Wednesday, February 22, 2006



Just when you think Islamist extremism has reached a new low, it turns out that Islamist governments are using it to threaten sovereign countries who won't bend to their will.

Nice civilization you got here. It’d be a shame if something happened to it.

That was the sinister subtext of a letter addressed to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, asking him to “take all those responsible to task under law” for the infamous Mohammed cartoons. The letter is remarkable for when it was sent and for who sent it.
The letter was signed by the eleven ambassadors of Islamic or heavily-Islamic countries. Libya, Algeria, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Palestine, Indonesia, Morocco, and Bosnia-Herzegovina complained about the Jyllands-Posten cartoons on October 12, long before the current round of protests.

It is, of course, their right to complain, but demanding legal action is pretty arrogant. It’s also depressing, because it shows that these worldly ambassadors don’t even know how a free country works. Asking an executive to restrain lawful speech in a free country is like asking him to kindly restrain the rotation of the moon.

But that’s not the surprising part. The surprise is the implied extortion at the end of this paragraph:
"We strongly feel that casting aspersions on Islam as a religion and publishing demeaning caricatures of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) goes against the spirit of Danish values of tolerance and civil society. This is on the whole a very discriminatory tendency and does not bode well with [sic] the high human rights standards of Denmark. We may underline that it can also cause reactions in Muslim countries and among Muslim communities in Europe."

“Reactions?” Whatever could they mean by that?

Peaceful protests? Harsh language? Nothing to worry about in a democracy with a strong free speech tradition, thanks. All in a day’s work. Not worth warning us about.


Among the signatories of the letter, Iran has the most to gain from radicalizing the Muslim world right now. As America and Israel contemplate military strikes against Iran’s nuclear program, the smart play for Iran is to poison any efforts at cooperation between the United States and countries in the region—and specifically Turkey, which has already refused to serve as a staging area for American troops during the Iraq invasion. If Iran can convince Turkey to withhold its support again, the mullahs will have neutralized our 39th Air Base Wing at Incirlik without firing a shot.

If that state-security scenario sounds too conspiratorial for you, the alternative is no more reassuring: these signatories of the letter know that their nations are not in control at all. Radical Islamists are calling the shots, and there is nothing Islamic states can do to stop them.
If that is the case, it is a surprising and devastating indictment of global Islam. It is one thing for American pundits and politicians to say the Religion of Peace has been hijacked by violent extremists; it’s far more frightening when the warning comes from the governments that know it best.

The eleven countries (actually, it's ten countries and one piddling little territory whose very existence relies on Western largesse) named in the article, Libya, Algeria, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Morocco, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Palestinian Authority, are all now on record as having made good on threats to employ state-sanctioned violence against Western countries who refuse to submit to their will. No more can Islam claim to be a "peaceful religion" when it so clearly has a mandate by its governments to terrorize and commit acts of war around the globe. The gloves should come off now.

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