Diana West

One answer is because people who do not believe in Allah, from Sarah Palin to Gen. David Petraeus to assorted ministers and rabbis, have succumbed to a specifically Islamic brand of blackmail (the "or else" of violence or other outbreaks of "extremism"), thus accommodating and even lobbying for the uniquely Islamic prohibitions against written, pictorial or symbolic criticism. In so doing, they have also succumbed to the Islamic narrative. That narrative, or rationale, tells us that burning a Quran causes murder and mayhem, putting our troops, our citizens, our cities and our interests at increased risk. In this narrative, the actual bad actors are absolved of both volition and blame. Similarly, drawing cartoons of Muhammad (Kurt Westergaard, Lars Vilks) -- or not drawing cartoons of Muhammad ("South Park") -- sermonizing about violence within Islam (the Pope), and critiquing Islam (Geert Wilders' "Fitna") are increasingly viewed as unacceptably "insensitive" and "disrespectful" provocations in Western society, regardless of their free-speech protections.

"Do you now believe that people died because of this erroneous report?" Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita was asked way back in 2005, regarding Newsweek's retracted report that a Quran went down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay. "I do," he replied. "I absolutely do."

Guess that "erroneous report" should have gotten the electric chair -- or at least life without parole. Of course, last time I looked, that report was just as inanimate an object as the book entitled the Quran. Assuming these objects are not stolen property, either one could go into the incinerator or the library accordingly. Instead, of course, they go down in history as a kind of murderer and victim, with the non-Islamic world assuming all responsibility -- all guilt -- for the actions of barbarians who pillage and kill at the drop of, well, a Quran. This is rank capitulation to dhimmitude, the non-Islamic state of deference to Islamic law, and it is now being repeated in the misdirected Western offensive against the Florida preacher -- an effort that should be turned into an unapologetic defense of his constitutional rights. Repeat after me: The Constitution trumps Islamic law.

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).