Islam.
What American liberals refuse to understand is that political Islam is not about tolerance. It is the antithesis of tolerance.
The night’s celebration is over and we return home. Baba joon looks over our traditional Norooz table setting called Haft Seen. He picks up the flower vase, which is full of a blossoming purple flower called sonbol, and becomes captivated by the aroma. I can see it in his eyes. He is reminiscing of his childhood home. A free home, copious of a prospering, free people. The place where his mother and father raised him and his siblings before fleeing the Islamic regime.
He brings the flowers over to me. “Smell these Michael. It is the most beautiful scent you will ever smell,” he says. As if he has forgotten he just brought the flowers over to me, he calls me over to the table ten minutes later… “Smell theses… I’m telling you. It is fascinating.” He spends more than 20 minutes tending the flowers. Not only does he smell something, he sees something.
Something I can only see through figments painted by his eyes.
In Iran, where Islam is the majority, it is important to understand that minority rights are not allowed. In Iran, women, Christians, Jews, homosexuals and all other minorities are all persecuted under Islamic law. They are killed, stoned and imprisoned.
This is a matter of fact. To deny it, is to deny my family their dignity and sacrifice. To deny it, is to deny the Persian people their grievances. To deny it, is to insult the lives of millions who are now dead, wounded, living as refugees, or imprisoned because of political Islam.
In America, I can write this freely. In Iran, I wouldn’t even be able to access this website. I will be damned if I allow such tyranny to take over the very country my father sought refuge and freedom in.
It is important to understand the difference between Islam and political Islam. One is simply a religion. The other, a political party insidiously painted under the guise of religion.
Tolerance of those who wish to pursue peace, liberty and tolerance themselves should always be encouraged in America no-matter the channel. Challenge and opportunity meet any individual willing to take on this endeavor. However, in pursuance of this greater understanding, jurisprudence must be exercised so that liberty may live on.
In 1986 my father came to America from Iran. He found himself alone, broke and isolated in the southern United States. He couldn’t speak a word of English, had $75 in his pocket and one bag of belongings. He would soon meet a southern belle from Savannah who I would grow up to call mom. My father came to America to escape the Islamic Revolution. He is a man of strong conservative convictions and a thirst for freedom, liberty and justice. These values are reflected strongly in me. Most in my family are Christian. Many of those still in Iran do not claim Islam as their religion, but would in fear of persecution. It is important to understand that there is an undeniable dichotomy in Islam where extremism lives, and does not.
Religion has long been a scapegoat for extremism. It is the perfect vector in a sense because it is often protected from legislative action in America. I will start by saying that I know many Muslims who are friends, neighbors, co-workers and peers. Many are peaceful and are shameful of the behavior that is exhibited through Islam. However, the cover-up of the core direction of Islam in America cannot be ignored. At the Democratic National Convention in 2012 Democrats tried to remove God and Israel from the party’s platform. Once this hit mainstream media the chairman allowed for the rules to be changed to allow for an amendment. An amendment was made to reinsert God and Israel into the party platform, which required a 2/3 vote for approval. The vote was clearly not in favor of adding God and Israel back into the platform, but in a video a woman is seen telling the chairman to ignore the delegates and approve it anyways. In the same video of the event, Muslims are seen furious with the adoption of the amendment. Also assess the fact that Benghazi was blamed on an anti-Islam video by the Obama administration and not a premeditated attack by Muslim radicals. Through the Benghazi hearings we now know this to be a lie. Many defend Muslim prayer in public schools, and will simultaneously condemn optional bible courses. How does this hold salt?
An innate difference between Islam and the other Abrahamic religions exists, and it is that many Muslims are radicalized through the Islamic liturgy. Also, it is essential to understand that Islam is not only a religion, but a form of government. This is not so for the other two Abrahamic religions. In 2003 a young man named Carlos Bledsoe moved from Memphis, TN to Nashville to attend Tennessee State University (TSU). Carlos’ father, Melvin Bledsoe, says that Carols became involved with radical Islam professors and groups at TSU and started attending the Islamic Center of Nashville. Here he was radicalized and changed his name to Abdulhakim. Now he sits in a federal prison for the murder of Army PFC William Long. Abdulhakim (Bledsoe) said in an interview, “It was not murder, murder is not justified. What I did is justified under Islamic law. It was justified by common sense. We believe we have to strike back.”
I am of the libertarian-republican strain, and therefore I hold in high regard freedom of religion and the First Amendment. Let it be understood though that when people come to America to use our rules against us, chaos is bred. Recently in Tennessee the Obama/Holder Justice Department sent Bill Killian, U.S. attorney, to warn citizens that they could be persecuted for exercising their first Amendment rights to speak out against Sharia law in America. What the Obama administration and radicalized Muslims fail to understand is that religion may be exercised freely, but it may not supersede constitutional law in this country. Floyd Abrams, one of America’s most respected First Amendment attorneys, is quoted as saying of Killian: ”He’s just wrong. The government may, indeed, play a useful and entirely constitutional role in urging people not to engage in speech that amounts to religious discrimination. But it may not, under the First Amendment, prevent or punish speech even if it may be viewed as hostile to a religion. And what it most clearly may not do is to stifle political or social debate, however rambunctious or offensive some may think it is.”
Examine any religious script and you can find a case for rape, murder, polygamy, incest, mass-killings and more. However, we do not practice this, and encroach upon the liberty of others because these scripts say in the name of God it is acceptable. A line does exist. In Syria, where the line does not exist, an Al Qaeda rebel recently cut out the heart of a Syrian soldier and ate it. The rebel is quoted claiming the act in the name of Allah.
Tolerance of those who wish to pursue peace, liberty and tolerance themselves should always be encouraged in America no-matter the channel. Challenge and opportunity meets any individual willing to take on this endeavor. However, it is important to understand that in countries where Islam is the majority, minority rights are not allowed. In these countries women, Christians, homosexuals, etc. are all persecuted under Islamic law. Meanwhile, in countries where Islam is the minority those of the extremist class demand “rights” to implement laws contrary to those of the Founders, which protect individual liberty.