Andrew, I don’t agree with everything Nick Cohen says (particularly in those passages where he himself feels obliged to lapse into equivalism) but he’s right about liberalism’s retreat into a cowed quiescence, both in Pakistan and in the heart of the west. By way of a (so far) less bloody example:
A prominent British imam has been forced to retract his claims that Islam is compatible with Darwin’s theory of evolution after receiving death threats from fundamentalists.
This is not in Lahore or Cairo but in London, at what is described as “a prominent mosque which also runs one of the country’s largest sharia courts” – in other words, a religious institution that already enjoys the imprimatur of state approval, albeit not (yet) to the same degree as in Pakistan. The imam, Dr Hasan, has issued a groveling apology – “I seek Allah’s forgiveness for my mistakes” – but they still want to kill him. Note the following line in the story:
Police advised him not to attend after becoming concerned for his safety.
As I’ve written before, “security concerns” are the new black(out) – the means by which those who are meant to enforce the law equally instead pre-emptively reward bullying mobsters who have total contempt for it. In this case, it may even be that this helpful advice was provided by Muslim police officers, who in Britain, Canada and Europe are often happy to serve as state enforcers for Islamic intimidation.
Dr Hasan is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. I wonder if those many western intellectuals eager to heap Himalayas of derision on those (largely apocryphal) American school districts that require creationism to be taught alongside evolution will be equally gung-ho about hooting and jeering at men who are willing to kill for the mildest suggestion that Islam and evolution are not entirely incompatible.
When the west’s bestselling atheists, stand-up comics, transgressive artists and all the rest belittle Christianity but steer clear of Islam, they’re not just engaging in prudent self-protection. They’re objectively advancing the cause of Islamic imperialism – because their selective mockery acts in support of the bullies’ core belief, that Islam is different and must be accorded a special deference: In practical terms, their selectivity comes to the same conclusion as any bigshot Talib in a hardcore madrassah. I said somewhere in America Alone that we’re operating to the same rules as the old Cold War joke: An American tells a Soviet that in America everyone is free to criticize the president. The Soviet replies, “Same in my country. Everyone is free to criticize your president.”
That’s one reason I found the Corner debate on the Westboro Supreme Court decision these last few days faintly surreal. In the rest of the west, Islam grasped very quickly that in some of the oldest free societies in the world the law bends according to the muscle you apply to it, and the Pansy Left (in Orwell’s phrase) will gladly concoct ever more tortured legalisms to explain why selling out core western values and incentivizing the thugs is the right thing to do.