In France today, high school teacher Robert Redeker has been living in hiding for two months. On September 19 Redeker published an op-ed in Le Figaro in which he decried Islamist intimidation of freedom of thought and expression in the West as manifested by the attacks against Pope Benedict XVI and against Christians in general which followed the pontiff's remarks on jihad earlier that month.
Redeker wrote, "As in the Cold War, where violence and intimidation were the methods used by an ideology hell bent on hegemony, so today Islam tries to put its leaden mantel all over the world. Benedict XVI's cruel experience is testimony to this. Nowadays, as in those times, the West has to be called the 'Free World' in comparison to the Muslim world; likewise, the enemies of the 'Free World,' the zealous bureaucrats of the Koran's vision, who swarm in the very center of the 'Free World,' should be called by their true name."
In reaction to Redeker's column, Egypt banned Le Figaro and Redeker received numerous death threats. His address and maps to his home were published on al-Qaida-linked Web sites and he was forced to leave his job, and flee for his life. While Redeker e-mailed a colleague that French police have set free the man they know was behind the threats to his life, Redeker recently described his plight to a friend in the following fashion, "There is no safe place for me, I have to beg, two evenings here, two evenings there... I am under the constant protection of the police. I must cancel all scheduled conferences."
For its part, Le Figaro 's editor appeared on Al-Jazeera to apologize for publishing Redeker's article.
This weekend British author Douglas Murray discussed the intellectual terror in the Netherlands. Murray, who recently published Neoconservativism: Why We Need It , spoke at a conference in Palm Beach, Florida sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He noted that the two strongest voices in Holland warning against Islamic subversion of Dutch culture and society - Pim Fortyn and Theo Van Gogh - were murdered.
The third most prominent voice calling for the Dutch to take measures to defend themselves, former member of parliament Ayan Hirsi Ali, lives in Washington, DC today.
Her former colleague in the Dutch parliament, Geert Wilders, has been living under military protection, without a home, for years. In the current elections, Wilders has been unable to campaign because his whereabouts can never be announced. His supporters were reluctant to run for office on his candidates' slate for fear of being similarly threatened with murder. Last month, two of his campaign workers were beaten while putting up campaign posters in Amsterdam.
In 2000, Bart Jan Spruyt, a leading conservative intellectual in Holland established a neoconservative think tank called the Edmund Burke Institute. One of the goals of his institute is to convince the Dutch to defend themselves against the growing Islamist threat. In the period that followed, Spruyt was approached by security services and told that he should hire a bodyguard for personal protection. Although he couldn't afford the cost of a bodyguard, the police eventually provided him with protection after showing up at his office hours after Van Gogh was butchered by a jihadist in the streets of Amsterdam in November 2004.
ANOTHER LEADING conservative voice, law professor and social critic Paul Cliteur distinguished himself for his repeated calls for freedom of thought and for the protection of the Dutch secular state. In the weeks after Van Gogh's murder, Cliteur was the target of unremitting criticism from his leftist colleagues in the press. According to a report by the International Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, his colleagues blamed him and his ideological allies for the radicalization of the Muslims of Holland.
Clituer reacted to their abuse by announcing on television that he would no longer speak out or write about the Islamic takeover of Holland.
As the Helsinki report notes, although the European Human Rights Convention stipulates that states must enable free speech, "Annemarie Thomassen, a former Dutch judge at the [European Human Rights Court] in Strasbourg, stated that the limits to freedom of speech in the European context lie where the expressed opinions and statements affect the human dignity of another person. This means that, according to her, in Europe one cannot simply write and say anything one wants without showing some respect to other persons."
IN BRITAIN itself, the fact that no media organ dared to publish the Danish cartoons of Muhammad last year is a clear indication of the level of fear in the hearts of those who decide what Britons will know about their world.
Melanie Phillips, the author of Londonistan , noted at the Freedom Center conference that what Britons hear is best described as "a dialogue of the demented." In this dialogue, European Islamists protest victimization at the hands of the native Europeans while threatening to kill them, and native Europeans apologize for upsetting the Muslim radicals and loudly criticize the US and Israel for not going gently into that good night.
In the meantime, jihadist ideologues and political leaders are flourishing in Europe today. In Britain, aside from happily helping Al-Jazeera's ratings, the government has hired Muslim Brotherhood members as counterterrorism advisers.
In the wake of the Muslim cartoon pogroms, the BBC invited Dyab Abou Jahjah, who heads the Arab European League, to opine on the cartoons on its News Night program. Jahjah, who is affiliated with Hizbullah, led anti-Semitic riots in Antwerp in 2002 in which his followers smashed the windows of Jewish businesses, chanted slogans praising Osama bin Laden, and called out, "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!" Most recently, Jahjah published cartoons depicting Anne Frank in bed with Adolph Hitler.
The first action that Yasser Arafat took in 1994 after establishing the Palestinian Authority was to attack Palestinian journalists, editors and newspaper offices. Journalists and editors were arrested and tortured and all were forced to accept PA control over their news coverage. The man charged with overseeing censorship was then information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo who in a later psychological warfare coup, signed the so-called Geneva Accord with Yossi Beilin in 2003.
This is the nature of our times. We are at war and those who warn of its dangers are being systematically silenced by our enemies who demand that nothing get in the way of our complacency with our own destruction.
If journalists, intellectuals, social critics, authors and concerned citizens throughout the world do not rise up and demand that their governments protect their right to free expression and arrest and punish those who intimidate and trounce that right, one day, years from now, when students of history ask how it came to pass that the Free World willingly enabled its own destruction, they will have to look no further than the contrasting fortunes of Al-Jazeera and Dyab Abou Jahjah on the one hand and Le Figaro and Robert Redeker on the other.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
Be the first to read Caroline Glick's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.