Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion: Part 2

Creeping Sharia Within the Western Democracies

Burka JusticeA prominent thread was woven throughout last week’s legal conference: the increasing pressure exerted on Western nations by Islamic law, or sharia. Wherever free speech is under threat, much of the impetus for censorship and repression comes from Muslims who wish to restrict the words and actions of others based on the tenets of Islamic law.

It’s true that even if there had been no mass immigration of Muslims into Europe, Canada, and the United States, our governments would still exhibit a tendency to silence dissent. Any truly open discussion about the European Union threatens its very existence, so a push to restrict speech in Europe is inevitable. Similarly, the growing preference among the American intelligentsia for “international law” and other Progressive fads can find little traction as long as public discussion remains frank and open. Pressure will always be brought to bear to mute such discussion, if possible.

However, radical Islam supplies most of the financial backing, street protests, violent intimidation, political initiatives, and legal action aimed at limiting free speech. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has mounted a major effort against free speech, either directly or through its compliant surrogates in the UN and the EU. Whether the issue is defamation of Islam, blasphemy towards the Koran, insulting the prophet Mohammed, or other offenses against Muslim customs and doctrine, the attempted piecemeal implementation of sharia lies at the root of the problem.

One reason I decided to report on the conference by topic rather than panel by panel is that various themes reappeared repeatedly on different panels and in different speeches. The most prominent theme of all was sharia.

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“Creeping” is the appropriate term for the encroachment of sharia. Citizens in the Western democracies, even in their current apathetic and demoralized condition, would balk at devouring the entire Islamic leviathan. But when the beast is cut up into small chunks and served over an extended period of time, it goes down quite easily.

So let’s take a look at some of the bite-sized pieces of sharia that we are being forced to gag down daily:

1. The “freedom of religion” dodge

The freedom-of-religion tactic is widely used by the OIC in its efforts to ban “defamation” (i.e. criticism) of Islam. According to this reasoning, criticism of a religion interferes with the practice of it, and thus violates the freedom of religion as guaranteed by the UDHR and various national constitutions.

In the United States, this means in effect that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment trumps the Free Speech Clause, the Freedom of Assembly Clause, and other parts of the Constitution. Robert Muise reminded us of an incident in Dearborn, Michigan, in which Christians were prohibited from proselytizing at an Arab street festival, and confined in an area which would keep them from making contact with any Muslims. They were assembling peacefully on a public street, yet their First Amendment rights were denied.

In Europe, where constitutional protections for free speech are less stringent, the suppression of free speech is more explicit. Criticizing Islam is described as “provoking religious hatred”, which interferes with freedom of religion or negatively impacts “community cohesion”, and is therefore banned under EU law and various national statutes.

The entire process is an example of a more generic doctrine of politically correct Multiculturalism: if one’s behavior offends or upsets a member of a protected minority, then the feelings of the offended party are prima facie evidence that the protected person has been discriminated against and had his rights violated.

In this Multiculturalism converges with sharia, effectively forbidding any criticism of Islam or Mohammed, exactly as mandated by the Koran, the hadith, and the Sunna.

2. The “defamation” tactic
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Common sense would tell us that only individuals can be defamed, and not groups, and especially not entire religions. But the ideology of PC/MC recognizes the defamation of groups — e.g. “racism” — and the OIC coined the term “Islamophobia” so that criticism of Islam could slip right into the established defamation groove.

On several panels David Yerushalmi explained the ins and outs of defamation as defined under American law. Defaming a group is not actionable in the U.S., but the rules are being bent to try to demonstrate that individuals are defamed when Islam is criticized. The fact that such frivolous lawsuits are unlikely to be successful does not mitigate the “chilling effect” on free speech created by the expensive necessity to mount a defense.

In Canada, defamation rules presume the defendant guilty, and the onus is upon the accused defamer to prove that he is no such thing.

Europe is much further down the illiberal garden path when it comes to defamation. Both Sweden and Finland have criminal laws against hets mot folkgrupp, the defamation of or incitement against an ethnic group. Several people in both countries have been tried and convicted for defaming Islam, which has been redefined as an ethnic group.

Which brings us to:

3. Religion = Race

Morten Messerschmidt pointed out that under EU law, race and religion are considered to be aspects of the same thing. Therefore, criticism of Islam is effectively equivalent to racism, and Islamophobia is enshrined alongside racism in the pantheon of multicultural jurisprudence.

