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Blasphemy and Treason: The Influence of Islamic Law on Western Societies

For almost a century now, the idea of “modern Western civilization’ has been synonymous with the term “the free world.” This includes the United States (whose President is often called “the leader of the free world”), as well as Canada, Australia, Europe, and any other nation that has democratically-elected government. The “freedom” enjoyed by the citizens of these countries includes, most importantly, freedom of speech, and the freedom to chose one’s own religious beliefs (or to have none at all). These have been considered inalienable human rights since the philosophical revolution of the Enlightenment in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The rights guaranteed in free countries have been hard-won by the brave men and women, who have fought against tyranny for hundreds of years. Freethinkers who promoted unorthodox ideas have been martyred throughout the centuries by Catholic, Protestant, Communist, and National Socialist-controlled regimes. The primary push for democratically-elected governments to replace the existing monarchies of Europe came of the need to prevent tyrants from using the instruments of state to silence political critics. Often, a king’s enemies could be taken care of by accusing them of heresy or blasphemy – crimes that, if not repented, usually carried the penalty of death. Clearly, then, it was essential to the creation of a free society that the enforcement of laws regarding heresy and blasphemy had to be stopped.

Today, however, there is a new threat to the freethinking men and women of the free world. The threat comes not from Christian theocrats, but from radical Islamists. Even worse, the treasonous appeasers who are helping these extremists gain ground are not right-wing religious fundamentalists, but rather liberals and centrists who believe, erroneously, that they are helping to promote cultural diversity. In fact, they are merely assisting the global domination of one extremist, expansionist culture, and the eventual annihilation of all others. For these are precisely the stated goals of all radical Islamists.

The last two years, from 2004 to 2006, have witnessed a marked increase in attempts by Muslim lobbying groups to impose Islamic religious and cultural taboos upon Western societies. It started slowly. In Britain, companies began imposing bans on images of pigs in the workplace, due to pressure from Muslim groups, as pigs are anathema to Islam. Also in Britain, Burger King was forced to recall an ice cream cup they were selling because of the death threats that ensued when they were accused of placing a logo on the lid which resembled the Arabic glyph for “Allah.” The design was merely meant to look like soft-served ice-cream. In Germany, a man was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for selling a roll of toilet paper on Ebay that had the word “Koran” printed on it. He was charged with a hate crime, but the people who threatened to kill him for his crime were not.

However, each of these incidents went mostly unnoticed by the mainstream media, especially in the United States. Then something happened which forced them to confront the issue, if only briefly and weakly. In September 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons that they had specifically commissioned. They had asked the cartoonists to draw a representation of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, according to their own perception of him. They were testing an Islamic taboo which, while not based in the Koran, has been used to persecute Muslim heretics for centuries. The taboo states that one should not create any physical depictions of Mohammed, or else one will bring about a curse. When the Danish newspaper published these twelve cartoons, local Islamic leaders accused the Editor of “blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed.” One of these Danish Imams, Abu Laban, then toured the Middle East, stirring up rage about the cartoons in every nation.

In the widespread global rioting which followed, and which continued for over a month, 167 people were killed, thousands were injured, and dozens of Western businesses and embassies were destroyed. Yet instead of condemning the death and destruction, the UN, the EU, and several Western governments, including the US State Department, condemned the publication of the cartoons. These same entities made statements indicating that freedom of speech did not include the freedom to offend religious sensibilities. These statements legitimized the violent reactions occurring not only in Islamic nations, but among the Muslim populations of Western nations as well. Moreover, these statements had a chilling effect on the practice of journalism, as news outlets fell into line with the new taboo.

The rioting had already been going on for a full week before the television news media began to report it. This was no accident. The editors and producers of mainstream television and print news media outlets refused to show the very cartoons that were central to the story, supposedly out of “respect for Islam.” But truthfully, these same media outlets were not particularly known for respecting religious beliefs. It was clear that the true motivating factor was fear. They had received the implicit message sent to them by their respective governments: “If you show these cartoons, we will not protect you from the violent Muslim reaction that is sure to ensue.” In fact one British newspaper, The Liberal, was literally given this exact message by Scotland Yard, and then decided to back down from their previous decision to print the cartoons. But without being allowed to show the purportedly offensive graphics, news outlets were not able to report the story. So the story was underplayed, and then quickly dropped, long before it was over.

While the American media largely pretended that the issue was settled, Muslim clerics were agitating the faithful in Europe. The cartoonists apologized, but Islamic leaders declared that apologies were not acceptable. Those responsible must be punished with death, they declared. The cartoonists, as well as the Editor of the Danish newspaper, were forced into hiding out of fear for their lives.

