March 01, 2006

Some Will Not Go Quietly

In a Europe seemingly paralyzed by fear, a dozen brave souls speak out in this translation in the Indland Jyllands-Posten.

MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

12 signatures

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Chahla Chafiq
Caroline Fourest
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Irshad Manji
Mehdi Mozaffari
Maryam Namazie
Taslima Nasreen
Salman Rushdie
Antoine Sfeir
Philippe Val
Ibn Warraq

All freedoms worth having must be fought for to be cherished. Dine-and-dash pacifists who risk nothing, deserve nothing, and very often get exactly that.

I will not go quietly into submission.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 1, 2006 07:03 AM | TrackBack

"This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field."

History is replete with events that contradict this statement. Mohammed was firmly rejected by those to whom he initially prophesized about his “vision” of a new religion. Rejecting denunciation, he drew the sword, raised an army and advanced Islam via force. The early clashes between Islam and the rest of the world resulted in the Christians responding with the Crusades. Force had to be used to counter force.

Doctrinally, Islam offers the conquered conversion, death or Dhimmi (a position subservient to Islam). The Qur’an and Hadith teach that it is okay to lie, cheat and kill for the advancement of Islam. Too many of the modern day Imams and Ayatollahs teach the violent advancement of Islam. With underpinning tenants and prophets like that, how can we overcome the struggle in the field of ideology?

Those who are counting state that there have been in excess of 4,000 Islamic terrorist attacks (violence) since 9-11 with thousands more occurring previous to 9-11. We are not in a struggle of ideology versus theology; we are in a struggle with theological despotism versus the rest of the world. Today the battlefield is violent and requires arms, and the arms will probably be required for many more years; or until the advantage is clearly against continued Islamic aggression. I believe Islam is at a point where it must change or face extinction. The rest of the world will not change and will not succumb to the religion of Islam. The sad fact is that much more blood will be spilled in the name of Allah.

Posted by: Old Soldier at March 1, 2006 09:19 AM

There is a huge lie in the first paragraph of Old Soldier's comment, that the Crusades were a response to militant Islam. Hardly. The west wanted access to trade routes. Can you spell "economic advantage"? The religious aspect was the equivalent of Bush's weapons of mass destruction. It got volunteers to fight an ultimately losing war and had nothing to do with reality.

Also, while reading the second paragraph I got a strange image of apartment dwellers paying rent to an Imam...

Posted by: Barbara Foster at March 1, 2006 11:06 AM

(1) barabara foster is ALL wrong on the crusades - her's is a typically brainwashed marxist explanation. in fact it is IDIOTIC.

lookit babs baby: there were CRUSADES fought in southern farnce, too - and OVER RELIGION BABY, NOT TRADE ROUTES!

babs: i suggest that you throw out your tired old discredited ready-made ideological knee-jerk templates. THINK CRITICALLY.

islam was NOT protecting trade routes; islam doesn't want to hold onto Jerusalem for the trade, and it doesn;t want to get at LEAST half of Jeruslaem today for the trade.

WAKE UP, BABS: Marxism was ALL WRONG - as an explanatory template and a social system!

(2) It's swell that these famous Left-leaning intellectuals have taken a universalist/non-relativist stand on human rights, but the REAL issue is: What are they willing to do about it?!

Are they willing to support a proactive, bold, aggressive counter-attack - including sanctions, blockades and even preemptive military strikes?

Will they urge their own nations to do more to help the USA and the UK and the other coalition members assist the emerging Iraqi democracy?

Will they support an end to immigration without assimiliation? Will they support the deportation of radical Muslims who incite violence? Will they demand that nations which don't allow its citizens the universal human rights outlined in the UN Declaration be demoted to "observer status" at the UN?

Will they at least criticize their comrades on the Left who - at best - have been skeptical of Bush, and at worst accused him of being a lying, torturing war criminal who went to war for oil/Halliburton/family revenge?

Or do they just want to sign petitions and send strongly worded, high-minded letters?

I suspect it's the latter, and we don't need them for that - we already got Blix and Baradei and Kofi for that!

I pray they prove me wrong, and that this represents the beginning of a more unified West. If that's the case, we will be more likely to have the resolve necessary to defeat the enemy in this - THE LONG WAR.

Posted by: reliapundit at March 1, 2006 11:27 AM

Barbara, I do not knowingly make false statements. Therfore, I take exception to your poor choice of words. You may understand history differently than I, but that does not give you license to proclaim that I have fostered a "lie".

"Trade routes" are what placed the peoples of the two religions in proximity but not, from accounts I've read, the motivation for the armed aggression on either's part. It became a matter of conflicting theology and regions of historical practice versus expansion.

