This article summarizes the Islamic jihad against the freedom of speech that I have spoken and written about for years — you can get a great deal of information about the OIC’s war against free speech in my 2008 book Stealth Jihad and my 2013 book Arab Winter Comes to America.
It is remarkable that the Washington Post, which usually aids and abets this campaign to smear and defame foes of jihad terror, would publish this. They did so because the author is a Muslim with (from the looks of this article) an apparent breezy confidence in an imminent massive reformation of Islam. Thus the Post editors can publish this piece without fear of appearing “Islamophobic” themselves.
Unfortunately, that reform not on the horizon, and there is no mention in this piece of an even bigger elephant in the room: the fact that those who try to silence (either with violence or by destroying their reputations) those who speak negatively about jihad terror can point to passages of the Qur’an and Sunnah to support their actions. Muhammad had people who criticized him murdered in cold blood; why shouldn’t Hamas-linked CAIR and the “Islamophobia” mongers try to ruin the careers and lives of critics of jihad? That’s comparably moderate.
Aside from those issues, however, Asra Q. Nomani is to be applauded for daring to speak out against this fascist enterprise. How many other Muslims are doing so? If the mainstream narrative were true, there would be thousands. But instead, there is just one.
“Meet the honor brigade, an organized campaign to silence debate on Islam,” by Asra Q. Nomani, Washington Post, January 16, 2015:
“You have shamed the community,” a fellow Muslim in Morgantown, W.Va., said to me as we sat in a Panera Bread in 2004. “Stop writing.”
Then 38, I had just written an essay for The Washington Post’s Outlook section arguing that women should be allowed to pray in the main halls of mosques, rather than in segregated spaces, as most mosques in America are arranged. An American Muslim born in India, I grew up in a tolerant but conservative family. In my hometown mosque, I had disobeyed the rules and prayed in the men’s area, about 20 feet behind the men gathered for Ramadan prayers.
Later, an all-male tribunal tried to ban me. An elder suggested having men surround me at the mosque so that I would be “scared off.” Now the man across the table was telling me to shut up.
“I won’t stop writing,” I said.
It was the first time a fellow Muslim had pressed me to refrain from criticizing the way our faith was practiced. But in the past decade, such attempts at censorship have become more common. This is largely because of the rising power and influence of the “ghairat brigade,” an honor corps that tries to silence debate on extremist ideology in order to protect the image of Islam. It meets even sound critiques with hideous, disproportionate responses.
The campaign began, at least in its modern form, 10 years ago in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, when the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a mini-United Nations comprising the world’s 56 countries with large Muslim populations, plus the Palestinian Authority — tasked then-Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu with combating Islamophobia and projecting the “true values of Islam.” During the past decade, a loose honor brigade has sprung up, in part funded and supported by the OIC through annual conferences, reports and communiques. It’s made up of politicians, diplomats, writers, academics, bloggers and activists.
In 2007, as part of this playbook, the OIC launched the Islamophobia Observatory, a watchdog group based in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, with the goal of documenting slights against the faith. Its first report, released the following year, complained that the artists and publishers of controversial Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad were defiling “sacred symbols of Islam . . . in an insulting, offensive and contemptuous manner.” The honor brigade began calling out academics, writers and others, including former New York police commissioner Ray Kelly and administrators at a Catholic school in Britain that turned away a mother who wouldn’t remove her face veil.
“The OIC invented the anti-‘Islamophobia’ movement,” says Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a frequent target of the honor brigade. “These countries . . . think they own the Muslim community and all interpretations of Islam.”
Alongside the honor brigade’s official channel, a community of self-styled blasphemy police — from anonymous blogs such as LoonWatch.com and Ikhras.com to a large and disparate cast of social-media activists — arose and began trying to control the debate on Islam. This wider corps throws the label of “Islamophobe” on pundits, journalists and others who dare to talk about extremist ideology in the religion. Their targets are as large as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and as small as me.
The official and unofficial channels work in tandem, harassing, threatening and battling introspective Muslims and non-Muslims everywhere. They bank on an important truth: Islam, as practiced from Malaysia to Morocco, is a shame-based, patriarchal culture that values honor and face-saving from the family to the public square. Which is why the bullying often works to silence critics of Islamic extremism….
In an e-mail exchange, the OIC’s ambassador to the United Nations denied that the organization tries to silence discussion of problems in Muslim communities.
The attacks are everywhere. Soon after the Islamophobia Observatory took shape, Sheik Sabah Ahmed al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, grumbled about “defamatory caricatures of our Master and Prophet Muhammad” and films that smear Islam, according to the OIC’s first Islamophobia report.
The OIC helped give birth to a culture of victimization. In speeches, blogs, articles and interviews widely broadcast in the Muslim press, its honor brigade has targeted pundits, political leaders and writers — from TV host Bill Maher to atheist author Richard Dawkins — for insulting Islam. Writer Glenn Greenwald has supported the campaign to brand writers and thinkers, such as neuroscientist and atheist Sam Harris, as having “anti-Muslim animus” just for criticizing Islam.
“These fellow travelers have made it increasingly unpleasant — and even dangerous — to discuss the link between Muslim violence and specific religious ideas, like jihad, martyrdom and blasphemy,” Harris tells me.
Noticing the beginnings of this trend in December 2007, a U.S. diplomat in Istanbul dispatched a cable to the National Security Council, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and various State Department offices. The cable said the OIC’s chief called supporters of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad “extremists of freedom of expression” and equated them with al-Qaeda.
Most of the criticism takes place online, with anonymous bloggers targeting supposed Islamophobes. Not long after the cable, a network of bloggers launched LoonWatch, which goes after Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists and other Muslims. The bloggers have labeled Somali author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a born Muslim but now an atheist opponent of Islamic extremism, an “anti-Muslim crusader.” Robert Spencer, a critic of extremist Islam, has been called a “vicious hate preacher” and an “Internet sociopath.” The insults may look similar to Internet trolling and vitriolic comments you can find on any blog or news site. But they’re more coordinated, frightening and persistent.
One prominent target of the honor brigade’s attacks was Charlie Hebdo, the French newspaper where several staffers were recently killed by Islamic extremists. According to some accounts, as the killers massacred cartoonists, they shouted: “We have avenged the prophet Muhammad.” The OIC denounced the killings, but in a 2012 report, it also condemned the magazine’s “Islamophobic satires.” Its then-secretary general, Ihsanoglu, said the magazine’s “history of attacking Muslim sentiments” was “an outrageous act of incitement and hatred and abuse of freedom of expression.”
Charlie Hebdo is not the only evidence that, to self-appointed defenders of the faith, a call to kill the message can very easily become a plan to kill the messenger. In January 2011, a security officer for the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Salman Taseer, assassinated him after Taseer defended a Christian woman accused of blasphemy. In court, supporters laid flowers on the shoulders of the assassin in approval…..