*Â One example of Western self-censorship: Belgian officials prohibited Shark, by David Cerny, depicting Saddam Hussein as an aquatic predator.
Islam divides the world into two parts. The part governed by sharia, or Islamic law, is called the Dar al-Islam, or House of Submission. Everything else is the Dar al-Harb, or House of War, so called because it will take warâ€”holy war, jihadâ€”to bring it into the House of Submission. Over the centuries, this jihad has taken a variety of forms. Two centuries ago, for instance, Muslim pirates from North Africa captured ships and enslaved their crews, leading the U.S. to fight the Barbary Wars of 1801â€“05 and 1815. In recent decades, the jihadists’ weapon of choice has usually been the terrorist’s bomb; the use of planes as missiles on 9/11 was a variant of this method.
What has not been widely recognized is that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa against Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie introduced a new kind of jihad. Instead of assaulting Western ships or buildings, KhoÃ‚ meini took aim at a fundamental Western freedom: freedom of speech. In recent years, other Islamists have joined this crusade, seeking to undermine Western societies’ basic liberties and extend sharia within those societies.
The cultural jihadists have enjoyed disturbing success. Two events in particularâ€”the 2004 assassination in Amsterdam of Theo van Gogh in retaliation for his film about Islam’s oppression of women, and the global wave of riots, murders, and vandalism that followed a Danish newspaper’s 2005 publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammedâ€”have had a massive ripple effect throughout the West. Motivated variously, and doubtless sometimes simultaneously, by fear, misguided sympathy, and multicultural ideologyâ€”which teaches us to belittle our freedoms and to genuflect to non-Western cultures, however repressiveâ€”people at every level of Western society, but especially elites, have allowed concerns about what fundamentalist Muslims will feel, think, or do to influence their actions and expressions. These Westerners have begun, in other words, to internalize the strictures of sharia, and thus implicitly to accept the deferential status of dhimmisâ€”infidels living in Muslim societies.
THE HAGUE,Â – The controversial Mohammed-exhibition of work by Iranian artist Sooreh Hera remains hidden from the public. For the third time in succession, an exhibitor willing to show her work has reversed this decision.
Hera took photos of homosexuals wearing masks of the prophet Mohammed and his son-in-law Ali. The work was first going to be exhibited by the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, but the museum changed its mind because it “did not wish to become part of a political debate,” as Director Wim van Krimpen put it.