Seeking less dangerous trade routes is what set Columbus and others upon their ventures.

Posted by: Old Soldier at March 1, 2006 11:27 AM

Wrong, Barbara--The trade routes had been in place and were used since 800AD. It was the problems within the Byzantine Empire and the invasion of the Seljukian Turks that became the basis for the series of wars called The Crusades. With the fall of Jerusalem in 1070 and the conquering of Diogenes in 1071 the Turks were able to overrun most all of Asia Minor.

This threatened the safety of Pilgrims who ventured to the Holy Land and cut off vital trade routes across the Continent. By 1092, Turks had conquered most of Asia Minor and not a single city or province remained Christian on the continent.

In 1095, the Pope called for the re-establishment of Christian Authority in the cities and provinces that had been conquered by the Turks...which I'm sure is what 'Old Soldier' was talking about.

And he's right.

The Turks began cutting off and limiting safe access to the Holy Land. Their militant spread across Asia Minor was what started the whole thing...The trade routes had been in use by the West since before 800AD.

Please do your homework before calling something someone says 'a huge lie'. There was 'a huge lie' in the comments section--but it was in your post, not his.

Posted by: WB at March 1, 2006 12:07 PM

"he Qur’an and Hadith teach that it is okay to lie, cheat and kill for the advancement of Islam."

And since when has the ambition of any nation, religion or ethnic group, in practice, behaved differently?

Posted by: Adam at March 2, 2006 01:43 AM

It's reliapundit who's all wrong. The Crusades in southern France were NOT about religion. Religion was the fig leaf that was used. What they were about was dwindling power of the Pope and french crown over the area's nobility as it oriented itself away from both of them, politically trying to gain more independence overall by seemingly orienting itself more towards Aragon than the French crown, in reality trying to straddle both and really belong to none. The Crusaders achieved material profits by, in defiance of all law of the time, being awarded the conquered areas as fiefs despite several of them technically being aragonese fiefs (The fact that the King of Aragon was killed at the battle of Muret didn't help secure Aragon's rights)

No, they were not about religion. They were about material gain through conquest for the landless lords of northern France who enriched themselves with the wealth of the south, stripping it bare to this very day, and for political influence of the Papacy which did not suffer anyone considering himself independent, let alone claiming the Pope might be wrong, or worse.

As for the manifesto, it's nice pandering to Americans with their primacy of freedom of expression. However, in most European countries, human dignity has primacy, and that includes Muslims. Europe isn't paralyzed by fear, it's asserting its priorities of values, be it in its concern about mockeries of faiths of all kinds or in the jailing of holocaust deniers such as Irving.

In that line, hate speech of any kind, especially such in a fashion fit to disturb the public peace, is frowned upon. Far from being paralyzed, several nations in Europe have been moving against Islamist hate preachers for quite a while. However, it is very disturbing that while the authors write freedom of expression on their flags, they seem to see limits themselves, but very selectively on the side of Islam. Such an attitude has nothing to do with democracy and everything with totalitarianism. If hate speech is to be condemned, then ALL hate speech.

The authors neglect to point out that the recent cartoon crap (for indeed, their quality was inferior) offended not just militant muslims, but millions and millions of peaceful modern and moderate muslims as well. It is the riots that make the media, protest notes and peaceful demonstrations aren't news. That the rioters are a negligible handful compared to the number of muslim in the world doesn't quite fit into the picture they paint.

That has nothing to do with the fight of democracy against totalitarianism. It is one totalitarianism against another. You do not achieve peace by fighting oppression with oppression, and you do not achieve peace by ignoring moderates and generalizing radical minorities. In fact, you're playing into the hands of the latter, since you sap the former of their motivation. Feeling that they can do what they want, it will not be acknowledged, they rather stay at home. This conduct, the failure to support and work with moderates, brought us Ahmadinejad not some blood-thirsty frenzy of the Iranian people.

Posted by: European at March 2, 2006 02:37 AM

Oh, and Reliapundit: I take it that as prioritization goes, truth isn't very high on your list, or you would by now admit that Blix was right and Bush was wrong. But hey, who am I to bother you with facts, huh? Much like you rant about whether people will support the deportation of hate preachers, when that is already happening for quite a while.

As for the universal declaration of human rights, shall I take your words to mean that the US, too, should be demoted to observer status?

Oh, by the way, I hate to tell you: No, Marxism was not all wrong. As an explanatory model, it is still widely used for various aspects.

I suggest rather than playing the western mirror image of islamism, you start concerning yourself with facts. As long as you believe slaughtering a few thousand people is "liberating" them and as long as you think telling people who they should vote for at gunpoint is "democracy", you will justly be derided.

