Mark Steyn: Bowing to Islam

Bowing to Islam’s view (of us)


While I’ve been talking about free speech in Copenhagen, several free speech issues arose in North America. I was asked about them both at the Sappho Award event and in various interviews, so here’s a few thoughts for what they’re worth:

Too many people in the free world have internalized Islam’s view of them. A couple of years ago, I visited Guantanamo and subsequently wrote that, if I had to summon up Gitmo in a single image, it would be the brand-new copy of the Koran in each cell: To reassure incoming prisoners that the filthy infidels haven’t touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Korans are hung from the walls in pristine, sterilized surgical masks. It’s one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it’s hard to see why it’s in the interests of us infidels to string along with it and thereby validate their bigotry. What does that degree of prostration before their prejudices tell them about us? It’s a problem that Muslims think we’re unclean. It’s a far worse problem that we go along with it.

Take this no-name pastor from an obscure church who was threatening to burn the Koran. He didn’t burn any buildings or women and children. He didn’t even burn a book. He hadn’t actually laid a finger on a Koran, and yet the mere suggestion that he might do so prompted the president of the United States to denounce him, and the secretary of state, and the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, various G7 leaders, and golly, even Angelina Jolie. President Obama has never said a word about honor killings of Muslim women. Secretary Clinton has never said a word about female genital mutilation. General Petraeus has never said a word about the rampant buggery of pre-pubescent boys by Pushtun men in Kandahar. But let an obscure man in Florida so much as raise the possibility that he might disrespect a book – an inanimate object – and the most powerful figures in the Western world feel they have to weigh in.

Aside from all that, this obscure church’s website has been shut down, its insurance policy has been canceled, its mortgage has been called in by its bankers. Why? As Diana West wrote, why was it necessary or even seemly to make this pastor a non-person? Another one of Obama’s famous “teaching moments”? In this case teaching us that Islamic law now applies to all? Only a couple of weeks ago, the president, at his most condescendingly ineffectual, presumed to lecture his moronic subjects about the First Amendment rights of Imam Rauf. Where’s the condescending lecture on Pastor Jones’ First Amendment rights?

When someone destroys a Bible, U.S. government officials don’t line up to attack him. President Obama bowed lower than a fawning maitre d’ before the King of Saudi Arabia, a man whose regime destroys Bibles as a matter of state policy, and a man whose depraved religious police forces schoolgirls fleeing from a burning building back into the flames to die because they’d committed the sin of trying to escape without wearing their head scarves. If you show a representation of Mohammed, European commissioners and foreign ministers line up to denounce you. If you show a representation of Jesus Christ immersed in your own urine, you get a government grant for producing a widely admired work of art. Likewise, if you write a play about Jesus having gay sex with Judas Iscariot.

So just to clarify the ground rules, if you insult Christ, the media report the issue as freedom of expression: A healthy society has to have bold, brave, transgressive artists willing to question and challenge our assumptions, etc. But, if it’s Mohammed, the issue is no longer freedom of expression but the need for “respect” and “sensitivity” toward Islam, and all those bold brave transgressive artists don’t have a thing to say about it.

Maybe Pastor Jones doesn’t have any First Amendment rights. Musing on Koran burning, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer argued:

[Oliver Wendell] Holmes said it doesn’t mean you can shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater… Why?  Because people will be trampled to death. And what is the crowded theater today? What is the being trampled to death?

This is a particularly obtuse remark even by the standards of contemporary American jurists. As I’ve said before, the fire-in-a-crowded-theater shtick is the first refuge of the brain-dead. But it’s worth noting the repellent modification Justice Breyer makes to Holmes’ argument: If someone shouts fire in a gaslit Broadway theatre of 1893, people will panic. By definition, panic is an involuntary reaction. If someone threatens to burn a Koran, belligerent Muslims do not panic – they bully, they intimidate, they threaten, they burn and they kill. Those are conscious acts, at least if you take the view that Muslims are as fully human as the rest of us and therefore responsible for their choices. As my colleague Jonah Goldberg points out, Justice Breyer’s remarks seem to assume that Muslims are not fully human.

More importantly, the logic of Breyer’s halfwit intervention is to incentivize violence, and undermine law itself. What he seems to be telling the world is that Americans’ constitutional rights will bend to intimidation. If Koran-burning rates a First Amendment exemption because Muslims are willing to kill over it, maybe Catholics should threaten to kill over the next gay-Jesus play, and Broadway could have its First Amendment rights reined in. Maybe the next time Janeane Garafolo goes on MSNBC and calls Obama’s opponents racists, the Tea Partiers should rampage around town and NBC’s free-speech rights would be withdrawn.

