In a true, totalitarian society such as the old Soviet Union, crime rates are usually low because of the crushing state control of all its citizens. Supposedly, street crime in Moscow in the USSR was rare, probably because the state itself was the biggest criminal. In contrast, in the European Union of today, which is not a totalitarian society, at least not yet, crime rates are booming in major cities. At the same time, authorities are stepping up censorship efforts, openly talking about media “speech codes” and aggressively slapping labels such as “racism” or “xenophobia” on anybody daring to criticize the immigration policies or pointing out the inadequate response to Muslim gang violence.
There is obviously a connection here: The less control the authorities have with Muslims, the more control they want to exercise over non-Muslims. As problems in Europe get worse, which they will, the EU will move in an increasingly repressive direction until it either becomes a true, totalitarian entity or falls apart. This strange mix of powerful censorship of public debate, yet little control over public law and order, has by some been labelled anarcho-tyranny.
While Islamic groups in Britain openly brag about how they are going to subdue the country by violent means or call for beheading those insulting Islam, Bryan Cork, 49, of Carlisle, Cumbria, in the Lake District, was sentenced to six months in jail for standing outside a mosque shouting, “Proud to be British,” and “Go back to where you came from.” One British court ruled that even use of the word “immigrant” as an insult could amount to proof of racial hostility.
In Belgium, a Turkish-born Catholic priest, Père Samuel, has been prosecuted for “incitement to racist hatred” by the Belgian Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CEOOR), because of a remark he made in a 2002 television interview when he said: “Every thoroughly islamized Muslim child that is born in Europe is a time bomb for Western children in the future. The latter will be persecuted when they have become a minority.” He claims Muslims are invading Europe and warns for an impending civil war.
Samuel is one of the few Christians left speaking Aramaic, the language of Jesus, at home. Aramaic was once the lingua franca of a vast area of the ancient Middle East, similar to what English is today or Latin was in Europe in centuries ago. It has now given way to Arabic, but according to some researchers, Syriac or Syro-Aramaic was also the root of the Koran. When the Koran was composed, Arabic did not exist as a written language. Aramaic, however, was still widely used between the 4th and 7th centuries in Western Asia. Ibn Warraq estimates that up to 20% of the Koran is incomprehensible even to educated Arabs because parts of it was, in fact, originally written in another, though related, language before Muhammad was born.
The author of the most important book on the subject – a German professor of ancient Semitic and Arabic languages – prefers to write under the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg. Not because of lawsuits of “racism,” but out of plain fear for Muslim violence. According to Luxenberg, the chapters or suras of the Koran usually ascribed to the Mecca period, which are also the most tolerant and non-violent ones as opposed to the much harsher and more violent chapters from Medina, are not “Islamic” at all, but Christian:
“In its origin, the Koran is a Syro-Aramaic liturgical book, with hymns and extracts from Scriptures which might have been used in sacred Christian services. […] Its socio-political sections, which are not especially related to the original Koran, were added later in Medina. At its beginning, the Koran was not conceived as the foundation of a new religion. It presupposes belief in the Scriptures, and thus functioned merely as an inroad into Arabic society.”
Writer Oriana Fallaci has been indicted by a judge in her native Italy for “vilification” of Islam, because of a book she wrote called The Force of Reason. Ms Fallaci states that “Europe is no longer Europe, it is ‘Eurabia,’ a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty.”
In 2002, a French group, Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between Peoples, tried unsuccessfully to get an earlier book by Fallaci, “The Rage and the Pride” banned. The following year, Swiss officials, under pressure from Muslim groups in that country, asked that she be extradited for trial; the Italian Minister of Justice refused the request.
In Australia, a Christian pastor who was ordered to apologize for vilifying Muslims said he would go to jail rather than say sorry for his comments. Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) deputy president Michael Higgins ordered two pastors to apologize for comments they made in a speech, on a website and in a newsletter. The tribunal found Muslims were vilified by claims that Muslims were training to take over Australia, encouraging domestic violence and that Islam was an inherently violent religion. The case was the first to be heard by VCAT since the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act took effect in 2002. A press release later warned that the human rights of ordinary Australians, in particular the right to free speech, were threatened by this sentence.
