Diana West

Last week's column was about something that doesn't exist -- a multi-level strategy to combat the advance of sharia (Islamic law) across the West.

The strategy doesn't exist because there's little understanding that the entrenchment of sharia in the Western zone poses a threat to liberty in the Western zone.

This understanding doesn't exist because the critique of sharia (a legal system best described as sacralized totalitarianism) required to devise a defensive anti-sharia strategy, is not considered possible.

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Why not? The main obstacle is, well, the advance of sharia across the West. In other words, we cannot criticize the spread of sharia simply because sharia, or its influence, has spread. Thus, from Norway to New Haven, from BBC to Fox News, the reflex reaction to critical commentary -- even a newspaper page of political cartoons -- is to follow Islamic law and stop it (or try), or just shut up.

That's certainly what Yale University has done, as events beginning in August demonstrate. That's when news broke that Yale and Yale University Press were omitting the Danish Mohammed cartoons (and other Mohammed imagery) from a forthcoming book expressly about the Danish Mohammed cartoons.

This sudden act of censorship, Yale said, was due to fear of Muslim outrage over the Mohammed cartoons again turning into Muslim violence. (Roger Kimball, Stanley Kramer and I have laid out evidence that Yale's censorship was also due to fear of alienating Muslim donors.) This violence, along with general Muslim outrage, has its roots in Islamic legal prohibitions of life imagery, criticism of Mohammed and sarcasm about Islamic law -- all outlawed by the standard Al Ahzar University-approved sharia manual, Reliance of the Traveller, and all tools for the political cartoonist moved to comment on the connection between Mohammed and jihad violence. And why not? Indeed, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, arguably the most influential Islamic cleric in the world, calls Mohammed "an epitome for religious warriors."

The publication of the Danish cartoons forced the question: What is more important to the West -- freedom of speech, or Islamic law masquerading as something Orwellianly known as community harmony?


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).