Different Rules for Islam
In Germany free speech evaporates quickly when it comes to Islam. This is a nation that never really had free speech or freedom of expression. The German constitution Â guarantees free speech, Â but has been all but Â shredded by socialist Â cultural enrichment, ‘diversity’ and multiculti- Â experiments.
Recent statements by various politicians in Germany demonstrate once again the effects of a “heckler’s veto” exercised by various aggressive Muslims around the world.Â In particular, such aggression is creating legal and societal inequalities between Islam and other faiths such as Christianity in democracies including theÂ United States.Â Sadly, many leaders of the free world are willing to sacrifice the freedom to discuss Islam in an ultimately vain effort to protect foreign and domestic interests against Muslim assaults.
The German minister of the interior,Â Hans-Peter FriedrichÂ of Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union (Christlich-Soziale UnionÂ or CSU) party, indicated as much in a September 19, 2012,Â interviewÂ with the public radio broadcasterÂ Deutschlandfunk.Â Commenting upon the German debate over banning showings of theÂ Innocence of MuslimsÂ film, Friedrich said that in this controversy the “question, what uproar will be caused in the country, naturally plays a role.” Â Friedrich additionally cited the question of “which foreign policy interests are touched.”Â Specifically, Germany would “expend much money every day in order to present Germany positively in the world,” only to have “this image of Germany suddenly destroyed by a few rightwing radicals” who might playÂ Innocence of Muslims.
Yet anÂ open letterÂ the next day to Germany’s foreign minister,Â Guido WesterwelleÂ of the Free Democratic Party (Freie Demokratische ParteiÂ or FDP), questioned the propriety of the deference shown by leaders like Friedrich to Islam.Â The letter’s author wasÂ Bernhard Lorenz, the leader of the Wiesbaden city government representatives from the Christian Democratic Union (Christlich-Demokratische UnionÂ or CDU, the nationwide sister party of the CSU). Â In Westerwelle’s various discussions ofÂ Innocence of MuslimsÂ similar in tone to the comments of his cabinet colleague Friedrich, Lorenz found missing the “important element” that “all religions must be treated equally.”Â In particular, Lorenz cited the playÂ Ãœber das Konzept des Angesichts bei Gottes SohnÂ (Concerning the Concept of the Image by God’s Son), the action of which included a Jesus figure smeared with feces and spitting upon a cross.Â Incensed protesters at one production had stormed the stage and assaulted the audience with tear gas, stink bombs, and motor oil.Â Yet no proposal to ban the play was forthcoming, and German authorities gave police protection to subsequent performances.
The “signal effect” of Westerwelle’s position appeared to Lorenz “devastating.”Â “Whoever,” explained Lorenz, “exercises violence, takes the life of innocent people, may hope for a quick reaction by the state in his favor.Â Whoever, in contrast, acts within the framework of the laws is forced to make do with a reference to freedom of opinion.”Â Lorenz’s opposing position demanded a “binding agreement upon one position and no ‘case by case observation.'”Â Germany needed a “common code of behavior … valid for all” and “may not allow any special treatments in case of violence.”
Nor did the German double-standards end with Lorenz’s letter.Â The same day as Friedrich’sÂ DeutschlandfunkÂ interview, the BerlinÂ Cinema for Peace, a foundation dedicated to screenings and discussions of films involving global humanitarian issues, announcedÂ the cancellationÂ of anÂ Innocence of MuslimsÂ showing. Â Cinema for Peace justified the cancelation because of the “controversial discussions and emotions” surroundingÂ Innocence of Muslims. Â The foundation stated that it “does not want to support any further reactions or a further circulation of the film.”
Cinema for Peace had intended to screenÂ Innocence of MuslimsÂ during an October 1, 2012 event examining hostile cinematic treatments of religious groups.Â The event would show as planned, however, the notorious 1940 anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda filmÂ Jud SÃ¼ssÂ and Kevin Smith’s 1999 filmÂ Dogma, a satire of Catholicism.Â Not being completely hypocritical with respect to Islam, though, Cinema for Peace also planned to show the short 2004 Dutch filmÂ SubmissionÂ about the mistreatment of women in Islam.Â This film had previously incited the murder of its producer,Â Theo van Gogh, on November 2, 2004, in Amsterdam by a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim.
Such bending of a free society’s standards and laws out of deference to possible Muslim reactions is in itself troubling.Â This obsequiousness, moreover, will most likely fail to establish any long-term good relations with many Muslim communities around the world.Â In the years following the mother of all terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, years that hardly exhibited any Islamic peace, many Muslims have manifested a capacity to take perpetual offense.Â Particularly conspicuous in this regard were theÂ 2005 Danish Muhammad cartoons.Â The creator of the notable caricature of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, Kurt Westergaard, once received an honor from German chancellor Angela Merkel for hisÂ artistic independence, yet these Danish caricatures now often faceÂ German legal challengesÂ concerning their use in political demonstrations.
Following the Danish Muhammad cartoons came more controversy in the form ofÂ Swedish Muhammad cartoonsÂ by Lars Vilks, excisedÂ AmericanÂ South ParkÂ Muhammad cartoons, andFrenchÂ Charlie HebdoÂ Muhammad cartoonsÂ published in the middle of theÂ Innocence of MuslimsÂ controversy.Â Rumors ofÂ Korans flushed down toiletsÂ along with Korans burnt bothintentionallyÂ andÂ accidentallyÂ aroused Muslim passions globally.Â The same has been true of films likeÂ Submission,Â Fitna, andÂ Innocence of MuslimsÂ itself.Â This list of items incurring the wrath of various Muslims simply keeps getting longer, to say nothing of the originalÂ cause cÃ©lÃ¨breÂ of Islamic offense decades ago, Salman Rushdie’s 1988 novelÂ The Satanic Verses.
To think that the world’s free societies can ever fully placate doctrinaire Islamic sensibilities without the rankest submission is simply delusional.Â The appeasement of violence-prone Muslims shown by many politicians around the world in theÂ Innocence of MuslimsÂ affair merely demonstrates that such force can achieve its goal of suppressing freedom.Â The result is simply to encourage a vicious cycle of more such violence in the future.
Remaining firm on the principle of protecting open debate and discussion, no matter how contentious, would, in contrast, send a deterring signal against those Muslims who seek to replace rules of order with the rules of the street and the strong.Â There simply is an irrepressible conflict between freedom around the world and the centuries-old orthodox understanding of an Islamic faith claiming a right to use force in the name of a prophet.Â It is time to take a stand.