Before reading Nathan Lean’s call for the restriction of the freedom of speech of critics of jihad and Islamic supremacism in the Los Angeles Times, it is illuminating to bear a few things in mind.
First: Nathan Lean, the editor-in-chief of Aslan Media, is a thug who has sent me numerous veiled threats. For security reasons, I maintain several offices and mailboxes in different parts of the country, and don’t actually live near any of them or check the mail in them myself. Nathan Lean got hold of one of the addresses, and several months ago tweeted me, in a complete non-sequitur, the name of the state it is in. A week later, he sent me another tweet including the name of the city where one of these mailboxes is located. Four months after that, he sent me an email calling me a “dumb fuck” and adding “But, having a look at this, I kind of pity you,” which was followed by a link containing a photo of a woman in the same city. The woman has the same surname as mine; apparently Lean thought she was my wife.
Now, the purpose of these tweets and emails is unmistakable: Nathan Lean was signaling to me that he thought he knew my whereabouts (and that of my family), despite my attempts to conceal them. And why would he want me to think that he knew where I was? So that I would be frightened into silence, afraid that one of his many violence-inclined allies might do me in if I continued to speak out for freedom and human rights. I therefore duly forwarded all these communications to the FBI, and they’ve informed me that they’re keeping on eye on Nathan Lean.
Yet this gutter thug still remains in the employ of Islamic supremacist hate propagandist Reza Aslan, and is published in the Los Angeles Times, which tells you a great deal about Reza Aslan and the Los Angeles Times.
Second, by publishing this thug’s screed calling for restriction of the freedom of speech, the Los Angeles Times is cutting its own throat. For my opinions are certainly politically incorrect today, but if Lean succeeds in getting them criminalized, his patrons at the LA Times might find one day that they, too, hold an opinion unacceptable to those in power, but the precedent to silence them will already have been set, with their willing help.
“Anders Behring Breivik: Norway’s sane killer,” by Nathan Lean in the Los Angeles Times, August 26 (thanks to all who sent this in):
…The Islamophobia that led Breivik to his ruinous binge, for example, came from his digestion of the writings of several anti-Muslim activists, including bloggers Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, who head the group Stop the Islamization of America. Breivik mentioned them in his 1,500-page manifesto, posted online.
Nathan Lean must get up every morning and thank Allah for Anders Behring Breivik; after all, where would he be without him? In any case, as long as Lean keeps repeating his libel, I will keep telling the truth: while he’d like you to believe that Breivik’s “manifesto” is just Geller and me through and through, actually Breivik cited many, many people, including Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, and Thomas Jefferson — who are just three of the many who are never blamed for his murders. Also swept under the rug is the fact that whether he is sane or not, Breivik’s manifesto is actually quite ideologically incoherent — so far was he from being a doctrinaire counter-jihadist that he wanted to aid Hamas and ally with jihad groups. I am no more responsible for Breivik than the Beatles are for Charles Manson.
Indeed, the whole attempt to smear Pamela Geller and me with Breivik’s murders rests on several leaps of illogic and unstated assumptions. Even if Breivik’s views really were exactly the same as ours, as Lean wants you to think, would the Los Angeles Times or Nathan Lean (well, maybe he would) really stand behind the idea that if someone commits violence in the name of an idea, that idea is thereby discredited and must be driven out of the public discourse? In that case, precious few ideas would be left, since people at one time or another have committed violence in the name of virtually every cause under the sun.
In any case, if ideas that were deemed to lead to violence really were silenced, the proponents of a supposedly peaceful Islam that Nathan Lean is so anxious to protect and defend would be silenced as well. After all, Lean admits below that Geller and I denounced Breivik’s violence. But that is not enough for him: the whole thrust of his piece here is the claim that what we say and do inspires other people to do violence. Now, that is not in the slightest degree true of what Pamela Geller and I say and do, but it is certainly true of the many, many imams worldwide who openly teach that Muslims should wage war against unbelievers, and also true of those who don’t teach violence openly, but do teach hatred and contempt of those outside the accepted circle (which, incidentally, Nathan Lean teaches as well). And if we denounce violence but must nevertheless be silenced, then so also must peaceful Muslims such as Nathan Lean’s boss Reza Aslan, who supposedly denounces Islamic violence but has written favorably many times about the violent jihad terror groups Hamas and Hizballah.
The pair has agitated some of the country’s nastiest displays of prejudice. Their bus advertisements equating the Palestinian cause with jihad created a stir in New York and San Francisco, and they fanned the flames of the uproar over the Park51 Islamic Community Center in 2010.