Meanwhile, in smaller ways, Islamic intimidation continues. One reason why I am skeptical that the Internet will prove the great beacon of liberty on our darkening planet is because most of the anonymous entities that make it happen are run by people marinated in jelly-spined political correctness. In Canada, an ISP called Bluehost knocked Marginalized Action Dinosaur off the air in response to a complaint by Asad Raza, a laughably litigious doctor in Brampton, Ontario. Had his name been Gordy McHoser, I doubt even the nancy boys at Bluehost would have given him the time of day. A similar fate briefly befell our old pal the Binksmeister at In other words, a website set up to protest Islamic legal jihad was shut down by the same phenomenon. In America, The New York Times has already proposed giving “some government commission” control over Google’s search algorithm; the City of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the Constitution signed, is now so removed from the spirit of the First Amendment that it’s demanding bloggers pay a $300 “privilege” license for expressing their opinions online. The statists grow ever more comfortable in discussing openly the government management of your computer. But, even if they don’t formally take it over, look at the people who run publishing houses, movie studios, schools and universities, and ask yourself whether you really want to bet the future on the commitment to free speech of those who run ISPs. SteynOnline, for example, is already banned by the Internet gatekeepers from the computers at both Marriott Hotels and Toronto Airport.

But forget about notorious rightwing hatemongers like me. Look at how liberal progressives protect their own. Do you remember a lady called Molly Norris? She’s the dopey Seattle cartoonist who cooked up “Everybody Draws Mohammed” Day, and then, when she realized what she’d stumbled into, tried to back out of it. I regard Miss Norris as (to rewrite Stalin) a useless idiot, and she wrote to Mark’s Mailbox to object. I stand by what I wrote then, especially the bit about her crappy peace-sign T-shirt. Now The Seattle Weekly informs us:

You may have noticed that Molly Norris’ comic is not in the paper this week. That’s because there is no more Molly.

On the advice of the FBI, she’s been forced to go into hiding. If you want to measure the decline in western civilization’s sense of self-preservation, go back to Valentine’s Day 1989, get out the Fleet Street reports on the Salman Rushdie fatwa, and read the outrage of his fellow London literati at what was being done to one of the mainstays of the Hampstead dinner-party circuit. Then compare it with the feeble passivity of Molly Norris’ own colleagues at an American cartoonist being forced to abandon her life: “There is no more Molly”? That’s all the gutless pussies of The Seattle Weekly can say? As James Taranto notes in The Wall Street Journal, even much sought-after Ramadan-banquet constitutional scholar Barack Obama is remarkably silent:

Now Molly Norris, an American citizen, is forced into hiding because she exercised her right to free speech. Will President Obama say a word on her behalf? Does he believe in the First Amendment for anyone other than Muslims?

Who knows? Given his highly selective enthusiasms, you can hardly blame a third of Americans for figuring their president must be Muslim. In a way, that’s the least pathetic explanation: The alternative is that he’s just a craven squish. Which is odd considering he is, supposedly, the most powerful man in the world.

Listen to what President Obama, Justice Breyer, General Petraeus, The Seattle Weekly and Bluehost internet services are telling us about where we’re headed. As I said inAmerica Alone, multiculturalism seems to operate to the same even-handedness as the old Cold War joke in which the American tells the Soviet guy that “in my country everyone is free to criticize the President”, and the Soviet guy replies, “Same here. In my country everyone is free to criticize your President.” Under one-way multiculturalism, the Muslim world is free to revere Islam and belittle the west’s inheritance, and, likewise, the western world is free to revere Islam and belittle the west’s inheritance. If one has to choose, on balance Islam’s loathing of other cultures seems psychologically less damaging than western liberals’ loathing of their own.

It is a basic rule of life that if you reward bad behavior, you get more of it. Every time Muslims either commit violence or threaten it, we reward them by capitulating. Indeed, President Obama, Justice Breyer, General Petraeus, and all the rest are now telling Islam, you don’t have to kill anyone, you don’t even have to threaten to kill anyone. We’ll be your enforcers. We’ll demand that the most footling and insignificant of our own citizens submit to the universal jurisdiction of Islam. So Obama and Breyer are now the “good cop” to the crazies’ “bad cop”. Ooh, no, you can’t say anything about Islam, because my friend here gets a little excitable, and you really don’t want to get him worked up. The same people who tell us “Islam is a religion of peace” then turn around and tell us you have to be quiet, you have to shut up because otherwise these guys will go bananas and kill a bunch of people.

