An Open Letter to the International Free Press Society

(Note: Lars Hedegaard has replied.)

Lars Hedegaard
International Free Press Society

Dear Lars,

I would like to ask you a question about freedom of speech and of the press.

Mark Steyn said at your September 11 conference in Denmark that we in the West must be free to criticize Islam—meaning that our own governments must allow us the freedom to criticize Islam.

I of course agree. As you may remember, when your organization was inaugurated in January 2009, I argued that it must put at the top of its agenda the call for the repeal of all hate speech laws in Europe. A month later Geert Wilders adopted the same position.

However, even if your organization succeeded beyond your and my wildest dreams, even if all hate speech laws throughout the West were done away with, even if our governments stopped telling us not to criticize Islam, even if the U.S. government didn’t come down like a ton of bricks on Pastor Terry Jones in Florida to prevent him from burning a Koran, how would that help someone in the position of Molly Norris in Seattle, Washington, who is under a fatwa for her simple cartoon advocating “Everyone Draw Muhammad Day”?

The threat to Norris’s freedom of speech and to her life does not come from the U.S. government—it comes from those Muslims who will seek to carry out Anwar al-Awlaki’s fatwa against her. What good does demanding the freedom to criticize Islam do for Norris? What good does it do for the Swedish cartoonish Lars Vilks whom jihadists are seeking to murder? What good does it do for your countryman Kurt Westergaard whom they have tried to murder? What good does it do for Geert Wilders who spends his life under 24 hour guard?

It doesn’t do them any good. The threat to their freedom of speech, the threat to their lives, is coming from Muslims residing in the West.

Which leads to a further question. If the program of the IFPS, even if carried out in full, would not and can not secure Molly Norris’s freedom of speech and her life, what measures would secure her freedom of speech and her life, so that a fatwa pronounced by a Muslim cleric in Yemen would not result in Molly Norris having to give up her identity and go into hiding?

You’re familiar enough with my writings to know where I’m going with this. Short of the departure of all believing Muslims from the West, there is no way to secure the freedom of speech and of the press from Muslim intimidation in the West. As long as a significant number of believing Muslims live among us, any fatwa pronounced by any Muslim cleric anywhere in the world against any Western writer or journalist means that there is a credible threat that a Muslim individual or a group of Muslims living in the same country as the targeted journalist will seek to execute the fatwa, and therefore the fatwa means the end of that Westerner’s freedom of speech. It also means the end of the freedom of speech and of the press of all the people who, afraid to put themselves in the same danger as the individual who has been condemned to death, preemptively suppress their own speech.

The IFPS’s program to protect fundamental Western freedoms is admirable and necessary. But it is inadequate, because it is only directed at suppression of speech coming from our own governments. It is not directed at suppression of speech coming from Muslims, whose numbers and power are continually increasing among us. Even if the IFPS program were carried out in full, it would leave any and all Western Islam critics exposed to the possibility of an Islamic fatwa which would instantly take away their freedom of speech and all their other ordinary freedoms as well. As the Molly Norris situation makes crystal clear, there is only one way to secure Westerners’ freedoms and lives from Islamic death threats, and that is by removing the carriers of Islam from the West.

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence Auster
View from the Right

- end of initial entry -

N. writes:

Somehow it escaped my attention that the fatwa issued against Molly Norris, artist now in hiding, was decreed by Anwar al-Awlaki who was the imam to several 9/11 hijackers, as well as Fort Hood assassin. According to his biography at Wikipedia, Anwar al-Awlaki holds dual citizenship; U.S. and Yemeni, due to his birth in a New Mexico college town in 1971 while his father was studying economics at a state university.

So we have the ominous spectacle of an American woman being forced into perpetual hiding by a religious death threat issued by another American citizen. It is true that so far as anyone knows, Awlaki is supposedly in Yemen at this time rather than the U.S., so we are still at least one step removed from a fully home-grown jihad. But the trend is clear, and the precedent is set.

Molly Norris would be in no less danger if Awlaki had issued his fatwa from a mosque in Virginia, surely. This situation points to both the absurd results of misreading the 14th Amendment, and to the dangers of Moslem immigration. One has to be willfully blind not to see this.

Clark Coleman writes:

In the IFPS entry, it is mentioned that the Yemeni cleric is an American citizen. Why would no one in the U.S. Government have revoked his citizenship already, based on his fatwas and relationship to terrorists? Are there any men with chests in the government?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 28, 2010 12:07 AM | Send

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