Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

How Nations Self-Destruct (Part1)

January, 2012 

Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder, (Arnold Toynbee) 

The war against freedom of speech is in full swing. It has been going on for a number of years in the Western democracies in the name of combatting intolerance and “hate speech.” In reality it is a determined effort by the Muslim leadership, via the UN, to criminalize any sort of critical public discussion about Islam. What is most disconcerting is that the so-called free West has fully abetted in passing legislation that in effect destroys one of the foremost, indispensable features of a truly free society. 

In many countries, including Canada, people have been hauled before courts and human rights commissions charged with hate crime. Sometimes they were exonerated at great financial expense; at other times they were found guilty. The question that should haunt is: Why is this happening? Let’s consider one such recent case. What happened there, and what lies behind this travesty is astounding. 

Free Speech Made Into Crime

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff is Austrian-born but has lived in a number of Muslim countries, including Iran, Kuwait, and Libya. She began to take in interest in Islam and immersed herself in the study of that religion. She was shocked by what she found in the Koran and the life of Muhammad. 

In 2008, she conducted seminars at the invitation of the Austrian Freedom Party. She reports that her audiences began to understand what is happening around them, but they were also distressed because they began to realize “just how the doctrines of multiculturalism and Eurabia were so firmly entrenched in Austrian society.” 

In November 2009, a reporter, who had secretly recorded two of her presentations, reported Sabaditsch-Wolff to the Austrian authorities. She was accused of sowing hatred against Muslims and saying that the Koran is an evil book. All her statements were taken out of context. She writes that she was met with an outpouring of hatred from many Austrian officials. One Muslim official compared her to bin Laden. 

Formal charges were filed and her trial began on November 23, 2010. The prosecution ran into problems, since most of the comments she had made were taken directly from the Koran and other Islamic texts, or were not “public” since she had made them for a small, select group of people. The judge abruptly suspended the hearings until January 18, 2011, ostensibly to give him time to review the tape recordings of Sabaditsch-Wolff’s presentations. 

At the January 18 hearings, the judge added a second charge to the original hate-speech one. She was now charged with “denigrating religious symbols of a recognized group.” The defence demanded a postponement to study the new charge. When the trial resumed on February 15, the judge exonerated Sabaditsch-Wolff of the charge of hate speech because her statements were not made in a “provocative” manner. But he then found her guilty of the new charge of “denigrating” Islam. 

A Black Day for Austria

The judge ruled that she had committed a crime by stating in her seminars that Muhammad was a pedophile. Her actual words were that “Muhammad had a thing for little girls.” He ruled that Muhammad’s sexual contact with nine-year-old Aisha did not make him a pedophile because he was also attracted to older females. Go figure. 

Sabaditsch-Wolff was ordered to pay a fine of 480 euros plus the cost of the trial, or a sentence of 60 days in prison. She appealed to the Provincial Appellate Court in Vienna, which rejected her appeal on December 20. The Court told her that she will go to prison if the fine is not paid within the next six months. She has the option of appealing to the European Court for Human Rights, but that is costly and will take a lot of time (Besides, I suspect that her chances of success at that forum are dismal.) 

After the trial, Sabaditsch-Wolff said that her conviction represents “a black day for Austria.” The Vienna Federation of Academics stated that the ruling represented a “politically and sentimentally motivated justice” and marked “the end of freedom of expression in Austria.” 

To be sure, Sabaditsch-Wolff is not the only Austrian who has run into the anti-free speech laws. In January 2009, Susanne Winter, an Australian Member of Parliament, was convicted of the crime of saying that today Muhammad would be considered a “child molester” because of his marriage to Aisha. Winter was also convicted of “incitement” for saying that Austria faces an “immigration tsunami.”  She was ordered to pay a fine of 24,000 euros, and received a suspended three-month prison sentence. 

The OIC Plays a Key Role

To understand the plight of the Austrian free speech advocates, we need to know the role of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the most powerful UN coalition of 56 Islamic states. It was founded on September 25, 1969, then, called the Organization of the Islamic Conference, presenting itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world and insuring to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world….”

