2005 December 04 Sunday
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam, And Freedom Of Speech

Radical Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed for making the film Submission I, a critical view of Islam's treatment of women. If you have 11 minutes to spare you can go view Submission I in 4 parts. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian-born member of the Dutch parliament who made the film with van Gogh, lives under constant extensive police protection due to death threats against her by angry Muslims. Hirsi Ali intends to finish making the next 3 parts of the Submission short movie series. Timothy Garton Ash recently met with Hirsi Ali and says Hirsi Ali is a big advocate of the value of the Enlightenment.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is much more than just a voice for the voiceless oppressed. In person, she is a thoughtful, calm, clear, almost pedantic spokeswoman for the fundamental liberal values of the Enlightenment: individual rights, free speech, equality before the law. At dinner afterwards, she told me how these liberal individualist ideals were first quickened in her by reading English literature as a schoolgirl in Kenya, where her family had fled from Somalia. She loved the work of Charles Dickens and George Orwell. (As a young Muslim girl, she briefly thought the horrible behaviour of the pigs in Orwell's Animal Farm helped explain why Muslims don't eat pork.) Then, studying political science in the Netherlands, she discovered the classics of western liberalism. Two authors she particularly admires are John Stuart Mill and Karl Popper.

I find her critique of multiculturalism, in the name of Enlightenment liberalism, too sweeping. In my view, her support for the French ban on the hijab in schools and public offices amounts to advocating an unnecessary restriction of individual liberty in the name of individual liberty. But her central claim seems to me vital and irrefutable: if being a free country means anything at all, it must mean that people have the chance to criticise freely, and without fear of reprisal, Islam, Hinduism or Sikhism, as they now in practice have the chance to excoriate Christianity (despite Britain's ridiculous blasphemy laws), Judaism or, for that matter, Darwinism.

I do not find Hirsi Ali's critique of multiculturalism too sweeping. Multicullturalism is a retarded idea promoted by white Western intellectuals intent on demonstrating their moral superiority to other white people at the expense of the West itself.

I think the obvious lesson to learn from van Gogh's death and the fact that many Dutch political figures live under constant police protection is simple enough: Muslim immigration to the West is bad. We shouldn't allow it. It is harmful to our societies. Why inflict damage on ourselves?

Garton Ash points out that Sikhs also threaten critics with death.

This right to free speech, which is to an open society what oxygen is to human life, is under direct threat from people whose position is very simple: if you say that, we will kill you. And not just in the case of Islam. Remember that violent protests and death threats from extremists in Britain's Sikh community forced the playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti into hiding, and her play Behzti off the stage in Birmingham.

Garton Ash points out that the Labour government in Britain is trying to appease British Muslim voters by outlawing harsh criticism of Islam.

How does our government react? By extending police protection to threatened individuals, to be sure, as it did for Salman Rushdie. By making the right noises about tolerance, peaceful protest and free speech. But also - shamefully, stupidly, cravenly - by itself proposing to restrict that right, in an ill-considered, ill-drafted bill to bar "incitement to religious hatred". Among the motives behind the reintroduction of this already once rejected bill in Labour's last election manifesto were appeasement of some self-appointed spokespersons of the Muslim community in Britain and transparent political opportunism - as the distinguished human-rights lawyer and Liberal Democrat peer Anthony Lester observes in an excellent book prepared by English PEN (Free Expression is No Offence, edited by Lisa Appignanesi); he says that the bill was introduced as "a targeted bid to woo British Muslim support for New Labour in marginal constituencies where hostility to the illegal invasion of Iraq had alienated many Muslim and other potential voters from Labour to the Liberal Democrats".

Islam is fundamentallly illiberal and hostile to a free society. Islam's core beliefs are not compatible with a free society. Why disarm ourselves by pretending otherwise? How dare a Western government threaten to jail anyone who speaks their mind about Islam.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 December 04 05:13 PM  Immigration Culture Clash

Theresa said at December 4, 2005 10:32 PM:

Islam is fundamentallly illiberal and hostile to a free society. Islam's core beliefs are not compatible with a free society.

"Islam - Arabic 'islm, submission, from 'aslama, to surrender, resign oneself"

Also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam#Etymology

'Nuff said.

Theresa said at December 5, 2005 12:39 AM:

Also, see Fjordman for the situation of arranged marriages in Denmark >>

The hottest potato in Denmark's immigration debate, the so-called 24-year-rule is in the spotlight again after immigrant organisations and consultants reported that it had failed to help young immigrant women to avoid forced marriages. The rule forbids Danish residents to bring their foreign spouses into the country unless both partners have reached a minimum age of 24. The Liberal-Conservative coalition government has said its main purpose is to prevent young people with immigrant backgrounds from being pressed into marriages with people from their families' homelands. Immigrant organs said that on the contrary, the rule was making life even more difficult for immigrant youths with families bent on making a good match for them in the old country. 'Families that practice forced marriages are increasingly using physical and psychological violence to force a spouse upon their marriages. We experience more and more that parents threaten to kill their children if they don't say yes,' said Leif Randeris, leader of the Immigrants' Counselling Services in Copenhagen and Århus. Randeris said every week he usually helped two girls with foreign backgrounds to get a secret address, because they felt that their lives were in danger after they rejected an arranged marriage. He said the 24-year-rule was causing parents to force their daughters to move to their country of origin, because the regulations prevented them from getting their husbands to Denmark. 'I know a number of girls who are now being kept as domestic slaves with their husbands in the village their parents originally came from,' he said.


silchiuk said at December 5, 2005 7:00 AM:

Islam is being in need of reforming. This is only being possible by multiple prong approach. Most people are staying stucked on stupid so not knowing what is going on.

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