The first gathering of the Stop Islamization of Nations Congress took place on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the city-and nation-targeted by pan-Islamic jihadists on that clear September day. Considering the deeply-rooted religious and ideological convictions that were to serve as the fulcrum of those massacres, it was only fitting that any discussion of Islam’s predatory relationship to the inalienable rights of Americans take place on that day and in this city. However, the scope of this discussion extended well beyond the borders of America, because the ambitions of Islamic jihad go well beyond the geography of the United States.
That’s why men and women from across the globe came to New York City last week to attend the Stop Islamization of Nations Congress. Oppressed people throughout the world, from non-Malay second class citizens living in a “moderate” Muslim country, to indigenous Burmese threatened by Southeast Asian jihadists standing up for their illegal alien Islamic brethren the Rohingyas-even as they labor under the despotic reign of a military junta-to Iranian exiles forced to flee from the terror that is Khomeinism, came to stand in solidarity with their fellow freedom activists inside of the Millennium Plaza Hotel.
Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer deserve credit for having the tenacity and courage to make such an event possible, regardless of the personal costs and risks that attend to launching a campaign as déclassé as standing up for free inquiry and open debate. Even as every major organ in this country’s cadaverous media complex refuses to show the satirical cartoons published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo-sketches approved by my namesake, a man with more courage than the entire editorial staffs of the Washington Post and New York Times combined-the individuals responsible for the SION conference continue to stand up for the inalienable rights which are imperiled by global jihadism in its various manifestations.
The actions of Charlie Hebdo echo the bravery exhibited by the editors of Jyllands Posten and cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, so it was only fitting that the final panel of last week’s SION conference should include Anders Gravers of Stop the Islamization of Europe, which was created during the manufactured Jyllands Posten conflagration in order to defend European values from jihadist incursions. Hailing from Denmark, home to Jyllands Posten, Gravers has a unique perspective on what it means to live in a nation that’s been subjected to a carefully orchestrated, meticulously planned, global campaign of hatred and intimidation initiated by the adherents of Islam, who-at one point in our collective history-were more accurately characterized as Mohammedans.
The attempt by totalitarian Islamic states to intimidate the Danish people into passively acquiescing to sharia law-including its absolute prohibition of criticism of Mohammed and Islamic dogma-along with the internal assault by an Islamic fifth column within Europe’s borders, prompted Mr. Gravers to found an organization based upon the premise that the seemingly inexorable Islamization and dhimmification of his country and continent could be reversed.
In order to stand up for what had heretofore been regarded as inviolable human rights, he had to withstand an unceasing barrage of criticism from what he charitably calls the misleadia, a vast network of increasingly obsolescent press outlets that, rather than conducting intrepid, investigative journalism, concentrate their energies upon demonizing and denigrating ordinary individuals who pose simple questions about the direction in which Europe is headed.
Much like his fellow countryman, Lars Hedegaard of the Danish Free Press Society has withstood intense political pressure to renounce his beliefs and truckle to the transformation of his country into something completely alien to most Danes who grew up in the aftermath of post-war Europe. His prosecution by the government for “hate speech” was, in its essence, a heresy trial where he was prosecuted for having the temerity to openly question a system where unfettered immigration of Muslims from third world nations is coupled with a revocation of fundamental natural rights, foremost among them being the liberty to speak and write without fear of reprisals from agents of the state.
Although Mr. Hedegaard emerged from this state-sponsored debasement more or less intact, and-in a sense-triumphant, this ritual of state-driven, Islamist-supported intimidation established a precedent which will be followed in the future. Europe’s modern witch hunters will, henceforth, find new victims to burn at the stake, because the capacity of bien pensant elites to punish speech deemed insensitive to the feelings of Muslims-like the capacity for (selective) Muslim outrage-is boundless. Just like officials in the United States, Eurocrats need something to deflect attention from the real problem facing Europe.
However, the persecution of these individuals is merely a shadow of the threat posed by the growth of an imported ideology which seeks to extend its dominion over all human affairs-an all-encompassing religion wherein the personal is political, and vice-versa. Those who aren’t patient enough to wait for the state to punish anti-Islamic speech often try to take matters into their own hands, as the man speaking in the video above, acclaimed Swedish artist and iconoclast Lars Vilks, well knows.
