In “An honor worth defending” in the IHT (thanks to all who sent this in), Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls on the West to recover its spine and defend its culture and civilization, as I do also in my forthcoming book Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t (coming in August from Regnery). But there is a curious phrase in the opening paragraph:
Imagine if a crowd of Englishmen marched in London carrying effigies of Muhammad, peace be upon him, stacks of the Koran, miniatures of the Kaaba in Mecca and Saudi flags. Imagine if they then built a bonfire and hurled the items one at a time into that fire screaming “Long Live the Queen!” each time the flames shot up.
“Peace be upon him”? This is an interjection that pious Muslims add after uttering the name of a prophet. Yet Hirsi Ali has referred to Muhammad as a tyrant and a pervert. She has not presented herself as a Muslim except in a broad cultural way. So I wonder: did she add this interjection herself, as a means of identifying herself as a cultural Muslim? Or did an editor at Tribune Media Services (which distributed this piece) or the IHT add it in as an exercise in politically correct sensitivity?
If anyone knows, write me at director[at]jihadwatch.org.
Anyway, Hirsi Ali goes on:
This would be the equivalent of what hardline Muslim students did in the eastern Pakistani city of Multan, to take just one example, when they burned effigies this week of Queen Elizabeth II and Salman Rushdie, chanting “Kill him! Kill him!” in response to his recently bestowed knighthood.
Westerners have too often shrugged their shoulders at the trashing of their icons – such as when the queen is burned in effigy – by the foot soldiers of tribal barbarism. This perceived weakness makes the foes of the West more ferocious and helps recruit more jihadists.
Instead the West should join together to vigorously defend its symbols and civilization that, with all its flaws, still offers the best life to the most people.
By knighting Salman Rushdie, the queen has honored the freedom of conscience and creativity cherished in the West, making her a symbol of the essence of our way of life.