Posted by: European at March 2, 2006 02:48 AM

My message is for christians and jews,: Islam is not a new religion. It is a complement to christianty and Judaism religions. This is why is said in Quran ( as an interpretation) that today your religion ( or deen) is complete. Unfortunately, Islam has been manipulated as a cover for Osama bin laden and his followers' interests ( may Allah perish them or show them the right path). At the time of prophets ( May peace be upon their souls), people of different religious backgrounds, were living in peace. So we don't we live in peace and leave this and work as one hand to fight those who want to separate religions and insite hatrd.

Mohammad Abdullah

Posted by: Mohammad at March 2, 2006 04:58 AM

I wasn't aware we had to worry about submission to totalitarian "Islamism." As for as conquests go, I'd say right now it's The West 1, Islamism 0, so we appear to be ahead of the game.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe at March 2, 2006 07:12 AM

Reliapundit is wrong. European is right.

Posted by: Shawn Harmon at March 2, 2006 09:44 AM

I have little confidence in this idea that we are in a worldwide conflict with a monolith Islamic foe. Indeed, Al Quaeda taken as a whole, seems little different to me than the Cocaine Drug Lords of the 1980s. If we learned anything from that "war on drugs" it was that it was a combination of tactics--not the least of which was reducing the demand for drugs through education, coupled with aggressive law enforcement and international cooperation--that reduced that problem down to manageable proportions.

I see similarities in the controversy we are having today over what to do about terrorism. It is notable that the main success stories against terrorism have been in Spain, Morrocco, Saudi Arabia and Britain where aggressive law enforcement, efficient and timely intelligence and legal systems have had far more impact than preemptive military actions.

Indeed, it seems that military action only increases terrorism. It is clear to me that, as it is becoming increasingly clear to top neoconservative theorists like Buckley and Fukuyama, that the so-called transformational theories that underpin the failed Bush Doctrine were way oversold. As Buckey has recently noted, our Iraq experience is a failure, and Fukuyama--a founder of many of the neoconservative tenets of the Bush Doctrine--has come out of the closet and confessed that his theories were grounded in overly optimistic assumptions about the culture of the Middle East.

Posted by: Jaxas at March 2, 2006 10:12 AM

No less a literary light and foreign policy gury than Robert Kaplan of the American Enterprise Institute, is making the case on the Washington Post op-ed page this morning that what you amusingly refer to on this blog as a "persistent vegetative state"--your definition of liberalism--is precisely the direction that Bush is being forced toward as he sees one by one all of the flawed groundstones of neoconservative theory on foreign policy, crumble into the dust they were composed of in the first place.

Posted by: Jaxas at March 2, 2006 10:19 AM

I agree with Old Soldier, "Islam must change or face extinction". The terrorist attacks are out of desperation; who in the year 2006 wants to regress to the year 630? What has always mystified me is that there aren't any innovations that I can connect to the Muslim world. They arm themselves with rifles designed by a Russian, and made in China, the populations of both countries hardly being co-religionists!

Posted by: Tom TB at March 2, 2006 10:30 AM

It really would not hurt for some of the anti-"Islamism" crowd (I'm still not sure what that word means) would read a book on strategy. We do nothing for our "war on terror" by conflating violent Islam with all of Islam. It seems willful ignorance to me to not admit that Islam is a religion with a following of over 1 billion people, spread all over the world, many of whom come from very different backgrounds. Would anyone argue that a Nigerian Catholic is the same as an American Baptist? Hardly. "Islam" does not need to "change or face extinction", because there is no mono-lithic "Islam." By simply assuming that most or all Muslims are sympathetic to and underastanding of Muslim terrorists is to give the terrorists more power than they deserve. Our strategy should be to discredit and marginalize them, and treat them merely as a criminal element. To treat them as a threat to our security worthy of the marshalling of our entire armed forces, a diminishment of our essential liberties, pre-emptive invasion of other nations and the hostility of the world in general, we're only given them more power and diminishing our own. To me this seems basic strategy, and yet there are those who seem unable or unwilling to comprehend this.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe at March 2, 2006 10:41 AM

TomTB, It is precisely statements like" "Islam must change or face extinction", that drive young, impressionable Islamic men to the ramparts of more extremist Islamic beliefs. Islam is a major world religion and the vast majority of that religion--like their Christian or Jewish counterparts--are moderate and peaceful.

That does not mean that they don't share a certain distrust and suspicion of the West owing to the dark history of the Crusades. But, their reaction to the forces of secularism is not all that different from the same dillemmas that affect Christians and Jews in the face of rapid scientific and technological developments that challenge the very fundament of faith and religion itself.