The present OIC charter was adopted in March 2008, confirming its ambition “to galvanize the Ummah into a unified body...”  In 2005, it adopted a ten-year plan to advance the unity and interests of the member states. One of its agenda items was to have the UN “adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia, and call upon all states to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments.” 

And with that the term Islamophobia, which means an irrational fear or revulsion against Islam, has been indiscriminately pinned on anyone who writes critically about Islam even quoting directly from the Koran or the Hadith. The most reasoned and knowledgeable critical authors have been smeared and demonized. (See Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamopohobia Network in America, Center for American Progress.) 

This method has been very effective in persuading most commentators, except the very brave and determined to stay away from any sort of critical analysis of Islam. Some who dared to speak up have lost their lives, and even in the free world some are no longer free in their movements or living arrangements. 

Although the term Islamophobia dates back to the early 1990s, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (lIlT), a Muslim Brotherhood front group based in Northern Virginia, has given this term fresh coinage. Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, who was present at the meeting where this was adopted, subsequently renounced this group and explained: 

“This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-termination cliché conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.... In an effort to silence critics of political Islam, advocates needed to come up with terminology that would enable them to portray themselves as victims.” 

Hillary Clinton, Cheerleader for the QIC

And that is exactly what happened. Islamists have used this line of attack with great effect in the West. What is most disturbing is that the Obama Administration has fully cooperated with the OIC in silencing the critics of Islam. The stage was set in President Obama’s 2009 speeches in Istanbul and Cairo. There he promised that he would use his presidential authority to advance the interest of Islam. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has played a major role in putting this policy into effect. 

In July 2011, she co-chaired the OIC-sponsored “High-Level Meeting on Combating Religious Intolerance” in Istanbul. Her speech was laced with high praise for the QIC’s work in combating religious intolerance. She spoke in glowing generalities that completely glossed over the cruel reality of life under sharia law where all freedom is eliminated. Her speech was dripping with deference and totally disconnected from reality. 

She recalled how 15 years ago the secretary general “talked about the imperative to move beyond these differences and how much the three great monotheistic religions have in common, especially our respective commandments to love our neighbors and to seek peace and understanding.                                                            -------------------------------

Reality check: The Koran and other sacred literature, as well as 1400 years of Islamic history present a very different picture, one of Islamic supremacy and suppression. Raymond Ibrahim regularly reports on the persecution of Christians. Recently, he reported on events in 17 Muslim-controlled countries which he classified under the following themes: 

“including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws; theft and plunder in lieu of ]izya (tribute); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed ‘dhimmis’ (second class citizens); and simple violence and murder. Oftentimes it is a combination thereof.” (frontpagemag.com, January 6, 2012)

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At the Istanbul meeting, Hillary Clinton complimented the OIC and the European Union for helping to pass UN Resolution 16/18 at the Human Rights Council on April 12, 2011. This resolution is called:

“Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief.” Article 5(f) calls on states to “Adopting measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief.” 

Clinton stated that the resolution calls upon states “to protect freedom of religion, to counter offensive expression through education, interfaith dialogue, and public debate, and to prohibit discrimination, profiling and hate crimes, but not to criminalize speech unless there is incitement to imminent violence. We will be looking to all countries to hold themselves accountable....

She called on the member states with the U.S. to report to the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights on their progress in taking these steps. 

The mind boggles. What is Clinton saying here? Apart from being disconnected from reality, she is advocating a nightmarish web of social engineering on a global scale. She has no regard for the U.S. constitution with its notions of state sovereignty, the limited state, and government authority divided over three branches. 

Clinton says that hate crime will not be criminalized unless there is “incitement to imminent violence.” Who decides? What is incitement to imminent violence? Everything is pulled out of thin air, which will be to the delight of government bureaucrats and social engineers like herself, but it is a sure recipe for chaos, division and strife.     

