Islam and barbarity are fellow travellers: Anyone who was shocked by the reaction in Afghanistan, to Pastor Terry Jones’ burning of a Koran, mustn’t have read the news since 1988, when Salman Rushdie published a work of fiction which failed to find favour with the Ayatollahs.
As a child of the eighties I am amongst a generation which cannot recall a time when the media was not suffused with the crimson gore of so many sacrificial offerings to the cause of Jihad. In the week it was reported that the American Pastor, Terry Jones, had put the Koran on “trial”, before consigning it to hellfire (a punishment humorously germane to his Christian heritage), Muslims carried out twenty-six known terrorist attacks, murdering over three-hundred people. This figure takes no account of the UN aid-workers lynched in Mazar-i-Sahrif, or those killed in Kandahar, as recompense for the Pastors scriptural-bonfire. It is not the ritualized depravity of Muslims which is shocking, that is so predictable it’s boring, but the coverage of such events by Western journalists, whose willingness to tacitly condone the most heinous crimes in the name of Allah knows no bounds. More disturbing still is the pathetic reaction of high-ranking politicians and generals, which is not only evidence of their unsuitability to hold high office, it is a harbinger of the lingering death of the Western cultural paradigm: to wit, hard-won freedoms which represent the historical legacy of centuries of religious conflict and reform in Europe; its fundamental, constitutional establishment in the case of USA.
Some of the most repugnant reportage of the killings is to be found in the Guardian, an intellectual sink-hole, beloved of armchair revolutionaries the world over. In their online- comment section under the headline, The Consequences of Quran Burning, the question was asked: Is the Florida Pastor who burnt the Koran morally responsible for the deaths of UN staff in protests in Afghanistan? To which, 44.7% of respondents answered in the affirmative. It is instructive to note the headline fatuously presupposes that killing is the inevitable result of burning a book containing plagiarized, nay, stolen mythology. This is nothing more than the bigotry of low expectations, writ large! When was the last time an American Christian hacked off the head of a Muslim in response to the suicide bombing of a church? An event which is a common occurrence in the “dar-al-Islam”, and far more offensive than burning a book! When a commenter correctly pointed out that the Pastor was acting well within the law, and was guilty of nothing other than destroying his own property, the Guardians Matt Seaton choose to defend their original question by posing one of his own: “All very well, but isn’t this precisely analogous to the free speech exemption that prohibits shouting ‘Fire!’ in a crowded room: that is, it is done knowingly involving reckless endangerment, and quite possibly wishing for this kind of bad result.”
That this passes for a logical argument in Guardian-land is worrisome. Reckless endangerment, of the “fire-in-a-crowded-theatre” variety, requires proximity, whereas Mazar-i-Sharif is thousands of miles from the Pastors Floridian home. Even more damning is the fact that the Koran burning event actually took place days before the brutality in Afghanistan. Put simply, the Pastors actions bore no temporal or geographical relationship to the murders perpetrated, as they were, by unwashed, ululating barbarians. Therefore, no direct, causal link can be inferred to exist between them. Worse still, the Pastor didn’t “shout” anything, insomuch as whisper it. His actions were trumpeted by provocative, politically motivated, media-outlets such as the Guardian. Thus, invoking Matt Seaton’s own “reasoning” renders him morally responsible for the murders! One commenter’s retort amply illustrated the fallacy; “Is Matt Seaton saying that Islam has made the entire world a crowded room”? If Pastor Jones is culpable the answer is a resounding “YES!” Besides if Terry Jones bears any responsibility for the actions of outraged Muslims, then there are many others who are similarly liable. Should we hold Salman Rushdie responsible for the Fatwa against him? Are we required to exhume Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh, to be posthumously tried, as co-conspirators to their own murders? Only a fool would take that position; and so they do towards Terry Jones.
For shame, the fever pitch of appeasement and politically correct one-upmanship in various quarters of the American media managed to surpass the Guardian comments page. In light of this the USA should seriously reconsider its self-congratulatory title “the land of the free”, and it certainly can’t lay claim to being “the home of the brave”, especially where Rick Sanchez, of CNN and the Huffington Post, is concerned. In his article Burning the Quran is No Childish Game, which is so poorly argued a child would be ashamed of it, he tells us how he pacifies his children when their play-time disputes needlessly escalate, opining, “Children have to be taught to settle disputes and express their opinions respectfully. Unfortunately, it’s a lesson some adults never seem to have learned.”
Mr. Sanchez should have heeded his own sage advice when interviewing Pastor Jones last year on CNN. During that interview he denounced Jones’ earlier threat to burn a Koran, glibly stating, “That’s like saying I’m gonna burn down your house, because I don’t like your house; It’s not my place to burn down your house.” If this is the sense of respectfulness and proportion which Rick Sanchez teaches his children then I see them as future candidates for Americas Most Wanted, for burning a book is not comparable to wanton arson!
Sanchez concludes his Huffington Post article with a perfect example of the horrifyingly common lack of spine, guts, balls and brains which painfully manifests itself when Muslim criminality is the topic of debate. Once again he chooses to mischaracterize Pastor Jones actions, adding a transparent, fawning appeal to popularity for good measure; “The lesson he needs to learn is that he has every right to express his opinion about Islam or to disagree with Muslims, but he doesn’t have to spit in their faces to do it. He didn’t need to desecrate a book that one and a half billion people hold sacred in order to make a point.” Firstly, the Pastor didn’t spit on anyone; secondly, one and a half billion people do not believe the Koran is “sacred”. Even if that was the case it would be no reason whatsoever to refrain from setting it alight. In fact, such cowardly desire to succumb to groupthink means that the Pastor should be defended even more staunchly! If freedom is to mean anything, it is the freedom to dissent which must be upheld.
