Geert Wilders has been named the Man of the Year by FrontPage Magazine, and the honor is richly deserved -- because Wilders in 2008 was fighting on the front lines of the most important battle in the global jihad today: the battle to defend free speech.
Free speech, besides the little detail of its being a foundational principle of Western civilization and any authentically free society, was in 2008, and will continue to be in 2009, the focus of an all-out assault by the 57-government Organization of the Islamic Conference, the UN’s largest voting bloc. The OIC and other Islamic entities want to curtail the ability of non-Muslims to speak freely about the elements of Islam that jihadists use to justify violence and Islamic supremacism. The obvious goal of this initiative is to render the West and the non-Muslim world in general mute and thus defenseless against both violent and stealthy efforts to impose Sharia around the world -- which imposition is the ultimate goal of what is generally known in the mainstream media as the “terror threat.”
Stateside, at this point the anti-free speech initiative advances by means of a large-scale effort to declare honest discussion of the historical and authoritative teachings of Islamic sects and schools to be “Islamophobia,” “bigotry,” and “racism.” And in 2008 we saw the success of this initiative make immense gains. We saw agencies of the United States government adopt guidelines of discussing the “terror threat” that ruled out any discussion of the doctrine and ideology that underlay it. We saw the mainstream media in the West grow increasingly supine in the face of the stealth jihad intimidation tactics practiced by American Muslim advocacy groups. As a result of the mainstream media’s mischaracterization, misreporting, and underreporting of the “terror threat,” we also saw the public largely lose interest in the global jihad at precisely the time that it is becoming more assertive, and meeting more success, than ever.
Then the public’s loss of interest set off a vicious circle, with high-profile media figures sharply curtailing their reporting on jihad activity in all its forms -- and even on the Internet, which at its best functions as a modern-day samizdat, a last bastion of open discussion of these matters, some of the erstwhile champions of resistance to jihad and Islamization decided that other matters were far more important. History will show in due time which was greater: the jihad threat, or that of creationism or imaginary neofascism or what have you.
Amid all this nonsense and cowardice stood Wilders, who produced the sixteen-minute film Fitna, a rather straightforward depiction of how jihadists use the Qur’an to justify acts of violence, in March 2008. Fitna in Arabic means discord or upheaval; after the film was released, the world held its breath for another outbreak of irrational violence from Muslims, such as we saw in the wake of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad and the Pope’s Regensburg address. But the expected riots and violence did not materialize: the counterattack instead unfolded in different ways. Iran and Pakistan lodged formal complaints – Iran with the European Union and Pakistan with the Dutch Ambassador to Islamabad. Jordan charged Wilders with “blasphemy and contempt of Muslims,” making it a real possibility that he could be arrested in a nation that had an extradition treaty with Jordan. There was also a rapid advance of anti-free speech efforts.
The multinational Islamic body and largest single voting bloc at the UN, the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, condemned Fitna in “the strongest terms,” claiming that Wilders’s movie was “a deliberate act of discrimination against Muslims” intended only to “provoke unrest and intolerance.” They succeeded in passing a non-binding resolution at the UN, outlawing defamation of Islam (defined by whom?), and are now seeking to pass a binding resolution of the same kind.
Will these initiatives to muzzle all discussion of the jihad and Islamic supremacist doctrine and ideology continue to advance in 2009? Probably. Will the OIC and its allies succeed in criminalizing any discussion of what the West faces and how we must defend ourselves? Probably they will advance a great deal farther before they begin to be turned back. But as another stalwart of Western civilization, Yogi Berra, once said, It ain’t over till it’s over. And they have an awful lot of people they’re going to have to shut up. In 2009, let’s get louder.