Earlier today, Emily brought this op-ed written in USA Today by British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary to my attention. In the piece, Choudary defends yesterday’s attacks at Charlie Hebdo in Paris which resulted in the deaths of 10 journalists and two police officers. Choudary argues Charlie Hebdo brought the attacks upon themselves:
Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.”
However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see.
Within liberal democracies, freedom of expression has curtailments, such as laws against incitement and hatred.
The truth is that Western governments are content to sacrifice liberties and freedoms when being complicit to torture and rendition — or when restricting the freedom of movement of Muslims, under the guise of protecting national security.
So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?
It is time that the sanctity of a Prophet revered by up to one-quarter of the world’s population was protected.
Could we expect anything less of a man who once declared that the 9/11 hijackers were “magnificent martyrs”? Prior to an interview on CNN last summer, during his mic check, instead of counting down from 10, Choudary said, “9/11, 7/7, 3/11” in reference to the September 11th attacks, the London Tube bombings and the Madrid train bombings. Choudary considered it humorous. No doubt in future interviews, Choudary will count, “9/11, 7/7, 3/11, 1/7.”
Getting back to Choudary’s op-ed, Emily told me that she thought USA Today was mad to run it. I’m actually kind of glad they did. Of course, Choudary’s view are odious. But I suspect Choudary’s views represent the views of far more Muslims than the mainstream media would have us believe. What perturbs me to no end are Muslim leaders who condemn terrorism, but won’t specifically condemn terrorist organizations like Hamas. Choudary lets us know where we stand. He also lets us know what we are truly up against.
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