Mr. Messerschmidt also noted that under current European practices, “racism” can even exist between two groups which are manifestly part of the same race. Thus, disparaging inhabitants of another country or even a neighboring province can be construed as “racism”. Insulting the fans of an opposing football team is potentially actionable using this bizarre logic.

Such intricacies of orthodox PC theology make it easier to invoke “racism” against critics of Muslims in, say, Bosnia, Kosovo, or Chechnya, who are not racially distinct from Christian (or post-Christian) Europeans.

In the USA the situation is not so far gone, although we are headed in that direction. Most Muslims in the United States are Arabs, South Asians, Somalis, or African American converts. Whoever voices the slightest criticism of Islam thus makes immediate contact with the third rail of American public discourse. Hence the heroic efforts by George W. Bush and the Pentagon to fight “terrorism” — publicly mentioning the I-word is all but certain to bring on Sudden Political Death Syndrome.

According to David Harris, the situation in Canada is almost as dire as in Europe. Canadian Muslims are massively protected from criticism by the operation of the Human Rights Commissions, which act as an extra-judicial Star Chamber and are charged with punishing any outbreaks of heresy against Multiculturalism. The rules are, of course, enforced selectively on different religions, with Christians enjoying almost no protection at all — this will be discussed in more detail below.

Needless to say, heresy against Multiculturalism dovetails nicely with blasphemy against Islam, and thus the HRCs are effectively enforcing sharia in Canada.

4. The “Islamic finance” scam

Sharia-compliant finance is probably the biggest camel-nose under the tent of Western democracy. Financial institutions stand to make a lot of money from it, and thus generally have no problem with it. Why should they care if Muslims want to encumber themselves with a lot of ridiculous rules when they borrow money? A Muslim dollar is the same as any other dollar, isn’t it?

In the long run, the answer to that question is “no”. Allowing sharia-compliant finance tends to legitimize sharia as an institution, and will make it that much harder down the road to resist other provisions of Islamic law. Dietary restrictions, gender inequality, veiling, and all the other odious aspects of sharia will tend to creep in where SCF has blazed the trail.

It’s possible, however, for sharia opponents in the USA to fight the inroads of Islamic finance the same way the ACLU fights crèches and school prayer: under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. David Yerushalmi pointed out that when the U.S. government took over AIG, it acquired one of the world’s largest sharia-compliant finance institutions. If AIG does not divest itself of all aspects of SCF, then both it and the government are in violation of the First Amendment.

5. Selective enforcement of “hate speech”

Strangely enough, in most Western countries the protections afforded religions are usually enforced solely for the benefit of Islam. Offended Christians are unlikely to mount successful lawsuits or see their defamers charged under the same hate speech laws that Muslims use so effectively.

A gay group in Canada recently attempted to bring a complaint before a Human Rights Commission concerning Muslim comments about homosexuals. It’s not surprising that the HRC refused to accept the complaint. [Error corrected, thanks to Vlad Tepes. It was not a gay group that complained.]

Andrea Williams reported from Britain on her group’s defense of Christians who were charged or sacked for wearing crosses while on the job. Muslim women in Britain are never enjoined from wearing the hijab — in fact, virtually no expression of the Islamic faith under any circumstances attracts official censure. Rules protecting the religious sensitivities of citizens are almost entirely employed to persecute Christians.

In the United States, of course, displays of the Ten Commandments or Christian symbols are relentlessly hounded out of public spaces by the ACLU and similar groups, while Muslims are granted prayer rooms, foot baths, and all the other accoutrements of their faith wherever they demand them.

6. The “heckler’s veto”

The Mohammed Cartoon Crisis was perhaps the largest example of the heckler’s veto since 9/11. Loud, obnoxious protests — especially when accompanied by the implicit threat of violence — is a very effective means of silencing Western critics of Islam and compelling the adherence by non-Muslims to the tenets of Islam.

Another prominent example of this tactic was Lord Ahmed’s threat to put 10,000 Muslim demonstrators on the street in front of Parliament if Geert Wilders showed Fitna at the House of Lords. Lord Pearson described the concern this provoked within the British government, which eventually led to the refusal to allow Mr. Wilders entry into the UK.

Less ostentatious examples of the heckler’s veto occur virtually every day in universities and other public venues across Europe and North America. The question-and-answer session after a recent Geert Wilders speech in Pennsylvania was cut short after unruly members of the audience made their displeasure obvious.

