Finally, while the administration winks at the Muslim Brotherhood and prostrates itself before Islamist audiences, Obama lamely claims that his detractors are wrong: no, he maintains, he is not really saying that speech critical of Islam justifies violence; just that such speech is wrong and somehow blameworthy. But while there is never a whisper of complaint about the savagery of Islamists who kill — who brazenly declare the right to kill — over trivial slights, the president spares no indignant syllable in condemning free expression. The contrast is stark. Its inevitable effect is to immunize the marauders. This only intensifies the danger to Nakoula (whose movie no one would ever have heard of absent Obama’s promotional campaign) and to Americans who lawfully grapple with a threat over which the administration prefers to slobber — the ideology rooted in Islamic scripture that has led to the killings of thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of people (many of them Muslims) worldwide.
Put aside, if you can, the administration’s banana republic repression tactics. To accept the premise that a video, rather than the malevolent culture of Islamic supremacism, could possibly have caused the murderous attacks in Benghazi is not only to accept sharia’s suffocating blasphemy standards, it is to instill in our culture classical sharia’s noxious caste system in which Muslims, and only Muslims, are licensed to respond violently to criticism of their beliefs and icons. It is to eviscerate our constitutional commitment to equal protection under the law.
The last point would be bad enough — in fact, intolerable — even if Islam were only a religion.
In that case, we would “only” be excusing violent reactions to negative speech about Islamic spiritual principles — the kind of speech all other religious believers are expected to abide without forcible protest. But, as I explain in Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, the predominant Islam of the Middle East aspires to be far more than a religion.
That form of Islam, Islamic supremacism (or what we call “Islamist” ideology), is a thoroughgoing societal system. It dictates behavior in every aspect of life, including economics, finance, military combat, crime and punishment, legal evidence, social relations, hygiene — in short, the plethora of affairs that in the West are consigned to the judgment of the body politic, outside the control of any creed. Obama’s “no criticism of Islam” standard would thus render unfit for public discussion not only religious tenets but innumerable matters of great public importance. Naturally, the most urgent of these involve national defense, because Islamist ideology fuels the terrorist threat. But it is not just our security that is at stake; it is our capacity to maintain the free flow of ideas a self-governing people must have in order to flourish.