How Nations Self-Destruct     (Part 2)

February, 2012 

When a civilization decides to commit suicide it does so without knowing that it is doing so. A civilizational suicide is committed by numerous policy errors of omission and commission over a long period of time by its policy makers or political leaders. (Jagjit Singh,www.danielpipes.org May 20, 2002) 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played a major role in aligning American policies with those of the 56- Muslim nations’ Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Central to this issue is the OIC’s insistence that all criticism of Islam be severely curtailed, as per UN Resolution 16/18 of the Human Rights Council adopted in April, 2011. 

That resolution dealt with combatting intolerance, stereotyping, stigmatizing, and incitement to violence against persons based on religion or belief. One of the articles called on states “to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief.” (Reading the relevant documents makes it very clear that only one religion, Islam, is intended.) 

In the planning meeting prior to the December 12, 2011, joint (U.S. and OIC) conference in Washington, Clinton observed that the UN Resolution 16/18 about combatting intolerance has provided “a comprehensive framework” for addressing this issue at the international level. She added that each country needs to do more in respecting religious differences. She then had this to say about her own country: 

In the United States, I will admit there are people who still feel vulnerable or marginalized as a result of their religious beliefs. And we have seen how the incendiary actions of just a very few people, a handful in a country of nearly 300 million, can create wide ripples of intolerance. 

Who are the Vulnerable and Marginalized?

What is she talking about? Who are the vulnerable and marginalized? Who are the people who engage in incendiary actions? Would it be those who preach a supremacist Islamic ideology, such as the late Sayyid Qutb and Sayyid Abul A’la Moududi? Or could it be others who inspired the murderers of 9/11 or the Fort Hood killer? 

 Would it be the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, which is a very influential worldwide promoter of radical (political) Islam?  Its motto is: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” 

The MB’s current spiritual guide is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi who is on record to have issued this fatwa in 2003: “Islam will return to Europe as a victorious conqueror after having been expelled twice. This time it will not be conquest by the sword, but by preaching and spreading [Islamic] ideology.... The future belongs to Islam. The spread of Islam until it conquers the entire world and includes both East and West marks the beginning of the return of the Islamic Caliphate.” 

Qaradawi received an enthusiastic welcome on February 18, 2011 when he arrived at Cairo’s Tahrir Square where he delivered a sermon brimming with Jew-hatred. He predicted the Palestinian conquest of Israel: “May Allah achieve this clear conquest for us. 0 sons of Palestine, l am confident that you will be victorious.” 

During the trial in federal court of the Holy Land Foundation in 2007, there came to light a Muslim Brotherhood document that laid out in detail a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” that includes the following statement: “The Ikhwan [Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” 

The language in the speeches and documents produced by the OIC is a case of classic doublespeak. On the one hand there is plenty of lip service to tolerance, freedom and respect for differences. On the other hand, the Muslim partners in these deliberations invariably insist on the qualification that all legislation in their own countries must comply with sharia law. This qualification means in effect that there exists no freedom of religion or tolerance at all, to the point that leaving Islam is considered a capital offence.

This reality gives the discussions within the OIC an eerie sense of a Kafkaesque nightmarish world.  

What these discussions between the U.S. State Department and the OIC are all about is not what happens in the Muslim-ruled part of the world. In fact, any honest discussion about the suppression, mistreatment, mutilation and honour killing of women, persecution of non-Muslims, the ingrained Jew-hatred, the teaching of hatred and Islamic supremacy in the state- controlled media, and in all the schools, is out of bounds. The fact is that at the same time that these one-sided discussions are going on in the OIC, tens of thousands of Christians are fleeing Iraq, Egypt and other sharia-ruled countries because life is made unbearable for them. 

The “Great Satan,” a Prized Target

None of these things are put on the OlC agenda. Instead, the intent of the Muslim participants in these discussions is to persuade the Western leadership, often with subtle underlying threats, that they must curtail any critical public discussion about the practice of sharia law. On that score Muslim leaders have been very successful in Europe. But their main aim has now moved to the U.S., the most powerful leader of the free West, and therefore the most prized target. 