I suspect that all people of faith are going to have to change as their faith in certain beliefs about the age, nature and creation of the cosmos is upheavled by the discoveries of science. After all, we once believed with great certitude that the earth was the center of the Universe and had been created literally by the hand of God some 6,000 years ago. That belief--save for a few buffoonish fundamentalists and Biblical literalists of all faiths--is no longer considered tenable.

Thus, I would say that the Jerry Falwells, Pat Robertsons and James Dobsons of the world are in just as much danger of extinction unless they change as well.

Posted by: Jaxas at March 2, 2006 10:45 AM


Some interesting thoughts, but let me correct you on a few misconceptions.

First, William F. Buckley, while a leading conservative, is not a neo-conservative. I understand he is more of a foreign policy realist, and realists, in general do not believe in projecting power towards transformational efforts. Fukuyama may have been a neoconservative at some point, but the flip-flopper who called for the invasion of Iraq is hasn’t been what I would call a neo-conservative since about 2003. He has announced the end of history and the end of neo-conservatism, both of which will likely outlast him.

I also think that history will show that Bush’s overall transformative foreign policy is sound, if not immediate. The Taliban in Afghanistan were deposed, Saddam has been brought down in Iraq, and after two successful elections are working toward self rule while proving they are increasingly able to handle their own security as they have since last week's attempt to start a civil war have failed. Iraqi and Syria has been cast out of Lebanon. Regimes in Syria and Iran are teetering on the brink of revolt, and other Arab nations are openly at war with radical Islam.

Your solution to terrorism is what, exactly?

To do nothing, or treat a transnational theo-fascist political movement as a criminal enterprise, a philosophy that has only allowed terrorists networks to confidently grow and expand since at least the Ford Administration, through Democrats and Republicans alike?

You would treat a cancer by ignoring it, or by occasionally snipping off a few cells here and there while it metastasizes elsewhere in the body.

If you want to show me something better and more effective at combating terrorism than the neo-conservative transformational strategy, by all means, go ahead. If it seems viable, I’ll be among your most ardent supporters.

But don’t be an empty critic that pillories those attempting to solve a problem if you can’t propose a working solution, which is something that liberals—not true liberals of course, but those who have appropriated the name—have been completely unable to do since they took over the Democratic Party.

Running away from the problem is not a solution.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at March 2, 2006 11:13 AM

Jaxas, the difference is that Christians and Jews don't face a certain part of the globe when they pray five times a day, and wish death upon anyone else when their holy site is "desecrated" in their minds, when a non-believer visits. I don't understand why the American left stands up for women's rights, and the right to publish any cartoon, no matter how tasteless, but then caves when it involves Islam!

Posted by: Tom TB at March 2, 2006 11:26 AM

To European and Babs -

david kay and charles duelfer BOTH TESTIFIED that Saddam was in violation of UNSCR#1441 - and all preceding relevant UNSCR's which functioned as the armistice for the Gulf War.

that's a fact - THE TRUTH - and regardless of whether there were WMD stockpiles or not.

IN FACT: inspectors were meant ONLY TO AUDIT the full and final declaration by Saddam as mandated by UNSCR#1441.

IN FACT: inspoectors were NEVER supposed to functiion as detectives searching for WMD.

IN FACT Saddam filed a FALSE AND INCOMPLETE FINAL DISCLOSURE and this alone was a "casus belli."

WHY?! Becasue a mendacious final report coun't ever lead to a full and final audit.

THEREFORE: your opinion that Blix was right is INSANE and WRONG.

Saddam violated the armistice; therefore a state of war AUTIOMATICALLY existed.

I shouldn't have to remind ANYONE that deals with genocidal TYRANTS aren't worth the paper they are written on.

People who defend Saddam are scum.

Posted by: reliapundit at March 2, 2006 11:40 AM

Many of you here seem to take a benign view of Islam, and try to separate the extremists from the multitudes.

This defies the polling data, which demonstrate the deep-seated an d widespread support of terrorism and antagonism toward the West.

It may be based on the enormity of the problem which confronts the West, once the antipathy and belligerence of Islam is fully comprehended.

The theocratic precepts of enmity toward those outside the faith of Islam, and a duty to convert or subordinate them by the sword is set forth and has been acted upon repeatedly. but the rejoinder of the Westerners is incomprehension, and as with Hitler, they respond, "They can't REALLY mean that.

Here is a recitation of Islamic doctrine based on the Koran.

