Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

Why Freedom of Speech is an Endangered Species  

June, 2011

That is why for the Islamists freedom can exist only in a theocracy -- where there is no freedom…. And that is why they claim that the jihad against the West is not aggressive or threatening but rather a way of delivering freedom to the West. ( Melanie Phillips, The World Turned Upside down, p.149)

The large-scale immigration of Muslims – some 30 million in Europe -- to the free West has had a profound impact on the host countries. The main reason is Islam’s radically different  worldview that is baffling to non-Muslims. This has come to a head in the opposing concepts of freedom as understood in the West and in the minds of Muslim believers.

Non-Muslims must reckon with the fact that a true Muslim has a different view of the world. Words such as truth, honour, loyalty, good, evil, democracy, freedom, and so on, have a very different meaning for Muslims than for the non-Muslims.

This is not surprising because Islam is a very different religion than what we usually mean with the word religion. Islam is much more than that; it`s more like a totalitarian political Ideology that regulates every aspect of life. In other words, its goal is to establish a theocracy, not a democracy. By definition this means that there is no freedom of religion, or any other kind of  freedom. 

A Clash of Worldviews

Islam is defined in the Koran as the final, perfect and unalterable revelation of God, given to Muhammad, as well as the hadith and the sunna which are the teachings and actions of Muhammad. These documents are seen as the authoritative rule for all of life, ranging from  the most weighty to the trivial. To defy them is to defy God himself, and thus to be an infidel, a kafir destined for hell.

Koran-obeying Muslims who adhere to this radical form of Islam view democracy as a form of blasphemy because humans create their own law instead of obeying God’s law.  This is not just a difference of opinion, but a clash of worldviews.  We think that democracy is a good thing; Koran-obeying Muslims consider it an abomination that will destroy their way of life.

The large influx of Muslim immigrants into the West since WW II has coincided with the revival of radical Islam. This radicalization has been powerfully influenced by certain revered and influential Muslim scholars of the 18th and 20th century.  If you want to understand Islam you have to study its leaders.  Four of them stand out as being exceptionally influential, even now.

Muhammad ibn al-Wahhab (1703-1792) founded a movement that set out to  purify the practice of Islam by enforcing strict adherence to  the Koran and the teachings of Muhammad. Saudi Arabia is a Wahhabist state, and is known for its enforcement of precise  rules of behaviour, especially for women. Their behaviour is prescribed in great detail. Saudi Arabia possesses the largest oil reserves in the world, providing an inflow of billions of dollars. This has enabled the Saudis to export their ideology via the building of mosques  and financing chairs in Islamic studies at many universities in the West. There is no freedom of religion for any except Muslims. Christian churches and Bibles are not allowed in this country.

Sheik Hasan al-Banna (1906-1949) founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, which has become  one of the most fanatical and influential organizations in the spread of radical Islam. Al-Banna lamented the dissolution of the rule by clergy (caliphate) in 1924 under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk. AL-Banna  struggled to awaken the faithful into action to reverse this trend and  to eliminate all Western influences in the Muslim world. He was an admirer of  Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.  He did not hide his political ambitions in these words:

We summon you to Islam. the teachings of Islam, the laws of Islam and the guidance of Islam, and if this smacks of “politics” in your eyes, then it is our policy…. We believe that Islam is an all-embracing concept which regulates every aspect of life. (quoted in R. Spencer, Onward Muslim Soldiers, p.218)

 The Egyptian government discovered that Al-Banna was the mastermind behind the political murders that had been committed by the Brotherhood. He was imprisoned and executed  in 1949.

Sayyid Cutb (1906-1966), has been called the founding father of modern jihad.  He explained: “This religion is not merely a declaration of the freedom of the Arabs….It addresses itself to the whole of mankind, and its sphere of work is the whole earth.” He  tried very hard to prove that such a theocracy would not create a problem for non-Muslims.

