The Corner

Under Sharia Speech Law that Europe Has and Obama Wants, Truth Is No Defense

Roger Kimball highlights a Gatestone Institute report by the editors of Dispatch International about the explosion of rape in Sweden. As the country’s make-up has dramatically changed due to mass immigration, particularly from Muslim countries in the Middle East and northern and eastern Africa, the number of rapes reported to police has increased by an astonishing 1,472 percent — from 421 in 1975 to 6,620 last year.

Roger observes:

Note that conspicuous by its absence is any mention of who it is who is committing the rapes. Gatestone quotes Michael Hess, a local politician from the Sweden Democrat Party: “When will you journalists realize that it is deeply rooted in Islam’s culture to rape and brutalize women who refuse to comply with Islamic teachings. There is a strong connection between rapes in Sweden and the number of immigrants from MENA-countries [Middle East and North Africa].”

For that bit of plain speaking, Hess was handed a fine and a suspended jail sentence by a Swedish court.  Was what he said untrue?  Truth was not something the court cared about: “The Court [Tingsrätten] notes that the question of whether or not Michael Hess’s pronouncement is true, or appeared to be true to Michael Hess, has no bearing on the case. Michael Hess’s statement must be judged based on its timing and context.”

Now, as I’ve related here a number of times, President Obama, with energetic assistance from Hillary Clinton, has been trying to saddle the United States with sharia blasphemy standards since taking office in 2009. Strategically, the administration pushes for these speech restrictions, which violate the First Amendment, in the context of violence committed after the publication of words, exhibitions or artistic representations that are unquestionably insulting toward Islam. In actuality, there is more insult to Islam in the administration’s intimation that barbaric Muslim reactions to merely obnoxious speech are to be expected. But I want to focus, once again, on free expression.

We need to understand that, contrary to Obama administration suggestions, what is at stake is not just speech that almost all of us would agree is in bad taste and that would not be missed if it were barred. What is at stake is the ability to tell the truth. What is at stake is the ability of a free society to engage in robust discussion in order to develop public policy, particularly security and crime-prevention.

As I wrote here after jihadists carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

The Islamist–progressive alliance I explored in The Grand Jihad would have you believe that accommodating sharia blasphemy rules would result in only a narrow limitation on free expression crudely obnoxious toward Islam, the sort of thing few of us would lament — e.g., expression analogous to the nauseating Piss Christ. This, however, is simply false.

Sharia forbids any speech — whether true or not — that casts Islam in an unfavorable light, dissents from settled Muslim doctrine, has the potential to sow discord within the ummah, or entices Muslims to renounce Islam or convert to other faiths. The idea is not merely to ban gratuitous ridicule — which, by the way, sensible people realize government should not do (and, under our Constitution, may not do) even if they themselves are repulsed by gratuitous ridicule. The objective is to ban all critical examination of Islam, period – even though Islamic supremacism, a mainstream interpretation of Islam, happens to be a top national-security threat that we sorely need to examine if we want to understand and defeat our enemies.

The Swedish prosecution of Michael Hess that Roger and the Gatestone report discuss usefully highlights this problem. Hess did not gratuitously insult Islam or Muslims. He addressed the cause of a surge in rape, a phenomenon that profoundly affects public safety in Sweden and that (as noted by those of us who have discussed the nexus between rape and jihad) is promoted by a scripturally-based interpretation of Islam. Yet the court silenced him, not because what he said was false or slanderous, but because saying it might promote hostility toward Islam.

This is exactly what President Obama and Mrs. Clinton have tried to do, particularly in their collusion with Islamist governments in U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which aims to prohibit any speech that casts Islam in an unfavorable light (under the guise of “inciting hostility” to religion).

As we saw again this weekend, this time in Copenhagen, Europe is now living with the consequences of welcoming massive immigration from sharia cultures, tolerating the demands of Islamic leaders that Muslims resist assimilation, passively watching the inexorable rise of radical Islam, and cracking down only on Europeans and others who dare to raise questions about the wisdom of it all.

Don’t think it can’t happen here.

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