While I was in Denmark, one of the usual Islamobozos lit up prematurely in a Copenhagen hotel. Not mine, I’m happy to say. He wound up burning only himself, but his targets were my comrades at the newspaper Jyllands-Posten. I wouldn’t want to upset Justice Breyer by yelling “Fire!” over a smoldering jihadist, but one day even these idiots will get lucky. I didn’t like the Danish Security Police presence at the Copenhagen conference, and I preferred being footloose and fancy-free when I was prowling the more menacing parts of Rosengard across the water in Malmö the following evening. No one should lose his name, his home, his life, his liberty because ideological thugs are too insecure to take a joke. But Molly Norris is merely the latest squishy liberal to learn that, when the chips are down, your fellow lefties won’t be there for you.

I’m looking forward to getting back to the U.S. and weighing in on November’s fun and frolics. But a quick word on Christine O’Donnell, the GOP Senate candidate from Delaware whom the politico-media establishment have decided is this season’s easiest conservative target. If I understand their current plan to save the Dems, it rests on the proposition that America is about to be delivered into the care of a coven of witches who want to take away your right to masturbate. Two thoughts: First, any young woman (as she then was) willing to go on MTV, before a live audience, and attack masturbation certainly doesn’t want for courage. As to her alleged dabbling with “witchcraft”, so what? Several readers suggest Ms O’Donnell use Sinatra’s “Witchcraft” as her campaign theme song. No, no, no. She should use the theme from “Bewitched”: All she had to do was twitch her nose, and Mike Castle vanished. If it’s a choice between Elizabeth Montgomery and Democrats cackling as they toss another trillion dollars into their bubbling cauldron, it’s no contest.

Always loved the lyric to “Bewitched”, which you never hear. If Ms O’Donnell wins, I’ll be singing it on election night.

Thank you to everyone at the Danish Free Press Society who helped make my trip to Copenhagen such fun – especially Lars, Eva, Kit and Katrine. You can scroll down for the links to the audio of my acceptance speech plus various interviews. Afterwards, I nipped across the water to enjoy a livelier-than-usual Swedish election campaign, despite the best efforts of the dreary enforcers of its one-party media. As I always tell my Danish pals, Sweden is insane even by Scandinavian standards.

“America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It”
It’s the end of the world as we know it…      Someday soon, you might wake up to the call to prayer from a muezzin. Europeans already are.
And liberals will still tell you that “diversity is our strength”—while Talibanic enforcers cruise Greenwich Village burning books and barber shops, the Supreme Court decides sharia law doesn’t violate the “separation of church and state,” and the Hollywood Left decides to give up on gay rights in favor of the much safer charms of polygamy.
If you think this can’t happen, you haven’t been paying attention, as the hilarious, provocative, and brilliant Mark Steyn—the most popular conservative columnist in the English-speaking world—shows to devastating effect in this, his first and eagerly awaited new book on American and global politics.
The future, as Steyn shows, belongs to the fecund and the confident. And the Islamists are both, while the West—wedded to a multiculturalism that undercuts its own confidence, a welfare state that nudges it toward sloth and self-indulgence, and a childlessness that consigns it to oblivion—is looking ever more like the ruins of a civilization.
Europe, laments Steyn, is almost certainly a goner. The future, if the West has one, belongs to America alone—with maybe its cousins in brave Australia. But America can survive, prosper, and defend its freedom only if it continues to believe in itself, in the sturdier virtues of self-reliance (not government), in the centrality of family, and in the conviction that our country really is the world’s last best hope.
Steyn argues that, contra the liberal cultural relativists, America should proclaim the obvious: we do have a better government, religion, and culture than our enemies, and we should spread America’s influence around the world—for our own sake as well as theirs.
Mark Steyn’s America Alone is laugh-out-loud funny—but it will also change the way you look at the world. It is sure to be the most talked-about book of the year.

One thought on “Mark Steyn: Bowing to Islam”

  1. I am afraid that Mark Steyn’s diagnosis for Europe is correct. The Muslims are taking over in so many locations, its frightning. Only my little corner of Scotland, from whence I emigrated to Canada, has thus far remained untouched by Muhammedians, mosques and minarets. However, London is a different story. Travelling around our once-great captital, Muslims now populate most of Newham in the east end. Once, the cockney Pearly kings and queens once walked the streets here, now the Muslim men with their four wives and eight children dwell. In Wimbledon, one would think that ethnic cleansing has taken place. The only whites left there are elderly and cannot afford to move away. Now it’s like downtown Islamabad, with men and women dressed in traditional Islamic clothing, including their children.