In a chapter in his book Milestones, “Jihaad: the Cause of God,” he argued that if Muslims establish their theocracy, everyone will voluntarily submit. So there is no problem with freedom. But first comes the elimination of “all those political and  material powers which stand between people and Islam.”  He  called for revolt against all manmade  governments, which means  “destroying the kingdom of man to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth.” (Quoted in Melanie Phillips, The World Turned Upside Down, p.143)

Cutb was and still is one of the foremost, admired  leaders in the Muslim world, He wrote many books, including a 30-volume commentary on the Koran. The Egyptian government saw him as a dangerous enemy, imprisoned and executed him in 1969. Thus, he achieved the coveted  status of martyr and hero that served to boost his reputation and influence.    

Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi (1903-1979) has been called “the greatest  revivalist in  Islam in the 20th century.”  He is the author of several books, including “Jihad In Islam.” In 1940 he founded the Jamaat-e-Islami ( Muslim Party), which still exists in  Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. He has described Islam as a “revolutionary ideology and programme  that seeks to alter the social order of the whole world…. Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it.”  (quoted in OMS, pp.238-9).

Admittedly, this is a small sampling of ideas and beliefs advocated by the worldwide Islamic leadership. But these were the major players who give you a good idea of the true character of radical Islam. Two things stand out. First, these leaders proclaim, without any qualification, that Islam is superior to every other religion. That superiority then becomes justification for spreading the rule of Allah all over the world. Second, and immediately flowing from the above, Islamists declare war on the non-Muslim world.  ( This is clearly expressed in their division of the world into one part Islam and peaceful; and the rest as non-Muslim and therefore a world of war.)

However, many ignore this stark reality  because of the amazingly successful propaganda campaign expressed in the  now popular  slogan: ”Islam is a religion of peace.” This propaganda has been so successful that many who speak the truth about the warlike intentions of Islam - declared in its  own sacred documents -  are threatened, shouted down at public meetings, and have their character besmirched. This is how Nonie Darwish described her experience with such treatment:

Many of us who immigrated to America thought we had escaped jihad, hateful propaganda, intimidation, and mind control, but we found that even in America, there are powerful Muslim forces who are trying to silence us. For the sin of criticizing terrorism – not Islam, just terrorism – we are threatened.

The result is that many prefer to avoid the problems faced by people such as Geert Wilders, Lars Hedegaard, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and  Nonie Darwish, by evading the truth about radical Islam.

Stealth JIhad

So far I have concentrtated on Islamic leaders who champion radical Islam that has declared war on the non-Muslim world. But there is another much more subtle way in which Islamism is spread in the West. That is not by violence and terrorism but by a process of influencing and infiltrating the major  institutions of the West, especially education, the media, banking and finance, and politics. This non-violent method  promises to be  much more effective than the terrorist alternative. It is jihad by using the openness and freedom of the West in order to destroy that freedom from within.

Yousef Qaradawi, a top Muslim Brotherhood imam, assured his audience in a 1995 speech at an Islamic conference in Ohio that victory shall come through dawah – Islamic renewal and outreach. He said: “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America, not through the sword, but through dawah.”

Many like-minded Muslims have made a similar boast. What has facilitated their goal is the so-called hate-speech legislation that has put the fear into many commentators. In other words, Western lawmakers have made it easy for  the enemies of freedom to silence their critics, and  Islamist supremacists  have made grateful use of this legislation in several countries.  

Think of the case of  Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn. Four years ago, the Canadian Islamic establishment charged them with hate crime before multiple Human Rights Commissions. Levant had provoked Muslim anger by publishing the Danish cartoons. Mohamed ELmasry, representing the Canadian Islamic Congress, accused Steyn  of insulting  Islam in his book America Alone.  This time the complainants did not win. But even in losing the Muslims won. They won because these so-called Human Rights proceedings themselves are a travesty of justice.

Having done nothing wrong, Levant and Steyn, as well as Mclean’s, were still  punished by having to defend themselves at great cost  in these Kafkaesque proceedings. Further, this case sends a chilling message that will make many writers and editors of lesser fortitude remain well within the politically correct boundaries. The enemies of freedom win.

People such as Steyn and Levant who have the courage stand up for truth and freedom -- they are inseparable – deserve our respect. Freedom can disappear overnight with one sudden revolution. In our still-free West it is dying by a thousand cuts. Do not let that happen here.