The Fantasy of the 'Fragile Muslim'
Immediately following the initial Islamist violence in Egypt and Libya, which has now spread throughout the Islamic world, the White House and Hillary Clinton’s State Department blamed a barely seen video that mocked the Prophet Mohammad. While a mainly compliant media reinforced this notion, some criticism has hit the public square. In response, the administration is doubling down on this notion of causation despite facts demonstrating the Muslim hostilities were pre-planned, tied to al-Qaeda, timed in part for 9/11, and so forth.
Why? A surface answer would suggest that, as a campaign matter, the administration is so invested in the notion of an “Arab Spring” that it can not permit the appearance of failure. President Obama’s foreign policy itself has centered upon the fantasy that his mere presence is sufficient to calm the Muslim world. It is easy to imagine the Axelrod/Plouffe team prancing around the Oval Office demanding that Americans, not Muslims, be the perpetrators.
A deeper psychological explanation is precisely what Obama has been well able to manipulate. For decades, the American mind has found innumerable ways to place itself as the cause of jihadist activities. The secret behind this maneuver is that it feeds the illusion that the threat is something we can control. That part of our minds so desperately frightened by the concept that we could have an enemy whose singular purpose is our destruction (the “Control Factor”) has developed an ingenious set of maneuvers in order to restore the fantasy that we actually can control this threat. As soon as any evidence of the threat pops up, the Control Factor quickly jumps in to stabilize the American internal emotional state. By consistently repeating the causal connection, the administration feeds our deep need. At bottom, if we caused the violence, we can always change ourselves and control it.
There is a less-explored explanation for the full-court press on tying the violence to the film. Obama has cleverly narrowed the definition of the threat we face to “violent extremists” (and al-Qaeda in particular). Following the killing of Osama bin Laden, Obama sold his “gutsy warrior” image in part for re-election purposes, in part to convey the battle is over. This approach, however, allows Obama, Clinton, and their press to ignore the more potent levels of threat we face: that of the civilization jihad (led by the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate all levels of our government and society until enough power is obtained to transform the U.S. from the inside and establish Shariah law) and the international institutional jihad (led primarily by the largest Islamic organization, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to force similar changes from without). Both jihads are intended to proceed only as fast as they are able to stay true to their design and able to appear to the U.S. as gradual as to be non-existent; much like a frog would perceive slowly boiling water.
A fundamental precept of Shariah law is to forbid any criticism of Islam or Mohammad, and a major goal of these jihads is to erode our treasured freedom of expression. If we can not criticize Islam freely we can not control it; in fact, it will control us. Accordingly, in 2005 the OIC presented its “Ten Year Program of Action” which institutionalizes notions of “Islamophobia” and “extremism” in order to install speech restrictions on a global basis, including in the U.S. In 2011, Clinton colluded and co-sponsored Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which further institutionalizes “religious intolerance,” “religious hatred,” and “profiling.”
U.S. law values and permits the right to blaspheme. Justice Clark in 1952 wrote: “[I]t is enough to point out that the state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them. … It is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine.” Justice Frankfurter noted that beliefs “ … dear to one may seem the rankest ‘sacrilege’ to another,” and added concerning “sacrilegious” speech: “[H]istory does not encourage reliance on the wisdom and moderation of the censor.” This fairly describes the law as it sits today.
The relevant tension comes from speech that can be considered to cause violence. Generally, speech can be civilly actionable if it is both likely to incite imminent violence and is intended to do so. Clinton’s 16/18 calls on states, however, to adopt “measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief.” Clinton took a reservation to 16/18 that the U.S. not be required to “authorize legislation” or take “other action” that is “incompatible with the provisions of the Constitution.” Presumably, she wants to be able to say 16/18 will not conflict with U.S. law.
Maybe, maybe not. The greater concern is the effort to expand U.S. law and practice to conform to 16/18. The OIC and the Brotherhood have already successfully pressured for such laws within Europe. The language of Clinton’s recent public statements appears specifically orchestrated to comply with other demands of 16/18 including “expressing deep concern” for “stigmatizing” Muslims and “religious intolerance,” “condemning hatred” of Muslims, and “speaking out against religious intolerance, including advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.”
These words simultaneously tell the jihadists that the U.S. is playing ball.
While the violence commenced on 9/11, it was more importantly timed to set the ground for the upcoming UN meetings. The OIC is the largest voting bloc in the General Assembly. Right on script, Egypt’s prime minister is reported to have called for the U.S. to “take the necessary measures” to make sure that insults do not happen and that recompense is made. Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s senior religious leader is reported to have called for criminalizing such speech. The many White House meetings and relationships with Muslim Brotherhood associates and associated entities appear to have paid off well.
At its core, the effort seeks to more firmly implant into our culture the narrative that insults to or inflammatory speech against Islam or Mohammad so enrages Muslims that violence is certain to ensue. The more this narrative of the “Fragile Muslim” (that Muslims uniquely can not emotionally handle such outrageous speech to be able to control their behavior) becomes common “truth,” the more statutes and case law will embody it and the more easily the jihadists will be able to “evolve” the rules in their favor. Once the first prong of our law -- that speech against Islam is certain to cause violence -- becomes a common notion, liability or guilt will rest solely on whether a defendant intended to produce that result.
If that becomes the status of our law, free speech against Islam will necessarily have disappeared. As a mere procedural matter, no one will be willing to test a judge or jury on their determination of intent. Indeed, the likely intention of the FBI in interviewing the filmmaker that allegedly “caused” the riots is to gain evidence on his intention to cause violence. If this course is allowed to develop further, however, the two prongs will implicitly converge. That is, once it becomes so accepted that such speech causes violence, the intention will be inferred from the speech itself. At that point, Shariah will have been established and the Ten Year Program will have been successful.
This alone should be reason enough to prevent any further saturation of the ridiculous notion that this film (or ones by Geert Wilders or Theo Van Gogh, or cartoons of the Prophet, or novels by Salman Rushdie) causes violence. These events should finally convince Americans to cease to accept responsibility for the behavior of Muslims. They should finally spell the end of the fantasy of the “Fragile Muslim.”
Furthermore, the difference between the presidential candidates concerning this trend could not have been better reflected in their initial statements following the violence. The words coming from Obama and Clinton shared the same structure: we support fighting “religious intolerance” but not as a result of violence which we abhor. This formulation disregards the true conflict, religious tolerance vs. freedom of expression. Moreso, it is a set-up to return with some “reasonable” intoned call to bargain restrictions in favor of religious (read “Islamic”) tolerance in exchange for the cessation of violence accompanied, perhaps, with some form of reparation/punishment (for instance the release of the blind sheikh or criminal charges for the filmmaker). In essence, submission to Islamic extortion.
Candidate Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has no use for “religious tolerance”; it is simply a canard. Before the Libyan murders, Romney appropriately attacked a State Department apology for the film. His later statement also refused to acknowledge any causal connection between the video and the violence. Rather, his formulation was simple: violence seeking to erode our constitutional rights, including the freedom of expression, must be fought firmly.
Given this distinction, along with Obama’s deep saturation with Muslim Brotherhood associates and associated entities as well as Clinton’s collusive actions in furtherance of Brotherhood and OIC goals, our choice this November could not be clearer. If we do not speak up now, we face losing that right later.