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The Muhammad Movie Riots

The latest battle in the Islamic war against the freedom of speech.

by
Robert Spencer

Bio

September 17, 2012 - 12:00 am

Muslims in twenty-one countries demonstrated against a YouTube movie about Muhammad Friday. Adding to the death toll that began with Ambassador Chris Stevens and his associates in Libya, three people were killed as Islamic supremacists stormed the U.S. embassy in Tunisia, and one was killed in Lebanon as Muslims marched from a mosque, stoned police, and set fire to a KFC restaurant, apparently as a symbol of the hated United States. The savage and random murders were all in service of an overarching goal: to intimidate the United States into abandoning the freedom of speech. And worst of all, Barack Obama seems willing.

Islamic leaders worldwide called for an end to the freedom of speech. Dr. Ahmed el-Tayyeb, the grand imam of the most prestigious and influential institution in Sunni Islam, Al-Azhar in Cairo, on Saturday asked the secretary general of the United Nations to pass a UN resolution that would “prohibit insulting symbols and sanctities of Islam by some fools and misguided, who do not know the value of social peace among peoples and agitate seditions among them.” Tayyeb called for “criminalizing insulting symbols of Islam and other religions” and “punishing those who committed such heinous acts and insulted Prophet Muhammad of Islam,” although he didn’t specify what punishments he had in mind.

Meanwhile, Arab News reported that Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, “called on the international community to criminalize acts of abusing great prophets and messengers such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.”

The Muslim Brotherhood said that “hurting the feelings of one and a half billion Muslims cannot be tolerated, and the people’s anger and fury for their faith is invariably predictable, often unstoppable,” and declared that “assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions” should be rendered illegal.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the 57-government Muslim body that has been pushing for years now at the United Nations for restrictions on the freedom of speech, was in I-told-you-so mode, saying that the violence “demonstrated serious repercussions of abuse of freedom of expression that OIC had consistently been warning against.”

In response to all this, Barack Obama did not reaffirm the importance of the freedom of speech. He did not explain that it is the right to say things that are unwelcome and unpopular that safeguards Western societies against authoritarianism and tyranny. He did not say that in pluralistic societies, we all have to put up with speech that we dislike without resorting to censorship or violence.
Instead, he appeared eager to give the Islamic supremacists exactly what they wanted. He pressed Google, which had previously announced that the offending film about Muhammad fell within its guidelines and thus would not be removed from YouTube, to review its guidelines and remove it after all. Google, to its immense credit, refused. And he had the alleged filmmaker, a Coptic Christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, arrested on a parole violation for posting the film, since the terms of his parole included staying away from the Internet. Nakoula has been released, but could still be charged and imprisoned.

Nakoula has a checkered past, reportedly including methamphetamine dealing and bank fraud. But if he is indeed sent back to jail because of this video, no matter what priors he has, no matter how checkered his past, make no mistake: he will be a political prisoner. He will be in prison not for the meth or the fraud or for the technicality of the probation violation, but for insulting Muhammad. His imprisonment will be a symbol of America’s capitulation to the Sharia.

For that is what these riots and murders are about. The mainstream media is focusing solely on the Muhammad video, identifying everyone who was involved with it, however peripherally (I myself had nothing to do with it at all, but have been named as involved in several stories since one of the other people allegedly involved with it spoke at a couple of rallies that Pamela Geller and I organized), and by doing so, endangering the lives of innocent people. But in reality, the film is just a pretext. It has become clear that the riots were orchestrated and planned long in advance, in part to get the blind sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, freed from prison in the U.S. and returned to Egypt, and above all to frighten the West into criminalizing honest analysis of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism. This is a global effort to intimidate the U.S. into abandoning the freedom of speech.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula could be the fall guy who gains the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first offender against the new federal crime of blasphemy against Islam.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.
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