Meanwhile, a full-scale European intifada was fomenting. Outside of the Danish embassy in London, British Muslims held a rally against not only Denmark, but against Western civilization. Dressed like Palestinian suicide bombers, they held signs that said: “Europe, you will pay. Your 9/11 is on its way”; “Behead those who insult Islam”; “Freedom go to Hell”; and, “Get ready for the real Holocaust.” The head of the group led them in chanting the words “Denmark, watch your back. Osama is coming back.” As this took place, the London Metropolitan Police stood around protecting the demonstrators from an outraged public. Only one participant in this open call to genocide was arrested, the next day, on an unrelated drug charge. When asked why no more arrests were made, the Metropolitan Police openly admitted that they feared violent reprisals from the Muslim community if they did so.

Despite the cowardice clearly demonstrated on the part of Western government authorities and mainstream media outlets, there were a few journalists, cartoonists and editors who stepped forward to bravely defend and exercise freedom of speech. But each one of these individuals has been confronted with an onslaught of suppression and intimidation, not only from Muslim groups, but from their own colleagues as well. Dozens of editors, mostly of college papers or alternative newsweeklies, have been fired or suspended in the United States alone because they chose to republish the Danish Mohammed cartoons, or other related material. Dozens more have lost their jobs in Europe, Canada, and Australia. Not surprisingly, and editor in Jordan has been jailed for publishing the cartoons, while a newspaper in Yemen had its printing license suspended, and its Editor is now facing the death penalty.

Not satisfied with merely suppressing the supposedly offensive graphics, many Western media outlets, in a desperate bid to anticipate and capitulate to the next Muslim extremist demand, have now decided that all criticism of Islamofascism must be silenced as well. In Britain, syndicated columnist Mark Steyn was dropped by two newspapers for having the nerve to speak out against the Muslim intimidation of the media. In Oregon, a student newspaper agreed to allow a panel of Muslim students to edit and censor each forthcoming issue of the paper, after a student op-ed piece criticizing the global Islamic over-reaction to the Danish cartoons caused a month-long protest from the Muslim Student Association.

Muslim extremist groups across the world saw this as a victory. They viewed the media’s behavior as a clear indication of the West’s surrender to terrorist threats. Seeing that they had the upper-hand, these Islamic groups decided to press the issue even further. They have finally decided to pursue their ultimate goal: forcing Western governments to trade in their modern secularist democracies in exchange for a Muslim theocracy governed by Sharia (Islamic law).

A recent poll by the BBC found that over fifty percent of Muslims living in Britain, even those born within the country, believe that the UK should be forced to change its legal system to one governed by Sharia. While the idea may seem abhorrent and far-fetched to most Americans, it is in fact a familiar demand to those in other Western countries. In Ontario, Canadians actually had to pass a bill outlawing the practice of private religious tribunals, after it was discovered that Muslims were setting up Sharia courts in their own neighborhoods to deal with religious crimes such as adultery. The Canadian Muslims protested, claiming not only that Sharia courts should be allowed to continue, but that their rulings should be recognized as binding by Canadian law. Ontarians rejected this idea, but in the Muslim-dominated suburbs of France, Sharia courts have been operating for years without interference, as the appeasing French government looks the other way. The police have even dubbed these Muslim neighborhoods “no-go zones”, where French law is unenforceable and Sharia reigns in its steed.

Yet many Muslims believe that this is not good enough. They argue that not only should Muslims living in Western countries be judged according to Sharia law, but so should all citizens of all countries. This is why the governments of Pakistan, Turkey and Spain have jointly asked the United Nations to create international legislation banning blasphemy against Islam. It is a step the UN seems all too willing to take, as they have already attempted to persuade the government of Denmark to prosecute the Editor of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Denmark has wisely resisted that pressure. But other countries in Europe seem likely to buckle. Norway and Sweden are considering the revival of long-dead anti-blasphemy laws from centuries ago, which would then have to be altered to prohibit insults against Islam. Sweden has already begun shutting down websites considered offensive to Muslims. Turkey, a Muslim-dominated country which is looking to join the European Union in the coming years, has already submitted a demand for continent-wide anti-blasphemy legislation. As of this writing, only the foreign ministers of Denmark and Holland have spoken out against this proposal. So far, the possibility of anti-blasphemy legislation has gone completely unreported by the American mainstream media.

However, in March 2006, a Fox News legal analyst named Mercedes Colwin argued that depictions of the prophet Mohammed were not protected by the First Amendment, because, she said, they inherently incite violence by Muslims. A similar point of view was expressed by Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf when he announced his campaign for international anti-blasphemy legislation, arguing that insults against Islam should be considered “intellectual terrorism”, which must be stamped out before other forms of terrorism can be stopped. The US State Department and President Bush, meanwhile, have been silent on the issue.

This is a warning to all those who value freedom. The Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the colonization of the New World were all influenced by persecuted heretics fleeing from, and fighting against, the tyranny of theocracy. But if international blasphemy laws are passed and enforced by Western countries in our own time, there will be no place for modern-day freethinkers to flee to. The “free world” that we hold so dear will have submitted to the yoke of Sharia, and once again the streets will run red with the blood of heretics.