As we witness surging Muslim violence against non-Muslims in Afghanistan, Egypt and even here, the response seems increasingly that the victims must apologize to the perpetrators. In particular, the United States government – from President Obama on down – has been assiduously seeking forgiveness for giving offense to Islamic sensibilities by accidentally burning Qurans. This was felt necessary even in a case where the books had been defaced by captured Afghan jihadis as a means of encouraging their comrades to further acts of violence against us.
It seems that Christians are also widely considered to be at fault for having churches, Bibles and religious practices that offend the ascendant Islamists in Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Certainly, no apologies are forthcoming when the Christians are murdered or forced to flee for their lives, their churches and sacred texts put to the torch, etc.
And in America last week, a Pennsylvania judge felt the need to dress down a man assaulted for parading in a Halloween costume he called “Zombie Mohammed.” Far from punishing the perpetrator, a Muslim immigrant, Judge Mark Martin sympathized with him for the offense caused, noting – seemingly without objection – that it was a capital crime to engage in such free expression in some countries.
Worse yet, the judge suggested that the victim in this case had exceeded the “boundaries” of his “First Amendment rights.” Such a view seems to track with the Obama administration’s collaboration with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in fashioning international accords that would prohibit “incitement” against Islam.
This is a short step from – and enroute to – the OIC’s larger goal of banning and criminalizing any expression that offends Muslims or their faith. As such, it poses a mortal peril to the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech.
What is going on in country after country, in international forums like the UN Human Rights Council and even in some American courts is a calculated effort, backed by terrifying violence or its threat, to make us “feel subdued,” as the Quran puts it. The idea is to use Western sensibilities and civil liberties, notably, respect for the free practice of religion, to deny the rest of us our fundamental freedoms. These include the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and, yes, freedom of religion.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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