"Dhimmitude is the status that Islamic law, the Sharia, mandates for non-Muslims, primarily Jews and Christians. Dhimmis, "protected people," are free to practice their religion in a Sharia regime, but are made subject to a number of humiliating regulations designed to enforce the Qur'an's command that they "feel themselves subdued" (Sura 9:29).

This denial of equality of rights and dignity remains part of the Sharia, and, as such, are part of the law that global jihadists are laboring to impose everywhere, ultimately on the entire human race.

The dhimmi attitude of chastened subservience has entered into Western academic study of Islam, and from there into journalism, textbooks, and the popular discourse. One must not point out the depredations of jihad and dhimmitude; to do so would offend the multiculturalist ethos that prevails everywhere today.

But in this era of global terrorism this silence and distortion has become deadly. Therefore Dhimmi Watch seeks to bring public attention to the plight of the dhimmis, and by doing so, to bring them justice."

We may be playing the role of the three monk,eys, "See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil." But the evil intent and actions of Islam in pursuit of such goals, nevertheless does exist.

Posted by: Hassan at March 2, 2006 01:55 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with the letter signed by Rushdi, Lévy, et. al.
However, I think that all religion aside, people keep on bending over backwards in order to justify anything Bush does. This from users of this forum who urge others to think critically, while they rationalize even lies and threats on the part of the administration
On the other hand, it is undeniable that there is a significant number of muslim radicals who are willing to inflict harm on innocent people in order to "make a point". I don't presume to know their motivation and I don't know what the best way to deal with those people is, but I am sure it is not by attacking Americans who disagree with your policies; I am sure it's not by curtailing the freedoms you say you protect; and I am sure it is not by lying. Those who blindly support Bush seem to have forgotten how they were pulling their hair out when Clinton lied.

I think that the point of view on both sides is "I think critically, you don't". The truth is that when you start off like that, you already disproved your assertion.

One thing that cannot be denied, I believe, is that almost never before had our country been so divided. And all because of one guy.

So, even if none of you want to do it publicly, in this forum or elsewhere, take a step back and think critically about these issues you care so much about. However, the most important exercise is TO THINK CRITICALLY ABOUT ONSELF AND ONE'S IDEAS. And this by the way is a never-ending process, not a one-time event.

P.S. The really ironic part of this thread is that the letter is certainly no glowing endorsement of Bush; even a cursory reading will reveal this to you. Furthermore, most of the signatories are liberal humanists that have, at one point or another, condemned the Bush doctrine, the same way they condemn radical Islam. This is a common mistake that is made when people think in terms of black and white - they can only conceive of two sides, and it seems impossible to them that there might be more than one point of view.

Posted by: R. Mendoza at March 4, 2006 03:16 AM

R. Mendoza, I appreciate your attitude but take issue with some of your statements. You write
"Those who blindly support Bush seem to have forgotten how they were pulling their hair out when Clinton lied." This is irrelevant.

Many of us support policies beyond those undertaken by Mr. Bush and criticize him on many matters such as his inordinate restraint. We do not "support" him, but we criticize him for the insufficient number of troops initially committed to sustaining order in Iraq, permitting the initial lawlessness which led to the establishment of militias, becoming involved with the Byzantine machinations in the region, and much else.

We criticize him for compromising by not killing al-Sadr and annihilating his militia when we were engaged in combat with those forces. They have returned to haunt us.

We need to concentrate on the problems, not the personalities. Whatever inadequacies Mr. Clinton manifested are history, and we need to refocus.

You write that "... I don't presume to know their [Muslim radicals] motivation and I don't know what the best way to deal with those people is, but I am sure it is not by attacking Americans who disagree with your policies ..."

Some of us consider the objections to use of instruments such as eavesdropping to identify and interdict operations of those intending to harm us as enabling attacks that would harm American people.

Whatever the pretext, the results are unacceptable. Many of us view the naivete of these groups as fostering a situation inimicable to the welfare of the people of this country, whatever the motivation. These people are adrift, consumed by abstractions and ignore the reality of the threat. We should not use our system to permit people to have us commit assisted suicide. We are "on edge" as we view the matter as a threatening and life or death situation, and we do not want our lives and property and well-being sacrificed to sustain ritualistic behavior based on abstract concerns.

These "objectors" are acting contrary to our interests in a situation in which we are in mortal peril.

Parenthetically, you equate a letter signed by liberal humanists criticizing Mr. Bush (of whom I am probably more critical but for other reasons) with their criticism of radical Islam.

This moral equivalency does not seem rational. But aside from that, it does not note that we are a factor in this equation, and that our place and our interests should affect our positions. We are not detached observers, but participants with interests.

Posted by: hassan at March 5, 2006 01:09 AM