Once again, the heckler’s veto contributes to the “chilling effect” and leads to the widespread self-censorship without which sharia would be unable to gain any traction. Diana West described the blatant self-censorship exerted by Yale University when it pre-emptively pulled the Mohammed illustrations from Jytte Klausen’s book. No fatwa had been issued, no threatening mob had gathered outside the president’s office, and no Muslims had protested the book’s illustrations. All it took was a fear of Muslim reaction — plus the hope of attracting Saudi petrodollars — to send the university into full dhimmitude.

Thousands of trivial examples of the same trend have brought down a blanket of silence over academic discourse. Public discussion of Islam has become limited to the approved talking points laid down by CAIR and the OIC, and most of the enforcement is carried out by the infidels themselves, out of both fear and a desire to be politically correct.

Ms. West observed the importance of Kurt Westergaard and his Turban Bomb cartoon in revealing the alarming extent of self-censorship in our institutions. The Motoons shone a light on the sharia-compliant underside of Western culture, which might otherwise have remained hidden.

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In all the discussions about creeping sharia, speakers and panelists made the repeated point that the problem isn’t Islam itself, which is simply seizing the opportunities offered by Western weakness. The problem is the pandemic of politically correct Multiculturalism, which has infected most political and cultural institutions in our countries.

Turning the tide of sharia will mean reclaiming the right to speak freely and honestly about it, which in turn will require overturning the reigning progressive paradigm, without which sharia could never take hold.

Previous posts about the Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion:

2009   Nov   3   Introduction

Next: The erosion of free speech: intimidation, legal action, self-censorship, “the chilling effect”, political correctness, and the current assault on the First Amendment.

14 thoughts on “Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion: Part 2

  1. @ The problem is the pandemic of politically correct Multiculturalism, which has infected most political and cultural institutions in our countries. –BB

    There’s the rub. And the phrase you wrote after it is very similar to the one I chose for my blog’s hatnote: “If Islam were to disappear tomorrow, the West would still be at grave risk. If modern liberalism were to disappear tomorrow, it would be Islam facing the grave risk from a newly-revived West.”

    Apropos, I subscribe to Auster’s definition of “modern liberalism”.

  2. …well, actually not “so similar” as I said above. Here’s a quotation of the Auster article cited in my blog.

    “This liberal principle of destruction is utterly simple and radically extreme. Yet very, very few people, even self-described hard-line conservatives, are aware of this principle and the hold it has over our society. Instead of opposing non-discrimination, they oppose multiculturalism and political correctness [my emphasis]. But let’s say that we got rid of multiculturalism and political correctness. Would that end Muslim immigration? No. Multiculturalism is not the source of Muslim immigration. The source of it is our belief that we must not discriminate against other people on the basis of their culture, their ethnicity, their nationality, their religion. This is the idea of the 1965 Immigration Act, which was the idea of the 1964 Civil Rights Act applied to all of humanity: all discrimination is wrong, period. No one in today’s society, including conservatives, feels comfortable identifying this utterly simple idea, because that would mean opposing it.”

    Read the rest of my entry’s excerpts. This is really the key to our whole predicament!

  3. … publicly mentioning the I-word is all but certain to bring on Sudden Political Death Syndrome.

    This tidy little bit of moral inversion needs to be reversed post haste.

    Politicians of all stripes need to find themselves starved of votes and thrust from office if they refuse to directly equate Islam with global terrorism.

  4. One of the big problems I have with Sharia finance is the fees paid to bless the transactions. These almost always end up further financing the war against the West. A full-scale Sharia finance system in the West would bring billions more dollars to bear in that effort.

  5. While I believe the freedom should remain to invest in a fund set up with clearly laid-out restrictions on investment (similar to environmentally-friendly funds, no?), I didn’t know about this pay-to-bless scheme that could easily be abused.

    There are plenty more examples in Canada of Muslims getting a free ride while Christians are drawn and quartered.

  6. The last surviving extreme?

    The twentieth century was plagued by extreme political ideologies, most of which were finally seen off. But does one remain?

    I’d like to argue here that one extreme and destructive ideology does remain, namely liberalism.

    Not everyone will immediately accept this claim. After all, liberalism is the political ideology that dominates Western countries like Australia.

    The last surviving extreme

    Well worth a read.