This one made me laugh: Pamela Geller and I are “equating the Palestinian cause with jihad”! No one ever thought to do it before we did! Apparently Nathan Lean hopes his hapless Times readers know nothing about Ahlam Tamimi, who praised Allah for the murders of Israelis in a pizza parlor (murders in which she participated), or about the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has called for jihad to liberate “Palestine,“; or about Jordanian Muslim cleric Riyadh al-Bustanji, who said recently: “I have brought my daughter to Gaza, so that she can learn from the women of Gaza how to bring up her children on Jihad, martyrdom-seeking, and the love of Palestine,” or thousands of other Muslims worldwide who have called the Israel/”Palestinian” conflict a jihad. No! It is all just a nasty display of prejudice by Geller and Spencer!
Damningly, they see their mission as Breivik saw his: They call themselves “freedom fighters” on a valorous journey to save the world from Muslims.
Like his boss Reza Aslan, Nathan Lean can’t even be honest or decent enough to characterize his foes’ views accurately. In reality, we are not trying to “save the world from Muslims,” but from a radically repressive, supremacist political ideology that denies the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law. If Muslims sincerely renounce these aspects of Islamic law and work against their spread, they are welcome to join us, as I have said repeatedly throughout my public work.
But when it was publicized that the Norway killer mentioned Spencer and Geller in his writings, they cried foul. “Clearly this individual is insane,” Spencer wrote on his blog. After Breivik’s initial psychological evaluation Geller expressed relief, writing, that Breivik was “declared certifiably insane, which was evident by his actions and his ten-years-in-the-making manifesto.”
The magnitude of Breivik’s butchery was apparently sufficient evidence of his psychosis. No normal person, in Geller and Spencer’s view, would ever do such a thing. But only if that person is not a Muslim. When Muslims engage in violence, they are represented by Islamophobes as ordinary believers acting in a way that aligns with tenets of their faith, not fringe lunatics whose delusional religious interpretations lead them to a monstrous end. Though Spencer and Geller denounced Breivik’s violence, they never rejected his anti-Muslim ideas. And that is a problem.
Here again, Lean ignores the extremely inconvenient fact that when Muslims engage in violence, they repeatedly justify that violence by reference to mainstream Muslim understandings of Islamic texts and teachings, and peaceful Muslims have not mounted any large-scale movement to oppose them or interpret those texts and teachings in a different way. He pretends instead that it is we who have equated Islam with violence. A few thousand imams preaching from the Qur’an and Sunnah would beg to differ.
The Norwegian court’s verdict, which means that Breivik will spend at least 21 years behind bars (and probably much more), underscores the need for society to address those who promote hatred and jabber about the evils of multiculturalism and the looming clash of civilizations. It proves that amplified racism, which carves society into fragments and pits them against one another, has real consequences and reaches the minds of rational thinkers who absorb such narratives and take them to their logical conclusions.
Trying to wish away intolerance and bigotry may be convenient but it is costly. During Breivik’s trial, a right-wing extremist testified that he knew of nearly 100 other people who share the killer’s views and supported his massacre….
The discourse of hate must be stopped before it affects other extremists quietly waiting for an opportunity to be lauded as heroes.
Here we come to the heart of Lean’s argument: he wants “society” to take action against those who stand for freedom and human rights against jihad, Sharia and Islamic supremacism, for we “must be stopped.” This is a veiled but clear call for restrictions on our freedom of speech — as clear as his threats against me. Lean, like the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), wants speech critical of Islam to be criminalized. And the Los Angeles Times, to its everlasting discredit, publishes this.
That fact is the worst part of Lean’s article: that he is given ready entree to mainstream media outlets to publish his hateful libels and calls for the restriction of our Constitutional rights, but we are not allowed any space for rebuttal of his false charges. When the Breivik libel first began appearing, Pamela Geller and I submitted a rebuttal op-ed to the chief places that had smeared us: the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the rest. None even had the courtesy to answer. But this enabler of Islamic supremacist oppression and hatred has easy access to the largest forums for influencing public opinion.
Nonetheless, because he stands for nothing but lies and hatred, Nathan Lean’s cynical attempt to monetize the hysteria about “Islamophobia” is doomed to fail. If, however, he somehow does succeed in silencing those who are defending the freedom of speech and other basic human rights, his children and his children’s children, having endured the devastation that his Islamic supremacist masters have wrought upon the West, will rise up and curse his name.
I’d rather fail in defending freedom than succeed with a legacy like that.