Islamic Intolerance

Michael J. Totten writes about culture and current events in the Middle East not from a comfortable office, but from the front lines. He has spent many years traveling through the Muslim world gaining firsthand experience with what life is like over there, the good and the bad. This week, he wrote about the bad:

Free speech is under attack in the West, and it’s under attack from abroad. For years radical Islamists have targeted embassies abroad and individuals at home for “insulting” the Prophet Muhammad. And now diplomats and heads of state from Islamist countries are using international oganizations to pressure the West to criminalize blasphemy and are even lobbying for a global censorship regime.

Just like the leftist students who took over the campus in the 1960s in the name of free speech, then began to censor disagreeing viewpoints, Islamic activists see tolerance as a tool rather than an ideal. They know that we in the West worship at the alter of tolerance, and they will use that to achieve their aims. Notice that they have little use for tolerance in their own societies. In many Islamic countries, Christianity is essentially outlawed, and converting from Islam to another religion will often cost a man his life. Anti-blasphemy legislation is an attempt to impose the will of Islam on the Western world, contrary to our beliefs in freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It is not an altruistic endeavor, it is a cudgel. The question is, are we going to be so naive as to let them use our love of tolerance to dismantle our civil rights in the name of their prophet?

“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” – President Barack Obama, in an address before the United Nations

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