Recent world headlines have focused on a 15 minute film called “Fitna” (Arabic for ‘conflict’, ‘division’, ‘strife’, ‘‘discord’ or ‘disagreement’) produced by Dutch MP Geert Wilders. This movie has been a hot commodity on the internet, and the Islamic world has responded with much heat and little light. What is all the fuss about?
Fitna casts a spotlight on aspects of the Koranic faith that some Islamist leaders would prefer to sweep under the rug. Quotations from the Koran are shown which command violent jihad against non-Muslims who refuse to convert to Islam; the beheading of ‘unbelievers’; the obligation to hate Christians and Jews, etc. Each quote in the film is sung by a Muslim muezzin (or mu’azzin) in Arabic, and then real footage of terror attacks, frenzied sermons, anti-Western demonstrations, the beheading of a non-Muslim hostage, etc are shown. Interviews with Muslim religious leaders are also presented – interviews which justify terrorism and are based on these Koranic passages. The result is a chilling presentation of Koranic Islam – one which is definitely not “politically correct!”
None of Fitna’s footage is staged; it is all documentary. The quotes are straight from the Koran. The film shows that central aspects of the Koranic faith advocate violent terror against non-Muslims. The film also shows that a connection exists between obedience to these commands of Mohammed and the terror attacks – whether they be 9/11 in New York, 7/7 in London, the train bombings in Madrid, the disco bombing in Bali, or the raging flood of terror attacks against the Jewish people in Israel and around the world. Fitna then challenges Muslims to purify their religion from these violent aspects.
“He hits me and then he cries!” (old Arabic proverb)
The response of the Islamic world to Fitna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitna_(film)) is just heating up. The 56-member “Organization of the Islamic Conference” based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia said the film would “incite disturbances, conflicts and to threaten the security and stability of the world.” They declared that “it is essential that in every country laws are created against works such as those produced by this Dutch politician and other fanatic groups that encourage violence and hatred by insulting religions and misusing freedom of speech.”
Iran’s prominent Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said, “Behind these satanic acts can be found the oppressive powers and the Zionist regime … and we cry ‘death to Israel’ .” Morocco’s Communications Minister Khalid Naciri said Wilders was “mentally retarded.” An organization related to Al Qa’eda has proclaimed a fatwa (an Islamic religious ruling) calling for the murder of Wilders.
These declarations reveal both hidden and not-so-hidden agendas. Remember that across the Islamic world the mosques ring with Islamist preachers railing with hatred against Christian and Jewish ‘unbelievers’ and against the secular Western world. These Muslim preachers believe that their attacks are truthful, that their slurs are valid. But these leaders cannot accept freedoms of speech, thought or expression that would allow Westerners, Christians and Jews to critique Islamic theology or practice in any way. As far as they are concerned, anything less than 100% submission to Islam is offensive, inciting and hate-speech.
An old Arabic proverb describes the strategies of a local bully, “He hits me and then he cries!” In other words, the attacker first beats up the victim and then protests that he is the one being treated harshly! Islamic leaders openly deny Jesus’ deity, the crucifixion, the name of YHVH and the reliability of the Bible. They mock the Jewish people and the choosing of Jerusalem. They oversee the jailing, beating and beheading of Christian missionaries, the funding of Islamist terrorism and the gross oppression of women – and in all this they see no reason for Christians and Jews to be offended. But when a Christian or Jewish believer in the Scriptures (or even a pagan) points out that the Koran calls for violent jihad, for religious enslavement and terrorism – then these leaders consider those critiques “a threat to the security and stability of the world.”
Why Fear A Religion of Peace?
On September 17 2001 (less than a week after 9/11) President George Bush made the following remarks at the Islamic Center of Washington, “These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that… the face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war. When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world…”
Yet the picture that Fitna reveals, taken from impeccable Islamic sources, is that the only way Islamists will bring peace to the world is after they have crushed all religions and have enslaved or destroyed all dissenters. This is not “peace in our time” but the false peace of dictatorship. Keeping this ‘peaceful’ framework in mind, some Western leaders are afraid that by shining light on these skeletons in the Islamic closet, Fitna will actually trigger further Islamic violence.