    “Multiculturalism” in Wimbledon means Islamification.The picturesque county of Hertfordshire is even worse. As my family and I walked around the ancient market town of St. Albans, a place known for its Roman ruins and ancient churches, suddenly hordes of Muslims appeared, heading to the mosque for evening prayers.

    We then toured Europe, where stagnation and decay are everywhere. Grafitti disfigures even the most historic European towns in Germany, Austria and Italy. Amsterdam is crowded with Third World immigrants and “refugees”, particularly the Turks who control much of the sex trade. Over 50% of the city is now foreign born. It was dirty, run-down and depressing. Paris is full of Africans selling cheap souvenirs, while Seine-Saint-Denis, northeast of the city is a no-go area due to gangs of angry youths from North Africa that regularly attack patrolling police vehicles. We were either surrounded by Africans selling cheap souvenirs, or under assault by Romas (gypsies) trying to pick-pocket our tour group. As a Private Investigator, I’n pretty adept at spotting someone acting suspiciously, and once we were up on the Eiffel Tower, I bought a coffee and stood in a quiet spot away from the group, watching and observing. Along came two men speaking quietly in Romanian. They were mingling with the crowds, looking furtively into womens handbags and trying to spot which pocket the men had their wallets. They then left the crowd and walked up to three female “tourists” (Roma wives dressed in summer clothes). I alerted the tower security personnel, and after identifying myself (I take my badge everywhere I travel), I explained the situation and they did the rest.

    Germany fared a little better as did Austria, although the Muslim population explosion in both countries is now causing serious problems in maintaining law and order. Switzerland was absolutely breathtaking, and we loved the beautiful city of Lucerne. However, one has to wonder just how much longer the 400,000 Muslims who live in Switzerland will stay that way. Before we flew back to Canada from Paris, we stayed at a suites hotel not far from Charles de Gaul International Airport. Our hotel was five minutes walk from a charming little rustic French village where we did our shopping. As if to ruin my day, along came another Muhammedian with a 12 inch long beard and Saudi desert clothing. Finally, I went back to the little village store to purchase a newspaper, when a group of Africans appeared, hanging around a corner and shouting something in French in my direction. Suddenly, Two police vehicles pulled up, dispensing muscle-bound French cops who dispersed the crowd. I got talking to one member of the Gendarme and asked him if this was a regular job for him (dealing with disgruntled immigrants). He replied in the affiirmative and shrugged his shoulders. “It is France.” Well it’s France these days. In Paris, I noticed that quite a few of the police officers were largely either Algerians or blacks from sub-Saharan Africa. The story was different in Monaco, however, as my French friend drove us around Monaco. I wondered aloud at the absence of foreigners. “The Russians don’t like them”, my friend replied. I asked him exactly what the Russians have to do with it. “Well,” he expalined; “the Russian mafia are here now. Apparently Boris and the gang love Monaco and its decadent casinos, so they make sure that “the trash is kept out.” I instantly liked the Russian mafia. They throw out the trash.

    The gradual tranformation of my adopted country of Canada from a strong, pioneering, Euro-centric nation into a member of the Third World is all but guaranteed. Canadians are sleep walking into a multicultural nightmare. They take in over 250,000 immigrants a year from mainly Third World Countries, with only 20% possessing any kind of formal education. A large portion of them are not interested in becoming “Canadians,” or even want to “integrate” into society, and even more of them hate each other based on ethnic and cultural differences or obscure historical grievances. In 20 years from now, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver will have non-white populations. I often wonder how this will change Canada’s culture, institutions, history and laws. I can only imagine that the nation will become balkanized into ethnic and cultural groups, each holding onto their languages, cultures, religions and dress codes. The “new Canada” will be nothing more than a 4,000 mile long land mass seething with ethnic strife, but with no cohesive national identity. Indeed, once the “new Canada” has a majority non-white population, how many of these these “new Canadians” will even fight for Canada in another war? Or will it be left to the dwindling number of reviled white heterosexual males to die for what was once their country? Given the fact that 98% of all Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan (152 brave souls) were white, one has to question the “loyalty’ (or otherwise) of the “new Canadians.” Will the white minority suddenly find itself, like the native population before it, discriminated against at every turn? I fear that white Canadians will, within three generations, become very much the minority in their own country, suffering from their own stupidity in embracing the false gods of multiculturalism and political correctness. As a final note, in 2002 welfare payments and other government assisted handouts to immigrants cost the taxpayers ovr $12 billion. I wonder what it is today?

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