Mr. Vilks was not well known outside of Europe, or artistic circles, before he created the satirical drawing that you see above. Mohammed as a roundabout dog-an installation art movement begun in Sweden-was meant to test the limits of artistic expression within the confines of today’s stultifying political correctness and reluctance to gainsay left wing shibboleths.
The reason we know about this drawing today is precisely because the fear, timidity, and groveling solicitude regularly shown towards The Religion of Peace-and its warped conception of free speech-forced art directors who were initially willing to host his artwork to beg off, which in turn prompted a newspaper to publish the drawing that has-for better or worse-become inextricably linked with Mr. Vilks’s identity as an artist. The caricature of Mohammed as half-canine would go on to be displayed in a Scandinavian art exhibition-complete with a cautionary curatorial note that would normally precede an exhibit devoted to examining war crimes. However, it “went viral” because a single news editor had the temerity to make a choice all too many editors, publishers, publishing houses, academics, and ostensible journalists blanche at making.
The decision by Nerikes Allehanda to publish roundabout Mohammed led to a chain reaction which might have been predicted by anyone who had followed the course of the first battle of the Cartoon Wars. One of Mr. Vilks’s aggrieved critics-seen above-decided to take matters into his own hands, and-along with other members of Somali militia/Al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabaab-plot his murder. What’s remarkable is that this was just one of nearly half a dozen major terrorist attempts on his life, including one undertaken by an American Muslim convert who went by the colorful moniker Jihad Jane. The incongruity of a blond woman from Pennsylvania leading an international plot aimed at his assassination was not lost on Vilks, who described it as something you would typically find in the plot to a suspense-thriller.
One of pleasant surprises of this fascinating speech was its brilliantly sardonic wit and lacerating humor, which I hadn’t expected when I first came to the SION Conference. Most people would have difficulty apprehending the humor of the harebrained schemes concocted with the ultimate goal-however unrealized-of facilitating that person’s death. However, Vilks was able to mine humor from what would ordinarily be seen as terrifying circumstances, even to lightheartedly mock the transparent illiteracy of some would-be Pakistani jihadists-seen above.
As well as their inability to acquire an actual Swedish flag to incinerate during their anti-Vilks hate rally. A problem that, perhaps unsurprisingly, does not bedevil Muslims seeking to vent their anti-American sentiments.
His sense of levity extended to those who satirized him as an artist-such as the cartoonist who created the deprecatory drawing seen above. In fact, he contrasted this peaceful, lawful critique of his artwork with the coercive violence that serves as the default reaction within large sections of the global community of Muslim worshippers. One manifestation of this tendency was the fire-bombing of his home in Sweden, the results of which you can see below.
Although not as imminent a threat to his life, the attacks upon Lars Vilks during lecture tours he conducted throughout his native Sweden demonstrate perhaps an even more disturbing phenomenon found within academic circles.
Whether he is being bombarded with eggs, paint-as seen above-or that old standby, closed fists, Vilks has been subjected to a systemic campaign of intimidation that passes for debate in the cloistered, intolerant halls of academe. The intellectually torpid environment, inflexible hostility to Western culture and lack of critical analysis found in most liberal arts universities only serves to reinforce the pre-existing obedience to authority and customs ingrained within Islam, a toxic interaction illustrated by the collegiate experience of the architect of 9/11.
This is yet another reason why I agree with other panelists from the SION conference, who reiterated the necessity of revising our disastrous federal immigration policy, which routinely confers residence-if not citzenship-upon people who are not only unassimilable and a burden upon taxpayers-but often present an potentially lethal security risk, to say nothing of the danger posed by those who enter this country illegally.
Yes, we must stand up for the essential liberties that differentiate our culture from their theirs. We must also rediscover the ability to mock our enemies and their myopic world view, which doesn’t recognize the inherent irony of violently marauding in opposition to a film depicting their prophet as an inveterately violent human being. And we must absolutely resist the urge to not write, draw or speak about this subject. However, as we affirm the necessity of preserving the values and culture of the Enlightenment, we must also acknowledge that the post-war experiment of creating a multicultural society built from the planks of unfettered immigration has failed. I hope to write about that failure, and how it can be addressed, in the days ahead.