  7. Yes DP111: those Australians are just pathetic. In another of his articles, Auster said: “Liberalism is a suicidal ideology and we need to dump it. Thus: reject liberalism in order to be free to resist Islam”, and one of the View From The Right commenters wrote in still another thread: “Indeed, I see modern liberalism as the most dangerous threat to the survival of Western civilization. The decisive repudiation of modern liberalism is the necessary precursor to any action taken by the West against Islam. Otherwise such a threat to our survival will continue to proceed unopposed and even unacknowledged as such by our ruling elites.”

    If they are right, the cure is simple: let’s repudiate non-discrimination (the exact opposite of what Gordon/Nodrog believes). Those who oppose this repudiation are shortsighted. In fact, today’s predicament is infinitely broader that many people believe in, say, Spencer’s blogsite.

    I do recommend every GoV-er to read the Auster article linked above in my previous posts. The article has even been published in a book: Preserving Western Civilization.

  8. DP111: Yes, Multiculturalism/Liberalism is a totalitarian ideology. Since we know from history that all totalitarian ideologies desire to eliminate some hated group standing in the way we need to ask ourselves who Liberalism wants to eliminate. And it is….whites in general, at least non-Liberal whites and especially white, Christian heterosexual men. They’re just scum.

    Which brings us to the question of whether this is also a genocidal ideology, and the answer, frightening as that may be, is possibly yes. Whites have no right to exist, anywhere. The concept of “morality” in Liberalism is very simple: You have the right to do anything you desire, and I do mean anything. The only thing that is absolutely verboten is to be white and desire the continued physical existence of your people. Whites=bad, everything that eradicates whites=good. That’s all there is to it.

    I notice from the comments on many of the international blogs that I follow, and even some of the Scandinavian ones, that more and more people sense that a storm is coming. The system is broken and the people on top are using increasingly desperate lies and smear tactics to stay at the top of their nice little pyramid scheme. It’s not going to last. Within the coming generation, probably already within the coming five to ten years, we will see really big changes. And I do mean big, no less than WW1 or WW2, and possibly even greater than that.

    What we who are little people should concentrate on doing is to do our best to survive the turbulent times that are ahead and retain as much of our dignity and culture intact as possible so that we can build something new afterward. The current ruling paradigm is dead. The elites know this, too. We must try to formulate a new one, not fix the old one which is dying as we speak.

  9. @ “And I do mean big, no less than WW1 or WW2, and possibly even greater than that.”

    This is exactly what in Jungian, pictorial, archetypal terms, I was talking about a few threads ago referring to the most vindictive of the Tarot cards.

    @ “We must try to formulate a new one, not fix the old one which is dying as we speak.”

    What about Michael O’Meara’s formulations? Christendom is almost gone by now, and we need a replacing numinous (with “n”) force. O’Meara has published powerful articles in The Occidental Quarterly demonstrating that what moves societies is not scientific fact (e.g. IQ studies among blacks vs. whites) but myths. Only myths can galvanize the collective unconscious of a nation. Homer’s epic hypnotized the minds of the ancient Greeks, not the geometric discoveries of the Ionia scientists and philosophers, however brilliant.

    I’ve to talk more about it elsewhere. This is my last post in this thread…

  10. Hey Baron,

    Good post! Just wondering, though. You said that:

    A gay group in Canada recently attempted to bring a complaint before a Human Rights Commission concerning Muslim comments about homosexuals. It’s not surprising that the HRC refused to accept the complaint.

    I’ve been following the HRCs in Canada for a while, now, and I can’t seem to remember that story coming up. That doesn’t mean that it hasn’t happened, of course, and that my memory’s just not doing so hot right now. But do you, or any of the commenters, for that matter, have a source link or anything that I could check out? Because I’d like to follow-up on that a little bit.



  11. Hi Walker.
    I think you know the story actually. It was not a gay group who filed the complaint, it was the fellow who runs the excellent French language web site, Point Du Bascule, or The Tipping Point’ in Quebec. He went to the Quebec HRC and filed charges against a Quebec imam who violated every conceivable spirit and letter of the law in his internet and printed book on how awful are the infidels.
    Of course, the HRC’s declined to hear the case as we all knew they would. This has been written extensively about on Ezra Levant’s site although I think this is a crucially important test case and expose of the real agendas and motives and perhaps even more, of the HRC’s and perhaps other similar groups world wide who selectively enforce their mandate to what seems to be a hidden and certainly illiberal agenda.
    Hope this helps..
    Eeyore for Vlad

  12. Vlad:

    Oh – ok! Yes, I’m quite familiar with that case. I had wondered if that wasn’t what was being referred to.

    Baron: Thanks! I think Vlad may have solved the mystery, though.


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