Boreal

It Wasn’t Always Like That

The Cartoon Protests

I mentioned earlier that the Koran was a set of rules to be rigidly adhered to; but of course, it is more than that, it is also one man’s idea of what your relationship with God should be.

Like any profound idea, good or bad, it will easily take root if it offers some benefit to a large enough collective and is left unopposed.

Until the last century, Islam was mainly spread by the sword, the Ottoman Empire spearheading the most recent assault into Europe. Today, Islam is subjugating the West not through the force of arms although intimidation, mainly through terrorist acts, still plays a role, but through complicity of the Western democracies.

The West has implicitly, if not explicitly, accepted Islam’s argument that limits should be placed on criticism of religious beliefs, thereby allowing it to advance almost unchallenged. This gradual surrender of basic freedoms in the face of religious intolerance is slowly neutering the most effective weapons against the spread of this type of tyranny: freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

Winston Churchill, after the end of the Second World War, when the war still had no official name, was asked what they should call the war that had just ended and cost more than 30 million lives. He said “the unnecessary war.” Like Churchill, I believe that if the democracies had stood steadfast in the face of Hitler’s demands instead of rewarding aggressive behaviour there would have been no Second World War.

I was reminded of Churchill’s response when viewing a demonstration by Muslims in London during the so-called “cartoon protest.” Some of the demonstrators carried signs demanding that the now infamous Danish cartoonists be slaughtered, others that they be butchered for mocking Islam – for drawing mostly inoffensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

I am sure that Churchill, if he were still alive, would have labelled the democracies’ timid response, which involved mainly apologizing for their citizens exercising their right to freedom of expression, as rewarding aggressive behaviour.

Will the outcome be the same, a bloody, global war to dwarf all wars to try to regain cherished freedoms carelessly thrown away? Not if you fight the real enemy now, using the bloodless weapons that you still have at your disposal: your right to freedom of speech, your right to freedom of expression, your right to express an opinion with which others might disagree.

And who is your enemy? Those of any faith, of any religion or of no faith, who would deny you your right to criticize an idea, a person or a book, in your own words or through your art, simply because the idea, the person or the book is deemed by the defenders of the status-quo to be sacred and off-limits.