(I already posted about this, but it’s my blog so I’ll revise it and say it as often as I please – .ed)
Voltaire said, “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it”.
The concept of vigorously defending free speech has faded to nothingness in Western society, a fact that was made clear during the Salman Rushdie “controversy”.
Muslim author Salman Rushdie wrote a book, published in Britain, called the Satanic Verses. Apparently something in the text violated Islamic Shariah laws. Political Islam, in the form of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, declared its right to condemn Rushdie, a Westerner living in Britain, and everyone associated with the book in any way, to to death in accordance with Sharia.
On February 14, 1989, a fatwa promising his execution was proclaimed on Radio Tehran by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran, calling his book “blasphemous against Islam.” Furthermore, Khomeini condemned Rushdie for the crime of “apostasy”—attempting to abandon the Islamic faith— which according to the Hadith is punishable by death. This was due to Rushdie’s communication through the novel that he no longer believes in Islam. Khomeini called on all “zealous Muslims” to execute the writer, as well as those of the publishers of the book who knew about the concepts of the book.
“I inform the proud Muslim people of the world that the author of the Satanic Verses book which is against Islam, the Prophet and the Koran, and all involved in its publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death.”
This fatwa didn’t just threaten the author of the book, it threatened everyone who was involved in its publication and everyone who was aware of its content.
This fatwa was (and is) a form of collective punishment.
Collective punishment is a term describing the punishment of a group of people for the crime of few. It is contradictory to the modern concept of due process, where each individual receives separate treatment based on their individual circumstances — as they relate to the crime in question.
Collective punishment defined as a war crime under the Fourth Geneva convention of 1949
This type of Fatwa is also a form of terrorism, defined by Amnesty International as a crime against humanity.
Terrorism, collective punishment and suppression of free speech are a violation of everything Western society is supposed to stand for. So, how did the Western world punish the Ayatollah for these crimes?
We didn’t. We didn’t even give him a ticket. Jaywalkers are punished more severely.
Rushdie chose to hide after this fatwa was issued. He lived to write more books and he’s currently married to a model. Others weren’t so lucky.
At the University of California at Berkeley, bookstores carrying the book were firebombed. On February 24 in Bombay, 5 people in a protest at the British Embassy died from police gunfire. Several other people died in Egypt and elsewhere. Muslim communities throughout the world held public rallies in which copies of the book were burned. In 1991, Rushdie’s Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarishi, was stabbed and killed in Tokyo, and his Italian translator was beaten and stabbed in Milan. In 1993, Rushdie’s Norwegian publisher William Nygaard was shot and severely injured in an attack outside his house in Oslo. Thirty-seven guests died when their hotel in Sivas, Turkey was burnt down by locals protesting against Aziz Nesin, Rushdie’s Turkish translator.
By not punishing the Ayatollah for his crimes, Western society as a whole decided to let the terrorists win. In many ways, they’ve been winning ever since. As a result of imposition of Sharia on Western society, people are reluctant to criticize, protest or offer any sort of dissent against it. That’s how collective punishment works.
That oppression is what inspired the latest controversial issue, the Jyllands Posten cartoons. [cartoons and commentary posted here]. These cartoons were created to bring attention the allegation that no artist was willing to illustrate a children’s book about Muhammad by the Danish writer Kåre Bluitgen without remaining anonymous, out of fear of revenge from extremist Muslims.
The result was protests, with weapons and without them. These peaceful and non-peaceful protesters are only reinforcing Jyllands Posten’s point. They aren’t just asking for an apology, they’re insisting that the West should respect the apartheid Sharia laws that violate everything we stand for.
Well, used to stand for…