The Gatestone Institute has tracked Islam in the West very well, and the latest report chronicles Islam’s influence on free speech.
But many Muslim bodies — notably the 57-member-state Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — have been working hard for years to render Islam the only religion, political system and ideology in the world that may not be questioned with impunity. They have tried — and are in many respects succeeding — to ring-fence Islam as a creed beyond criticism, while reserving for themselves the right to condemn Christians, Jews, Hindus, democrats, liberals, women, gays, or anyone else in often vile, even violent language. Should anyone say anything that seems to them disrespectful of their faith, he or she will at once be declared an “Islamophobe.”
They make the point that this is not about speech that supports racism, violence toward Muslims, or even bigotry. The current state of free speech in western countries is that if one speaks against any aspect of Islam, then Muslims complain about ‘hate speech’ and the left joins in.
If Islam was in fact a ‘religion of peace,’ I’d still have a problem with this anti-free speech stance.
But of course, it is not peaceful at times. The occasional violent act reinforces the notion that one shouldn’t anger the Muslims. I recently read a forum post which made this very point about someone who encouraged others to draw Mohammed. The writer asked something like ‘how many non-Muslims will die because Americans were inspired to defame Mohammed by drawing his face?’ The message of course it clear: Don’t anger the Muslims.
Even if Islam never raised a hand, I’d reject the censorship which seems to accompany the advance of the religion into the west. No, we will not make special rules for the behavior of people toward Islam, nor should we allow Islam to dictate the freedoms open to all people in the free world.