Amazingly, with the arrival of President Obama in the White House, the opportunities for Islamic expansion in the U.S. have greatly increased. We have now come to the upside down world in which Hillary Clinton, representing America to the world, does not defend her own country but disparages it, while giving high praise to the Muslim leadership. (She would not be able to do this if Obama himself were not of the same mind.) 

The current favourable trend for the Muslim inroads into the U.S. has been facilitated by the appointment of Muslim believers to key positions in the American government. They include Dalia Mogahed, appointed to Obama’s faith advisory council as well as to the advisory council of the Department of Homeland Security. She has said that the Western view of sharia is “oversimplified” and the majority of women in the world associate sharia with “gender justice.” She was a partner in an Islamic project whose stated goal was to “define, interpret and implement the concept of the Islamic State in modern times.” 

President Obama appointed Rashad Hussain as envoy to the OIC. He became the centre of a controversy for having said that the prosecution of Sami al-Arian — who later pleaded guilty of aiding a terrorist group —was a case of “politically motivated persecutions.” The White House press release of February 13, 2010 announcing Hussain’s appointment stated that he “will deepen and expand the partnership that the United States has pursued with Muslims around the world since President Obama’s speech in Cairo last June.” Hussain is reported to have advised Obama in preparing that policy-setting speech. 

Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin is a Muslim who has been a Clinton staff member since 1996. Her mother and her brother Hassan Abedin are involved with the Muslim Brotherhood. It is not unreasonable to assume that this very capable lady has a great deal of influence on Clinton’s relationship with the Muslim world. 

What has further indicated Obama’s pro-Islam policies is his order to all government agencies never to link Islam with terrorism. (Thus the official report about the Fort Hood killer did not mention his well-known hatred for America and his commitment to violent jihad.) The Justice Department recently cancelled a number of scheduled training sessions at national security agencies by scholars who are critical of Islamic teachings, such as Robert Spencer and Steven Emerson.  

This department is reviewing all training materials for the law enforcement and national security communities to make sure that all critical comments offensive to Muslim pressure groups are removed. Recently, Dwight C. Holton, speaking for Attorney General Eric Holder, had this to say: 

“I want to be perfectly clear about this: training materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence are wrong, they are offensive, and they are contrary to everything that this president, this attorney general and Department of Justice stands for. They will not be tolerated.” 

Appeasement Will not Work

There is no limit to the brazenness of the American Muslim leadership. On October 19, 2011, Salam Al­Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), published an op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times where he demanded that the FBI and the Justice Department “issue a clear and unequivocal apology to the Muslim American community; establish a thorough and transparent vetting process in selecting its trainers and materials; invite experts who have no animosity toward any religion to conduct training about any religious community to law enforcement.” 

In other words, Muslim organizations which promote a supremacist (political) ideology in America demand a voice in the selection of personnel and resources devoted to protect the citizens against those who have declared war on America in the name of the same religion. 

This outrageous demand deserves to be treated with contempt. The bitter irony is that the Obama administration is in the process of appeasing the Muslim demand that freedom of speech does not apply to language that is critical of Islam. Such exception to the free speech principle directly contravenes the President’s oath of office. This kind of capitulation can happen only when there is a principled refusal to face reality. In other words, there is a spirit of delusion at work. 

This explains why those who refuse to go along with the Islam-is-peace narrative are seen as enemies who must be destroyed. Thus those who tell the truth about the reality of life under Islam must be demonized and neutralized. This is what is now happening in the dismissal of trainers who teach the truth about political Islam’s determination to establish the Caliphate wherever they can. 

This is also the reason why those who have taken the true measure of political Islam, of which the Muslim Brotherhood is the most ruthless and cunning representative, must be silenced by threats and character assassination. (See David Horowitz and Robert Spencer, Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future, David Horowitz (Freedom Center.) 

