One of the chief weapons that American Muslim advocacy groups use to control the public debate about Islamic terrorism is argument by slur: those who dare to defend the equality of dignity of all people against the threat posed by Sharia and jihad are routinely called “bigoted,” “hatemongering,” “reckless,” etc. This is a very clever tactic on their part, for the mortal sin of American politics is bigotry; by employing such language the groups can effectively render many people of good will too afraid to examine the genuine arguments of those so tarred. But here is one instance in which those tactics backfired. From “An Islamist Apology?” by Daniel Pipes in FrontPage:
Something possibly unprecedented has occurred in the battle with radical Islam. A leading Islamist organization has retracted its slurs against me and issued a public apology. This offers a small but important step in blocking the advance of Islamic extremism….
Wahida Valiante of the Canadian Islamic Congress, an Ontario-based group, took this step on April 29, 2005, writing in her organization’s weekly bulletin that I am a follower of Hitler, that I use the tactics of Hitler, and that I want “to ethnically cleanse America of its Muslim presence.”
Did I really need to point out that this representation of me is, in the words of a National Post editorial, “a vicious calumny that Ms. Valiante plucked from thin air”? Must I insist that I really do execrate Hitler? Aver my horror of genocide? Protest that I never espoused expelling or murdering Muslim Americans?
I thought not. Rather than take these demeaning and surely futile steps, I took a different route. Backed by the Heenan Blaikie law firm of Toronto and the CanWest Global Communications Corporation, Stan Fisher of Heenan Blaikie sent a libel notice in early May to each of Valiante, the CIC, and CIC chair Mohamed Elmasry.
On June 10, the CIC published an apology and retraction: “The Canadian Islamic Congress and Ms. Valiante apologize without reservation and retract remarks in the column that suggest that Dr. Daniel Pipes is a follower of Hitler or that he uses the tactics of Hitler or that he wants to ethnically cleanse America of its Muslim presence.” The CIC also sent funds for my legal expenses and made a donation in my honor to a Canadian charity.
The CIC”s action is, to the best of my knowledge, without precedent.
Western Islamist organizations until now have relentlessly attacked, successfully extracting apologies from media figures like Paul Harvey and Mortimer Zuckerman, from businesses like Amazon and Nike, from pastors, columnists, and even from state politicians, a top U.S. general, and the president of the United States.
Never before have they apologized for having libeled a person. The CIC retraction breaks the Islamists” spell of privilege and their miasma of immunity. It establishes, at least in Canada and at present, that Islamist groups do not have impunity to fabricate lies about their opponents. The rule of law does prevail and it applies even to them.
For those who fear the growth of radical Islam, this episode offers encouragement that its forces can be contained and defeated. I hope others will join me in standing up to the new totalitarianism.
And that is precisely what it is.