It is said that free societies are stronger than oppressive societies. This is probably true. However, in the West at the beginning of the 21st century, formal and informal censorship of important issues has become rampant. Without freedom of speech, democracy cannot function. The West is weak because it is no longer free.
George Orwell said: “If freedom of speech means anything at all, it is the freedom to say things that people do not want to hear,” and he was right. Multiculturalists who claim that freedom of speech does not include the freedom to offend others are wrong. In the doctrine of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, published in 1859, the right to freedom of expression and its conditions are stated clearly. The most fundamental principle of a freely operating liberal society is the right to the “freedom of opinion.” The only exception in which Mill conceived such freedom to be limited was if it were to impose severe harm onto others – and he declared this to be a rare thing.
Gerard Alexander warns against what he calls “illiberal Europe,” by which he means the dramatic expansion of laws to sanction speech that “incites hatred” against groups based on their religion, race or ethnicity. Such laws have been passed in Western European nations since the 1970s. “The real danger posed by Europe’s speech laws is not so much guilty verdicts as an insidious chilling of political debate, as people censor themselves in order to avoid legal charges and the stigma and expense they bring.”
This “swirl of speech-law charges, lawsuits, and investigations” is now sustained by an “antiracism” industry. “Europe’s speech laws are written and applied in ways that leave activists on the political left free to whitewash crimes of leftist regimes, incite hatred against their domestic bogeymen of the well-to-do, and luridly stereotype their international bogeymen, often with history-distorting falsehoods such as fictitious claims of genocide said to be committed by the United States and Israel. It may be no coincidence that Socialist and extreme-left parties have played central roles in the design of speech laws.”
According to Alexander, this trend represents “the greatest erosion of democratic practice in the world's advanced democracies” since WW2. He recommends that reform-minded Europeans should use “the example of U.S. practice, which tolerates even loathsome speech.” I agree with him. It is time Europeans put aside some of our prejudice against the USA and adopt something similar to the First Amendment in the American Constitution, securing the right to free speech.
However, although this would indeed represent a great step forward, we should not be so naïve as to believe that this will remove all problems. The United States is a nation of laws, but also a nation of lawyers and lawsuits. Even though they may not have laws against “hate speech,” they have other laws that can, with some creativity, be used for legal intimidation by Muslim organizations backed by Saudi Arabian oil money. And there is always the plain, physical fear of Islamic terror attacks.
At Ohio State University, a librarian was accused of sexual harassment after he recommended four best-selling conservative books for a freshman reading program, among them The Professors by David Horowitz and Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye’or. He made the recommendations after others had suggested a series of books with a left-wing perspective. The librarian was put under “investigation” by the OSU after three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against him, saying that the book suggestions made them feel “unsafe.”
Ahmed Mansour fled his native Egypt only to receive death threats from Muslims in the USA. Along with several organizations, Mansour was sued for defamation by the Islamic Society of Boston, which accused them all of conspiring to deny freedom of worship to Boston-area Muslims by criticizing plans for a big new mosque. The decision to pursue Mansour came after his comments at a press conference in 2004. He had gone to pray at the ISB’s current mosque in Cambridge, and described what he had observed: “I am here to testify that this radical culture is here, inside this society,” he said. He had seen “Arabic-language newsletters filled with hatred against the United States.” Books and videos in the mosque’s library promoted “fanatical beliefs that insult other people’s religions.”
An animated image of Muhammad created for a two-part episode of series South Park entitled “Cartoon Wars” was censored before the episodes aired on TV. Series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone criticized Comedy Central as “cowardly” for censoring the episode, which they intended as a commentary on the bloodshed sparked earlier that year by editorial cartoons in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Parker and Stone said they were deeply disappointed that Comedy Central, like most media outlets in the US, had succumbed to a perceived threat of violence in censoring the images. Comedy Central later refused to show the image of Muhammad in reruns of the two-part “Cartoon Wars” episode. The network said it would remain blacked out in future airings and DVD releases.