A Dangerous Blindness

The Obama administration‘s refusal to face the reality of political Islam is a case of willful blindness; willful because it is a denial of irrefutable facts. (See Andrew C. McCarthy, Willful Blindness.) In other words, it is based on a delusion. President Obama showed traces of delusion in his speeches as he did in 2008 when he won his party’s  nomination for president of the United States: 

“America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past… .Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love… .Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment…when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”  

It’s easy to write off such overblown language as just words by someone with a grandiose vision of the world and his ability to change it.  The trouble is that Obama is not an ordinary citizen with an overgrown ego and boundless confidence in his own cleverness. In fact, he has been catapulted into the highest office in America where he is busy with the attempt of re-making America. 

The issues involved in the negotiation with the OIC concern the very core of a free nation. The Obama administration is playing a dangerous game with the future of America when it tries to pacify the demands of a fanatic, political religion that considers itself the instrument to spread the rule of Allah  (Caliphate) over the entire world. 

President Obama has made it obvious that he wants to ignore the true character of political Islam. On that score he is in denial, and the negotiations with the OIC, and now also with the Muslim Brotherhood, are bound to turn out badly for America. Let me borrow the words of someone who in my view has a true grasp of what is at stake: 

Western civilization is under attack. It is under attack from inside and outside. But it will not be destroyed by outsiders from outside but from outsiders who have come inside. These insiders are the Trojan horse. The Trojan horse is inside the gate. The gate is ajar and the enemy is entering at will…Western nations need to wake up to the threat imposed by its own leaders unwilling to confront reality. The reality is that there is a clash of civilizations.”  (Jagjit Singh, www. Danielpipes.org, May 20, 2002) 

A Crisis of Identity

The still-free West, of which the U.S. is the prominent member, is undergoing a profound crisis of identity and unity. This crisis is the reason why the current U.S. administration, powerfully assisted by the intelligentsia and the media, is attempting to pacify a fanatic Islamic Ummah that has declared war on the U.S, even laying out a detailed strategy of infiltration and destruction. 

The question about what to do, how to withstand a movement that intends to destroy everything that freedom-loving people cherish, is especially compelling for us Christians. Do we close our eyes to reality, or lose ourselves in lamenting a dismal future that we are helpless to prevent? Both responses can be found in the Christian community, which is a pity.

Instead, should we not look on times of turmoil and crisis as opportunities for testifying to the grace and power of God that breaks through the most impossible-seeming obstacles?  We should learn to look behind the surface of things and get to know the truth of political Islam, the devastation it has wrought wherever it is the ruling ideology. There is no excuse for not knowing because we have available a massive amount of information, especially the testimony of those who now live or have lived under sharia law. (Many of them are not Christians, but they speak the truth about political Islam.) 

Who is not moved by compassion for the young girls and women who are the victims of the obscenely-misnamed honour killings that occur even in the West? Currently, there is a case before the Ontario Superior Court where Muhammad Shafia and his son are charged with the murder by drowning of his three teenage daughters and his first wife. The shame of these murders is that the victims appealed for help several times before their lives were snuffed out, but the authorities were too much influenced by political correctness and did not have the  courage to save them. This is happening in Canada.   

Above all, we need to listen to those who have witnessed the power of God in changing hearts and lives of Muslims even when that is dangerous and has resulted in persecution and death. We do well to ponder the meaning for our time of the biblical stories about God’s grace to the citizens of Nineveh when they repented.(Jonah 3:10; 4;11) The prophet Ezekiel told the people that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, “but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11)  

Jesus proclaimed that he did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it. (John 3:17) Christians are not destined to cower in fear. Rather  they may live in the confidence  that God does not abandon those who call on him, and that some day this broken and wounded world will be made new. In the meantime, we do what our hands find to do in seeking the good while opposing evil. As the Bible admonishes us: “Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:21, NLT)    

In short, the current consideration of the Obama administration to criminalize speech that is offensive to Muslim pressure groups is dangerously wrong.  And we should hope and pray that there are still sufficient resources for truth and freedom within the American people to reverse the policies that have begun to be put in place by the current regime.  Is this not the right  time for us as Christians - wherever we live in the free West – to speak up against this travesty of justice?