There are dozens articles and commentaries regarding the Mazar-i-Sharif massacre, as vexatious and illogical as those mentioned above, emanating from publications of every political persuasion. It is easy to discount them as the asinine ramblings of low-life hacks and attention grabbing provocateurs. Unfortunately, pronouncements made by elected politicians and serving military commanders cannot be cast off so lightly.
Liam Fox, Defence Secretary for the UK, appeared on the BBC in response to the Afghan atrocity. He came on-air to emphasize how good security in the region has been recently. I will “stick my neck out”, on behalf of the UN staff who were decapitated, in saying that things are probably not what they should be, apropos security, in Mazar-i-Sharif. In concluding his appearance Mr. Fox completely lost his head, naively expressing the hope that the killings were, “an aberration, and not the beginning of a trend”. If there is not, and has not been a trend of violence in the area to what end have Western troops and UN humanitarian workers been deployed there? On the evidence of the footage coming out of Afghanistan for the past decade they certainly haven’t been maintaining the parks and gardens!
Liam Fox’s apparent lack of objectivity surrounding the situation in Afghanistan pales in comparison to the treasonous response of United States Senator Lindsey Graham. Appearing on Face the Nation that oleaginous quisling bemoaned his inability to bring Terry Jones to book, for burning a book of his own, saying, “You know I wish we had some way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.” War; what war? He went on to justify his bizarre assertion, likening the American presence in Afghanistan to the Second World War by declaring, “During world war two you had limits on what you could say if it inspired the enemy.” Laughably, Graham’s argument requires that Islam itself is America’s enemy because any observant Muslim would be “inspired”, at least to some degree, by the desecration of their holy book. Of course the natural enmity between the USA (indeed the West in general) and Islam is axiomatic and is predicated on their mutually exclusive fundamental principles. Nevertheless it is a fact which low-calibre individuals like Lindsey Graham fastidiously seek to ignore. More likely, the Senators regret that he is legally unable to punish Terry Jones is borne of a false belief in his own inherent superiority to the Pastor. His desire to pronounce upon the bounds of public discourse renders him more suitable to hold office in North Korea than the USA, whose constitution’s first amendment famously states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Contrast that noble declaration with the third article of Afghanistan’s constitution:
In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.
The irreconcilable juxtaposition of these two articles is summed up in the opening lines of Rudyard Kipling’s, The Ballad of East and West:
Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till earth and sky stand presently at gods great judgement seat;
Such a politically incorrect notion might aggravate the West’s multitude of multicultural know-nothings. But Kipling’s next line, a pleasantly humane couplet, illuminates the idiocy of Lindsey Graham:
But there is neither East nor West, border, nor breed, nor birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!
Kipling was right: Strength commands respect, it is a universal currency, but it is a quality too subtle to be measured solely by military force. Lindsey Graham swore a solemn oath to uphold the United States constitution, and ran for cover at the merest sign of strife. When an elected representative is prepared to disavow his nation’s foundational document, in order to pacify a mob of illiterate murderers, it is to be expected that further capitulations will follow.
Even more ridiculous than Senator Grahams unprincipled outpouring was the joint statement made by General David Petraeus’ and the NATO representative and British ambassador Mark Sedwill. Appearing outside the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters they looked like a pair of naughty schoolboys, all clasped hands and solemnly furrowed brows. The pair then treated the world to a Kafkaesque kow-tow, delivered in the most excruciating newspeak, in which the lamentable Petraeus began, “We condemn the action of the individual in the United States who burned a copy of the Holy Quran. That action was hateful; it was intolerant, and it was extremely disrespectful,” Sedwill then added, with the upmost contrition, “This was an act of disrespect to the Muslim faith and to all peoples of faith. It does not represent the views of the peoples or governments of the alliance.” Is that so? How does burning a Koran show disrespect to “all peoples of faith”? And by what authority does this fawning, empty-suit presume to convey the “views of the people”? Sedwill eventually mustered a perfunctory mention of the real victims, toward the end of the statement he said, “Our condolences, of course, go out to everyone who’s been hurt in the demonstrations”. Of course! But “hurt” is a wholly unsuitable way to describe religiously inspired decapitation. Needless to say “men” like Mark Sedwill are never at a loss for adjectives when racing to the defence of Islam.
It was none other than Benjamin Franklin who said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”, we ignore him at our peril. Bending over backwards to apologize for and to appease radical Muslims has become something of a team sport among Western leaders and opinion makers, but their attempts to mollify the acolytes of Mohammed have been in vain. Across the Muslim world homosexuals are hanged from cranes; women are murdered for the crime of being raped; churches are burned and bombed; apostates are executed; slavery is still practiced; pre-pubescent girls, whose clitorises have been cut out, are “married” to old men; indigenous cultures are oppressed; reformers are assassinated; Jews are an endangered “species”, and anti-semitic literature is rife. Yet we in the West are wracked with guilt when a no-name preacher in Florida sets fire to a book! Where are the feminists? Where are the gay-rights activists? I am an anti-theist, and as such I know that Pastor Jones religious faith is every bit as delusional as that of the most extreme Muslim. However, the beleaguered Pastor and I both understand the wisdom of the Christian idiom found in Luke, chapter six verse forty-four:
For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. [King James version]
It is the tree of Islam, whose boughs are heavy and festooned with pestilential fruit, which motivated Terry Jones to protest, in peace, by burning a Koran. Anyone who believes in freedom, real freedom that is, not the kind “guaranteed” by the largesse of the state, should support his right to do so. The flame of the torch of Liberty is weak and guttering, as it always has been. If it must be fuelled with pages from the Koran then so be it; let us all congratulate Pastor Terry Jones for providing the spark.