The case of the Danish cartoons was closely related to another Islamic assault on free speech, the death sentence given by Iranian leader the Ayathollah Khomeini to Salman Rushdie for his “blasphemous” book The Satanic Verses in 1989. The weak and feeble response of the West then, when Muslims “only” threatened one author and his publishers, paved the way for the situation in 2006, when Muslims felt many enough and strong enough in the West to threaten entire countries. There were warnings that this would happen even in the early 1990s, but these warnings were not heeded.
Koenraad Elst describes how, in Amsterdam in 1992, Mohamed Rasoel, a Pakistani immigrant, was charged with racism for his book The Downfall of the Netherlands, Land of the Naive Fools. The judge decided that Rasoel had made “unjustified generalizations” by contrasting “soft Dutchmen” with “crude, cruel, corrupt and bloodthirsty Muslims” and that it was a racist pamphlet written with the sole purpose of inciting hatred.
Mohamed Rasoel had warned in his book that the Dutch were mistaken to tolerate the mushrooming growth of their Muslim population. He predicted that this would lead to a civil war and, at best, the country’s partition. This was during the heat of the Rushdie controversy. The book was taken from the shelves in most bookstores throughout the Netherlands, and quickly forgotten about.
Mohamed Rasoel himself stated that: “It proves that the general thrust of my book is correct, that Dutch society is changing and becoming less tolerant. Freedom of opinion is already being sacrificed. I don’t blame this state attorney, he is a nice man but rather dumb and naïve like most Dutchmen. […] Muslims are allowed to shout: kill Rushdie. […] When Muslims say on TV that all Dutch women are whores, it is allowed. […] It is ridiculous and scandalous that I have to justify myself in court for discrimination of Muslims.”
In the book, Rasoel stated that “Being offended is sometimes purely a form of aggression.” A fitting commentary to both the Rushdie situation and the cartoon Jihad nearly a generation later. “The future is already here. The Netherlands is no longer the safe nation of the past, where a girl could walk alone through the park at night.” “The Dutch, and I mean those who aren’t six feet under ground already, have all in all turned into a frightened people, afraid to make jokes about Muslims, to offend them, fool them, and criticize or correct them.” “Dutchmen have basically been driven into a corner by the Muslims.”
Remember, this was written around 1990. And Rasoel warned that it would get worse. Much worse.
“The behavior of the Muslims currently hasn’t fully deployed yet, and can be compared to the one of the boy who is new at a club. It takes a while before the ice is broken and he starts to move more at ease, until at last his true nature becomes visible.” “And though the Dutch will fight for their norms and values, the Muslims will not only surprise them once again with their barbaric methods, they will punch straight through their soft and decent defense.” “Afterwards the Muslims will steadily continue to overmaster and dominate the Dutch, who will have no choice but to participate in a game of tug of war where they will steadily lose ground.” “By 2050 there will be no Netherlands left, or at least, nothing worth calling it that.”
Maybe, if the Dutch and other Westerners had been able to widely read and debate these prophetic words of Mohammed Rasoel, critics of Islam such as Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh would still be alive today, and Geert Wilders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and others would not have to live with 24 hours police protection.
The reason why European authorities are becoming increasingly totalitarian in their censorship efforts is to conceal the fact that they are no longer willing or able to uphold even the most basic security of their citizenry. If their governments are no longer capable of protecting them and their freedom of speech, Europeans may have to arm themselves to do this on their own. Michael Moore’s books, ridiculing American “gun nuts,” are bestsellers in Europe. Sadly, The Bill of Rights is less popular reading. Perhaps the time has come for Europeans to also take a second look at the Second Amendment – The right for the people to keep and bear arms.