A Time to Speak Out
By: Robert Spencer
Friday, October 06, 2006

A conference that dares to tell the truths others fear to tell.
In this era of violent intimidation, it is crucial for the continued life of our free society that we speak out, and do so fearlessly.

Evidence of the urgency of this multiplies daily. Pope Benedict XVI called upon Muslims (and Christians) to forsake religious violence, but in the course of doing so quoted a statement by a fourteenth-century Byzantine emperor that offended some Muslims. In response, in Pakistan a thousand Islamic clerics and scholars have demanded that the Pope be “removed from his position immediately for encouraging war and fanning hostility between various faiths" and "making insulting remarks" against Islam. Just to make sure that we all understand that Islam is a religion of peace, they added: “If the West does not change its stance regarding Islam, it will face severe consequences."


Meanwhile, a new Palestinian jihad group announced: “Every place relevant to Christians will be a target until the cursed infidel – the Vatican – apologizes to Muslims.” Muslims in Gaza burned and vandalized seven Christian sites, including a 1,400-year-old church. Meanwhile, a nun in Somalia and two other Christians in Iraq were killed, and others threatened worldwide -- including, of course, the Pope himself.


Then French philosophy teacher Robert Redeker published an article in which he characterized the Muslim prophet Muhammad as “a merciless war chief, plunderer, slaughterer of Jews and a polygamist.” Quickly he was forced into hiding by death threats, despite the fact that many Muslims around the world seem to agree, unapologetically, that Muhammad was just those things, as I illustrated in a recent article.


In the face with violent intimidation, the worst thing anyone can do is acquiesce to being silenced. That would just send the message that violent intimidation works. On the contrary, it is all the more crucial in this politically correct age to stand and forthrightly speak the truth. That is one reason why I am so glad to see that a new America’s Truth Forum conference is coming in November: “The Radical Islamist Threat to World Peace and National Security,” sponsored by the America’s Truth Forum, in association with Basics Project. I will be participating in this symposium on November 10 and 11 in Las Vegas, along with Harvey Kushner, author of Holy War on the Home Front; former Palestinian Liberation Organization member Walid Shoebat; the courageous Wafa Sultan, whose fiery confrontation with an imam on Al-Jazeera (“no Jew has blown himself up in a German restaurant”) gained her international notoriety; Paul Williams, author of Al Qaeda Connection and Osama’s Revenge; veteran CIA agent Bruce Tefft; and more. The keynote speaker is Hamid Mir, the lone journalist to have met with both Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri since 9/11.


This is the second America’s Truth Forum conference. I also spoke at the first, which was held in the Washington area in April 2006. It was refreshing to hear speaker after speaker (including Andrew Bostom, editor of The Legacy of Jihad; Walid Phares, author of Future Jihad; and Kenneth Timmerman, author of Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran) tell truths about the reality and magnitude of the challenge the West faces today, without pulling their punches out of political correctness and fear. I am honored to be able to participate in a second such forum, and hope there will be many more. So many in the West have been willing, even eager, to acquiesce to jihadist intimidation -- witness the chastened reaction to the riots over cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in a newspaper in Denmark: after violent rioting around the world, Church officials, government leaders, journalists and others solemnly pontificated about the dangers of "insults to religious figures." But it wasn't really a question of blasphemy or insult at all. The Cartoon Rage riots, as well as the reaction to the Pope’s remarks and the death threats against Robert Redeker, are attempts to frighten the West into chastened silence about Islam, including Islamic jihad terrorism. Rather than being a question of sensitivity to the religious sensibilities of others, the challenge posed by these riots and threats revolves around the question of whether non-Muslims will submit to Muslim standards and restrictions on their speech, thought, and behavior.


If we are willing to do so, we can end the war on terror tomorrow, for Osama bin Laden will have obtained his goal.


The America’s Truth Forum conference in Las Vegas is one part of the larger attempt to keep that from happening. Tickets and reservations must be acquired by October 27. Don’t miss it.

Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.