Englishman in NYC wrote an article for Metro New York, titled “In protest of the protest rally” about the recent free-speech gathering in front of the Danish embassy. In the article, he complained that “what started out as a laudable expression of support soon took on overtones of such vehement anti-extremism that it bordered on an extremism of its own”.
As one of the free speech extremists who attended the rally, I have to disagree with his assesment, so I wrote a letter to Metro NY’s editor that said:
The violent protests against the Danish cartoons were not an example of Muslims expressing their individually held opinions. The violent protests were an example of manufactured outrage, a well-coordinated political attack, organized by Islamist states like Iran and Saudi Arabia, in response to Denmark’s refusal to honor Islamic sharia laws.
A few months before the politically manufactured outrage campaign began, an Egyptian newspaper published the cartoons in an attempt to create a spontaneous explosion of spiritual indignation. No explosion occurred. Muslim readers ignored the cartoons. The explosion required the efforts of Islamist states and their Islamist-financed Imams to occur. There is nothing spontaneous and very little that is genuinely spiritual about the Islamist-organized “Arab street.”
We free-speech extremists were criticizing this manufactured political campaign against the State of Denmark, just as other free-speech extremists defended Salman Rushdie during the Satanic Verses controversy.
Just in case the political motivations behind this “spiritual indignation” are not clear, there’s the fact that Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi, a Pakistani cleric, made an offer of $1 million to anybody who kills the cartoonists responsible for the drawings.
As Tim Cavanaugh of Reason Magazine says in his article “Just Say No To Muhammad’s Hit Men”
“…with his cash offer, Qureshi cleared up vast fields of navel-gazing and bloviation. If you’re undecided on what the cartoon issue is really about, Qureshi has given the answer: It’s about people who believe you should commit murder over a difference of opinion. Everything else is just idle chatter.”
The people who believe that one should commit murder over a difference of opinion are the terrorism we’re supposed to be fighting.
A commenter at Englishman’ site, Rob, said:
There will be a “Freedom of Expression” rally in London in Trafalgar Square on March 25.
I wonder if there will be any boorish free speech extremists there who will might cross the line and suggest that it is uncivilized to violently threaten people who speak their mind.
How many sensitive reporters armed with their moral equalivence rehtoric will be in need of smelling salts due to the shock and horror of it all. In the face of fundamentalists who make very real and violent threats, the people in Trafalgar Square may put their hands on their hips in a threatening manner and utter a sarcastic remark or two.
My God!… a pox on both their houses.
Boorish free speech extremists unite! You have nothing to lose but your moral equivalence.