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ISIS attack survivor on the US soil, Robert Spencer writes about Salman Rushdie

Islamic State, ISIS, Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders, Muslims, Phoenix, Salman Rushdie

Opinion

ISIS attack survivor on the US soil, Robert Spencer writes about Salman Rushdie

It’s a shame that until reading a recent article by Robert Spencer in the PJ Media, it was not in my knowledge that this eminent writer and Pamela Geller are the survivors of first Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist attack on the US soil.

According to Robert Spencer’s article, on May 3, 2015, he and Pamela Geller co-organized a “Muhammad Art Exhibition and Cartoon Contest” in Dallas suburb of Garland, Texas. In his words: “We wanted to demonstrate, after the cartoonists of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in France were murdered for drawing Muhammad, that we would not bow to violent intimidation and would defend the freedom of speech at the point at which it was being attacked. Our intention was just that and only that, to stand for the freedom of speech, and the event was a quiet affair. Dutch politician and free speech advocate Geert Wilders spoke, as did the winner of our content, artist Bosch Fawstin, as well as Pamela Geller and myself.

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The whole thing had gone off without a hitch, but just moments after it ended, one of the members of the considerable security detail that we had hired burst into the hall. He told us that there had been a shooting outside, and that he had to get the 300-strong crowd, and us, to a safe place. It turned out that two Muslims from Phoenix had driven eight hours to Garland and drawn guns in the parking lot of our event, shooting and injuring one of our guards, whereupon they were shot dead. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack”.

Following ISIS attack, the Editorial Board of The New York Times on May 6, 2015 claimed that “the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Tex., was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom”.

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The stabbing of Salman Rushdie has been the occasion for numerous people around the world to reaffirm their commitment to the freedom of speech. The New York Times also approvingly quoted an open letter that Salman Rushdie once signed, “warning that the ‘free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted’”.

In the same piece, the Times also approvingly quoted an Iranian-American writer, Roya Hakakian, saying “that the heart of the Rushdie case is ‘being able to say that we, as writers, as novelists, as thinkers, can absolutely take on any issue we want in our works — and that includes Islam’”.

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Robert Spencer asked, “Why are so many members of the Leftist intelligentsia proclaiming their staunch support for the freedom of speech today, after Rushdie has been stabbed, yet back in 2015, they rained down condemnations upon us for “provoking” the poor jihadis? Did The Satanic Verses not “provoke” the Ayatollah Khomeini?”

He further wrote: The lesson here once again, as in so many other contexts, is that for the political and media elites, Leftists are allowed to do and say what dissenters from the Leftist agenda are not. Salman Rushdie is a reliable Leftist, so what he says and does is acceptable in a way that what we did was not. If he had hosted the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest, it would have been hailed as a strong blow for freedom.

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Also, Rushdie has been careful to draw within the lines of Leftist orthodoxy by never locating the problem that has plagued him for 33 years within Islam itself. Cathy Young, writing Monday in the Never-Trump Bulwark, observed that “as the Rushdie stabbing amply demonstrates, violent Islamist militancy hasn’t gone away.” But she was wary of noting this because so many terrible people had done so: “It’s an uncomfortable subject for many people because it can easily lend itself to blanket attacks on Islam and general Muslim-bashing of the kind propagated by far-right figures like Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, or David Horowitz, embraced by many mainstream conservatives during the ‘Ground Zero mosque’ controversy in 2010, relentlessly flogged by Breitbart News, and championed by Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election (and beyond). It should be noted, by the way, that it’s a stance Rushdie has never embraced, despite having a far more valid grievance against Islamist extremism than any of the Muslim-bashers.”

The Bulwark wants to draw a distinction between Islam itself, which it would have us believe is entirely benign, and “Islamist extremism,” which is bad, very bad. But can anyone at The Bulwark explain what the difference between the two is, and identify exactly where that difference is found? Can The Bulwark elucidate for us precisely where I go wrong in ascribing to Islam proper what belongs not to it, but to “Islamist extremism”? Can The Bulwark show us how the Qur’an and Sunnah teach peace, and how the “extremists” have “hijacked” their teachings in order to hoodwink young Muslims into thinking that committing violence against unbelievers is a sacred act?

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Of course, The Bulwark can do none of this. No one there knows the first foggiest thing about Islam or what its core texts teach. They just know that to find some issue with Islam itself is something that has been declared unacceptable in the circles they run in, and where would they be if they stop getting invited to the good parties?

The Bulwark is by no means alone in this. Virtually all of those who accuse others of “Islamophobia” and affirm that Islam is peaceful (as opposed to Muslims being peaceful, a phenomenon of which there are millions of examples) but has been hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, are not speaking from their own knowledge or conviction. They’re just reflecting the groupthink that will allow them entrée into polite circles. The canniest thing that the purveyors of the Big Lie about Islam being peaceful did was ostracize and demonize those who told the truth; that made all the sheep fall into line. With the Rushdie attack, they’re baa-ing away yet again. The lesson of the Rushdie aftermath and the aftermath of the attack on us in Garland is clear: defending the freedom of speech is great, even heroic — as long as you’re a Leftist.

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This is an excellent and important point that Robert Spencer has raised in his latest PJ Media article. The corrupt media cartel in the West and in other parts of the world are always looking for giving coverage only to Leftists. In our neighboring India, we can see mad competition of the media cartel in granting tremendous coverage to a writer named Arundhati Roy, because she has been dedicatedly pushing forward leftist agenda. I have also been a victim of media’s left-leaning bias.

While for over two decades, I have been confronting radical and political Islam and jihad; denouncing anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial; promoting interfaith harmony; and defending the State of Israel, unfortunately since 2012 in particular, even Jewish media outlets are showing hostile attitude towards me. They have been competing in portraying me as a “bad man”, a “fraud”, “scammer” and “con-artist”. They even had branded me as an “unfathomable friend of the West”. Why? Because, they said I have taken money from three Jewish individuals.

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Yes, I did take few thousand dollars as loan from those individuals and had even offered to return. Since 2018, I have tried to contact all of them, requesting to take back the cash. But none responded. Why? Because, they were using this loan issue as a “scamming attempt” with the notorious agenda of tarnishing my image. And, most importantly, they were hired and heavily funded by Iran and Palestinians.

In the eyes of Leftist media cartel, I am a “scammer, a fraud, a con-artist and an unfathomable friend of the West” because I reject accepting to join the leftist cartels. I have served 7-years rigorous imprisonment for the “crime” of defending Israel – still in the eyes of Leftist media cartel, I am a scammer, a fraud, a con-artist and an unfathomable friend of the West”. My newspaper continues strongly confronting radical Islam, political Islam, jihad, Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism, Jew and Israel bashing since 2003 without getting even a single dollar from the Jewish State or any Jewish organization. Those with knowledge of the costs involved for running a newspaper with print and online edition knows how much money has been spent for running the newspaper for over two decades. Still I should not expect even a simple “thank you” for my work. Should I shift the editorial policy of my newspaper and join the Leftist cartel, my newspaper will start getting millions of dollars – I repeat – millions of dollars, every year as advertisement and grants. These are the realities how anyone who does not step into the shoes of leftists are treated by the global media.

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An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow him on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

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