The Test

        [COMMENT:  This article is a super rejoinder to the Islamic nonsense about the recent cartoons.  There are good ways to respond to radical Islam, and this article is a good example. 

        We need to call the Muslims on the carpet about their cowardice.  They see themselves as brave and bold for Allah.  That is not true.  Brave and bold people do not solicit children and women to do their fighting for them, they do not hide behind the fact that they are losing the war or that such cowardice is their only way to win.  Brave and bold people do not prefer violence to honest discussion.

        This is where their cowardice shows most clearly -- they are unwilling or unable to stand in public and have an honest discussion of the issues before us.  Their very Islamic mindset, determined by the nature of the Koran, prevents it. 

        Any appeal to reason puts one's position at risk because one might be proven wrong.  But if one is so wedded to one's position, so wedded to being "right" at any cost to anyone else, then an honest discussion is impossible.

        Honest discussion requires the participants to say:  "If I am wrong, I want to know, and I want to be corrected."   If I cannot honestly say that, then I am not engaging in honest discussion.

        The big problem, of course, is that most Christians (or atheists, or Jews, or whatever) cannot say that either.  So the world continues down its traditional road of power struggle and... cowardice.  Refusal to risk oneself in an honest discussion of truth. 

        Thanks be to God that Ezra Levant (see below) has that kind of courage. 

        There are signs that Christians are beginning to recover their intellectual credibility, and finding a willingness to take that risk.  That risk is part of the Way of the Cross -- giving up one's "right" to be right, and letting the truth and the Lord of truth speak for themselves.

        The only time for coercive force is when the possibility of honest discussion is being deliberately subverted.  Then you defend the freedom of discussion coercively, if necessary.   Those are the principles behind our American Constitution.   

        We must aggressively put Islam on the spot about this, force a response from them rather than always responding to them.  The logical end of defensive war is surrender (said Napoleon).  

        Sadly, the major media have no more interest in honesty than the radical Muslims.  The only difference is that the major media are owned by the current winners of the global contest for power.   I suspect that some of those current winners, just as with both world wars, are financing both sides of the Islam conflict, manipulating for their own interests.   E. Fox] 



February 15, 2006

Ezra Levant, a decent, honest, and courageous man -- and for those reasons much mocked by Canada’s smug political and media elites -- has explained clearly and unanswerably why the Western Standard magazine which he publishes (and in which I write), printed a selection of those Danish cartoons. It was the same reason they were reprinted by such prestigious European dailies as Corriere della Sera, La Stampa, and Die Welt.

It was because those cartoons are at the centre of a huge news story. A tremendous fuss is being made over them right around the planet, and readers in a free country should be shown what the fuss is about. It is especially important in this case, where the original cartoons were, by any Western standard, bloodless, bland, boring. Readers should not be left to assume that the cartoons were instead vicious, nasty, and intentionally offensive.

The Danish editor who originally commissioned the cartoons did not solicit attacks on Islam. He asked cartoonists to depict Mohammad as they imagine him. He asked because he was appalled by the self-censorship he smelled in the Danish air. It was not an anti-Islamic gesture; it was an act of freedom, against the fear of Muslim intimidation.

Why, for instance, should we be repeatedly told in news stories that all the cartoons insulted Muslims when most of them did not? Why should we be repeatedly told that the satirical ones insulted Islam’s Prophet, when what they satirize is obviously the use of the Prophet to justify terrorism? And now that we know the international furore was inspired, not by the Jyllands-Posten cartoons, but by fakes insinuated among them by delegations of Danish Muslims, why should we hold the Danish editor and cartoonists, to say nothing of all Denmark, responsible for anything?

It is to defeat such publicly-repeated lies, and to oppose public intimidation, that a publisher has the duty to show the original cartoons.

On this latter point, I am reminded of Michael Davies, the last family publisher of the Kingston Whig-Standard, for which I once worked. I was a fill-in night editor one evening when I got a note from him. It said that a friend of his, a certain local worthy, had been charged with drunk driving. This man had asked Mr Davies to keep his name out of the paper. Mr Davies asked me, therefore, to make sure his friend’s drunk driving charge was prominently reported.

That is how an honest publisher responds to being pressured. Not with “sensitivity”, which is the ancient vehicle for hypocrisy and deceit. A publisher need ask himself only one question. If the cartoons had been protested by Christians, would he have hesitated to print them?

Did newspapers across the West hesitate to print photos of the “Piss Christ”, or the “Dung Madonna”? Why suddenly so sensitive to religious feelings?

I wrote Saturday exculpating Muslims from the charge of hypocrisy in this matter -- for their double standard is plausibly written into their faith. But I cannot excuse the hypocrisy and cowardice of the Western media, who pose as fearless and impartial defenders of truth, regardless of consequences.

All this self-congratulatory lip-service to the free press, until the moment it means something. Chapters and Indigo have banned the “offending” issue of the Western Standard, as have other distributors. There is clucking from the CBC and other mainstream media. Mohamed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress -- himself on record for saying that every adult Israeli citizen is a valid military target -- threatening action under Canada’s recklessly-written and selectively-enforced “hate” laws. And Canada’s new defence minister weighing in with the observation that Mr Levant’s publishing decision will endanger our troops in Afghanistan -- accentuating the danger by his very remark.

I was impressed with Mr Levant’s rejoinder to all this. “I’m a little afraid myself,” he said, “but fine, so deal with it. Get security or just be careful. ... I'm not so afraid that I'm going to sell out our heritage of freedom."

Let us call the biggest bluff, the biggest lie. It is being constantly argued, in defence of cowardice, that such cartoons must not be published because they might “incite hatred against Muslims”. I doubt even one disinterested person could believe this, after a moment’s thought. A cartoon cannot hold a candle on events like 9/11 in Manhattan, or 3/11 in Madrid, or the London tube bombings, or the many, many thousand acts of savagery that have been done in the name of Islam in the last few years.

It is fear that makes people speak the opposite of the truth -- in this case, the fear that mere cartoons may further “incite violence by Muslims”.

The whole point of Islamist terrorism has been to instil such fear in the “infidel dogs” of the West. The fear is forgivable. The cowardice is not. The hypocrisy and lying is contemptible. And then it is done smugly.

David Warren  © Ottawa Citizen

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