If constitutional constraints and Western tradition won’t abide laws that bar speaking against Islam, then we’ll just have to rely on extortion. On that, Hillary Clinton and Anjem Choudary could not have been clearer, or more in sync.
Mr. Choudary argued the case as an Islamic-supremacist imam from Britain — one who makes no bones about his desire that sharia, Islam’s repressive legal code, be imposed throughout the West, very much including America.
Mrs. Clinton argued the case as America’s secretary of state.
Against that backdrop, we consider this week’s carnage in Paris: A savage exercise in extortion for the precise purpose of suppressing free speech derisive of Islam — not just silencing Charlie Hebdo with extreme prejudice but making the satirical magazine a chilling example of what happens when Islamic supremacists are crossed.
By happenstance, our consideration brings us right back to where we were just two weeks ago: apportioning blame for a murderous atrocity. Then, it was the cold-blooded killing of two New York City police officers. Yes, it was freely conceded here, the principal culprit is the thug who pulled the trigger. But also bearing a share of responsibility were (a) the rabble-rousers who brazenly encouraged violence against police officers; and (b) the public officials who flouted their sworn duty to enforce the law faithfully, contributing to the climate of violence by conveying sympathy for the rabble-rousers.
So what of the mass-murders in Paris? A dozen innocent people were slaughtered at the Charlie Hebdo offices by a pair of French jihadists, the brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, at least one of whom was trained by al-Qaeda in Yemen. (The popular See No Islam Lexicon may need some editing: These “lone wolves” seem to have come as a pack, and while Europe was home to the “homegrown” terrorism, the growing appears to have happened on the Arabian Peninsula.) Of the twelve casualties, ten are dead because their magazine had the temerity to lampoon the “Religion of Peace”; two are dead because they were unarmed police officers dispatched by bicycle to confront al-Qaeda-trained, Kalashnikov-wielding jihadists — and they thus had about as much chance as a hashtag to prevail.
Later, the Kouachis’ apparent accomplice, Amedy Coulibaly, with what is suspected to be the assistance of his girlfriend, Hayat Boumediene, carried out the assassination-style murder of Paris police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe, whose uniform made her a target — unless responding to a routine traffic accident is now considered an offense against Islam. Like Western police, Jews are also jihad targets: Coulibaly took several people hostage at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris while the Kouachis held a hostage at a printing plant 25 miles away, in Dammartin-en-Goele. On Friday, finally treating the situation as the act of war it was, French forces stormed the two locations, killing the three terrorists . . . but not before Coulibaly murdered four of his hostages and wounded several others. (That, at least, is the information as we go to press.)
Again, we may freely concede, the terrorists are the principal culprits. But is there other blame to be apportioned?
Imam Choudary is a valuable exponent of the repressive sharia in which he specializes. Echoing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, he exploited USA Today’s offer of its editorial pages to explain, without apology, that “Islam” means submission, not peace; it is about the imposition of Allah’s law by any means necessary, including conquest and intimidation.
There is no greater offense against Allah’s law than blasphemy, which sharia deems to be any aspersion, no matter how slight, and punishes by death. It matters not that free speech is a core Western principle protected by law, nor even that murder is a grievous statutory offense throughout the civilized world. As Choudary elaborated in an exchange with Sean Hannity that was as chilling as it was remarkable, the murders in Paris should stand as a lesson in the severe consequences apt to follow from insults to Islam’s prophet — therefore . . . accept sharia blasphemy laws and don’t dare insult Islam’s prophet.
The warning from Islamic supremacists is blunt: Forfeit your liberty because your laws cannot protect you — we have extra-legal ways of coercing your submission.
What is the response of Western governments, particularly in the United States — the leader of the free world, whose government was formed for the primary purpose of protecting our God-given fundamental liberties, including the right to free expression?
The response has been . . . collaboration with Islamist governments in their sharia-supremacist project to supersede the First Amendment.
Snug among her “Istanbul process” partners in Turkey, then–Secretary Clinton lamented that — despite energetic Obama-administration efforts — the campaign to muzzle “Islamophobia” (irrational fear of the Religion of Submis – er, I mean, Peace) had been hampered by a legal inconvenience: Throughout American history, free speech had been deemed “a universal right at the core of her democracy.”
But there was, she declared, a way around the First Amendment, a way around the parchment promises of law. The United States government would “use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming so that people don’t feel they have the support to do what we abhor.”
Was that clear enough? Since we can’t make the law prohibit critical examination of Islam, we hereby endorse coercion.
It wasn’t long afterwards that four American officials, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were murdered by jihadists in a terrorist attack on Benghazi. Almost all of the terrorists are still on the loose, but Secretary Clinton, President Obama, and their underlings took pains to blame the attack, falsely, on an anti-Islamic video. In particular, they choreographed a high-profile jailing and prosecution of the video producer. The exercise was portrayed to Islamists the world over as a demonstration of new American priorities: Free expression must submit to sharia repression. The future, after all, “must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” as our president proclaimed.
Don’t tell me about how Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama “condemn terrorism in the strongest possible terms.” They “condemn” it in the most vapid words. Islamic-supremacists don’t hear the words. They hear the groveling.
Yes, it was the terrorists alone who carried out mass-murder in France. But their war against civilization has essential support: Islamist leaders who vow to conquer us, and Western leaders who don’t think we are worth defending.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.