We in the Western World think our sacred cows are strong enough to withstand mockery and humor. We do not like it when an artist?s work shows a crucifix in a tube of urine; we write indignant letters to the editor, we boycott art exhibits, we even become amateur art critics, as did former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani, over an exhibit he found offensive. But we do not kill over it.
In Muslim-Majority countries, they do indeed kill, not only over anything deemed "insulting" the honor of the Prophet Mohammad (which never would be exhibited in any case), but even those falsely accused of having in some way insulted Islam or the Prophet. "Blasphemy" is a crime punishable by death in Muslim-majority countries, and when opinion polls are taken, if such can be trusted, the majority approves this law, despite all the protestations that this does not represent the core values of Islam. These values have been carried out for 1400 years and people are under sentence for them today.
We can laugh at the ridiculous North Korean dictator?s indignation and cyber attack on Sony, which was about to release a tacky movie "insulting" his honor, but his threats did not work. Many of us have now seen this silly film that we otherwise would have ignored. Kim Il Un lost on this one. But he did not kill.
The Ayatollah Khomeini put a price on the head of author Salman Rushdie because his brilliant and satirical book, The Satanic Verses, poked fun at him. Rushdie still lives, the Ayatollah is long dead, and the book was bought and was far over the head of most readers, especially non-English reading Iranians. Sophisticated Iranians laughed with the rest of us.
What is it that makes Islamists so sensitive about their prophet that they think he can be so easily insulted? Could it be that their entire culture rests on the very shaky notion of honor and insult, not on character and accomplishment? And what makes Islamists think that they can live in Western countries with Western values and yet try to enforce their own medieval concepts down our throats? Even more important: are we prepared to defend the values that make our civilization the place that people from failed civilizations flock to for a better life?
In Paris, on January 7th, two Muslim gunmen burst into a French humor magazine killing with careful deliberation two police and 10 journalists, including the editor in chief and a cartoonist. This publication has made fun of everybody, Jews, Catholics, and Muslims, but only Muslim extremists have seen fit to kill over it. They shouted "God is Great," evidently meaning that God likes killers to assassinate people whose ideas offend. Bystanders heard them say they had "avenged the Prophet," whatever that means.
This is not the only Islamist attack on French culture. There have been attacks and murders of Jews in French suburbs, honor killings, hordes of young French (male and female) who have gone to Syria to fight the Jihad, and France is definitely on alert.
There had better not be any tiptoeing around to avoid "insulting" people who most certainly need to be insulted! This is a war, a war against France, Europe, the United States, and Muslims who dare to be Western.
We really will have to be very vigilant----in our embassies abroad, when we travel as tourists, and in public places. This is a great nuisance, but will be necessary, and must be done calmly and without panic. In the war of ideas, theirs is not a winning one. If it were, why would so many of them be emigrating to the West?
As for all the enthusiastic young European Muslims rushing to join the Jihad in Syria, do not look for their return any time soon. ISIS is killing defectors. They are welcome as cannon fodder, but are not welcome to think for themselves or to "insult Islam" by thinking better of this misbegotten venture.
Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God's Law or Man's Law. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.