At the heart there’s an arcane procedural issue. I know it’s going deep in the weeds, but you and I, Jim [Angle] — by God, we have gone deep in the weeds and there is no turning back right now.
So here we go. If this is going to pass, the House has to accept the bill that the Senate has passed as step one. Now, I have heard that some members of the House want to attach a provision that says that unless the Senate then fixes it with the sidecar — this fixing amendment bill — the bill passed in the House will stay in the House and never be on the president’s desk, so it never becomes law.
But I also understand that the parliamentarian in the Senate is saying that unless it [the original Senate bill] becomes law, you can’t have the sidecar. So it’s a catch-22.
Now, if all of that is true, then what you have here is an issue of trust. Do the members of the House trust their own Democrats in the Senate?
And there is an aphorism out of the House which I think is attributed to Tip O’Neill where he says . . . “The House Republicans are the opposition, the Senate is the enemy.”
If it passes in the House — if it [the House] passes the Senate bill as is — what is the incentive, ultimately, for the changing of the bill in the Senate? It will stay as is. They [House Democrats] worry they are going to be left hanging high and dry.
There were two issues here as we just heard. The first issue is the substance and veracity of what he said. And the second is the issue of free speech.
What he says is extreme, radical, and wrong. He basically is arguing that Islam is the same as Islamism. Islamism is an ideology of a small minority which holds that the essence of Islam is jihad, conquest, forcing people into accepting a certain very narrow interpretation [of Islam].
The untruth of that is obvious. If you look at the United States, the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the U.S. are not Islamists. So, it’s simply incorrect. Now, in Europe, there is probably a slightly larger minority but, nonetheless, the overwhelming majority are not.
But the other issue is free speech. He was speaking in London today. He had been unwelcome, not allowed in a year ago, but it was appealed, and he was [admitted].
And remember, Holland has a really … bad history here. Five years ago, Theo Van Gogh, a filmmaker, had made a film about Islam which was about the oppression of the women under Islam in certain countries — an Islamist in Holland caught him in the middle of the street in broad daylight, slit his throat and impaled a knife on his chest with a letter on the knife — imagine that scene — which threatened the life of a Dutch MP, who was of Somali origin, who had helped him on that script. She is now in the United States as kind of a seeker of asylum.
So this is place in which physical intimidation — it’s almost impossible to speak openly about critiques of Islam.
I will give you one other example. The cartoons of Mohammed — Yale University [Press] has issued a book on it. There are no cartoons in the book, and you know why. It’s not a matter of sensitivity. It’s a matter of sheer fear about what could happen if it was published that way.