Let’s be frank. The West is not deeply interested in safeguarding Islamic freedom of speech and expression. Nor are Western governments earnestly attempting to bring about deeper debate concerning the relative values or truth-claims of Islam, Christianity and Judaism in the marketplace of ideas. But the West is scared spitless about Islamic violence and oil embargoes. Therefore hypocritical yet politically correct wisdom says that if you’re scared about Islamic violence, you need to loudly proclaim the opposite – that Islam is a religion of peace.
Here are two recent examples of the threat: the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party sent a letter to the Dutch Embassy in Malaysia a few days ago warning that the film would “invite vengeance” and called for a worldwide Muslim boycott of Dutch goods. Spokesman Bin Mohamad said: “If the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims unite and say they won’t buy, then it [the boycott] will be effective.” And NATO announced that it feared that the consequences of Fitna would affect the safety of its troops in Afghanistan.
Guilty of incitement – Fitna or the Koran?
Recent statements from the UN, the EU, etc do not interact with or intelligently respond to Fitna’s message. There is no weighing of its arguments. Instead the untrue charge is made that the film presents a false picture of Islam. Are we to assume, then, that the Koran’s teachings do not give a true picture of Islam?
The European Union’s Slovenian President said the film served “no other purpose than inflaming hatred.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “I condemn in the strongest terms the airing of Geert Wilders’ offensively anti-Islamic film. There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence. The right of free speech is not at stake here.” Australia‘s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith, “deplored” Fitna’s release, saying that it is “an obvious attempt to generate discord between faith communities.”
The UN, the EU and even Australia seem to be more concerned about “keeping the peace” than whether or not Islam truly is “a religion of peace.” But no one ever assumed that the UN and the EU are specialists on Islamist theology and practice – only on politics and ‘compromise solution’, as Mick Jagger would say. It still does give pause for thought that some of these world leaders are able to get away with such glaringly ludicrous and misleading pronouncements.
An Islamist strategy to censor Western freedoms
The Islamic world leadership is currently pressuring for the passage of laws which will make it illegal for non-Muslims like Dutch MP Geerts to speak freely, to disagree with or critique Islam, or to show the connection between Islamist terrorism and Koranic teachings.
On April 1 2008 Islamic and Arab UN representatives pushed through a statement and resolution by a vote of 32 to 0, requiring the UN Human Rights Council’s Investigator on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, to also report acts of “racial or religious discrimination” that constitute “abuse of the right of freedom of expression.”
In other words, the UN now has to not only be the watchdog on the violation of civil and religious liberties around the world (and the Islamic nations are some of the biggest offenders in this area!); the UN is now legally required to investigate any freely expressed criticisms of Islam.
Warren W. Tichenor, US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, stated, “The resolution adopted attempts to legitimize the criminalization of expression .. (It seeks to impose) restrictions on individuals rather than to emphasize the duty and responsibility of governments to guarantee, uphold, promote and protect human rights.” Slovenian Ambassador Andrej Logar, speaking on behalf of the European Union, warned that the UN’s role was shifting from protecting free speech toward limiting it. The French organization Reporters Without Borders condemned the amendment. “It turns someone who is supposed to defend freedom of opinion into a prosecutor whose job is to go after those who abuse this freedom.”
Pakistan’s ambassador, Masood Khan, speaking on behalf of the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, denied the resolution would limit free speech. “It only tries to make freedom of expression responsible,” he said. But one must understand that the term ‘responsible’ here means ‘no criticism of Islam allowed whatsoever.’
The Islamic world leadership is attempting to silence open and free research and/or criticism of Islam, the Koran, jihad, Islamist terrorism, etc. This behavior is part of a new strategy – call it an international Islamist Inquisition if you will – whose goal is to muzzle the watchmen in the West as well as internal political opposition in their own countries.
This new Islamist attempt to censor free religious expression is the shape of things to come for the West, and it is what the West should expect if Islam and Shari’a become the religion and law of the land. Pray!
In Messiah Yeshua’s bonds,
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