In 1989, after publication of his novel The Satanic Verses earned him a death sentence from the Iranian regime, British author Salman Rushdie did what most persecuted people seek to do. He fled to the United States. On February 21, 1989, President George H. W. Bush declared that the fatwa against Rushdie was “deeply offensive to the norms of civilized behavior.” In the US, Rushdie holed up to a life of seclusion, secure in the knowledge that while the Middle East’s mullahs wanted to kill him, the might of the United States would protect him and his freedom of speech.
In 2004, Somali-born Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali came under severe threat from Islamists. Ali had made a short film, titled Submission, critical of the treatment of women under Islamic rule. That film earned Ali and her filmmaking partner, Theo Van Gogh, death threats. On November 2, 2004, an Islamist murdered Van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam, nearly severing his head and pinning a note too his chest with a knife that pledged the same fate for Ali. In 2006, as Islamists continued to threaten her, and as her neighbors gradually turned against her, Ali applied for asylum to the United States. Ali has lived in the US ever since, secure in the knowledge that American might would protect her and her freedom to speak out.
In June 2012, Nakoula Bassely Nakoula made an amateurish film critical of Muslim prophet Muhammad. On September 11, 2012, US interests came under terrorist attack in Cairo, Egypt and Benghazi, Libya. The US government of Barack Obama quickly blamed Nakoula’s now three-month old film. Already a resident of the United States, Nakoula found himself taken into questioning at midnight a few days after the attacks, and subjected to a perp walk media photo op. The Obama administration continues to blame the film even as it acknowledges that the Cairo and Libya attacks were premeditated acts of terrorism. Already a resident of the United States, Nakoula has nowhere else to run and no assurances that American might will be used in his defense. It has already been used to expose and intimidate him, and anyone else who dares criticize Islam.