In the wake of the Garland TX shootings, much has been made and continues to be made, about the “appropriateness” of Pamela Geller’s “Draw Muhammad” cartoon event. As recently as this morning, Martha MacCallum of Fox News interviewed Lars Larson and Jehmu Greene who all agreed Pamela Geller had the absolute right to do what she did but debated the “appropriateness” of her actions to hold the event. Within that heated debate, Martha posed the question “What is the appropriate response to ISIS?” Sadly, due to the combative nature of the interview, it went largely unanswered. So allow me.
When responding to terrorists, it is exceptionally appropriate to demonstrate you are not afraid of them. That their threats of violence—to say nothing of their acts of violence—have done nothing and will do nothing to make you cower in fear. That you will not abridge your own speech out of fear they may do something violent in return.
Showing weakness emboldens terrorists. Unfortunately, weakness now passes as official U.S. policy. Even before he became president, Obama launched his apologetic world tour. He has since backed up those apologies by official actions, conceding time and again in the face of radical Islamic threats. When push came to shove in the “Arab Spring” he sided with the radical elements in Egypt and Libya. He sides with the more radical Syrian rebels (many factions of which evolved into ISIS) over the more secular and moderate (though despicable) President Bashar al-Assad.
Reminiscent of Palestinians throwing rocks at well-armed Israeli soldiers, Obama has launched just enough missiles and drone strikes from afar, to give the appearance of doing “something” to the American people. But absent is a bold, authoritative, and crushing offensive strike that would send the message that needs to be sent.
The Pamela Geller Cartoons Entirely Appropriate
In this sense, in the wake of weakness passing as official U.S. policy, the Pamela Geller cartoons were entirely appropriate. She—a woman no less—stood in the face of violence, shook her fist, and proclaimed, “We will not be silent!” Would Martha MacCallum question the “appropriateness” of a woman standing up to an abusive husband with a similar determination of “I will not be silent!”?
It’s not just Martha MacCallum but many of the Fox News team. Bill O’Reilly, Greta Van Susteren, and others have scolded Geller over the “appropriateness” of her event—while conceding her right to hold it. The only two who seem to get it are Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity. In an on-air exchange, Megyn absolutely dismantled O’Reilly pontificating with a single question: “You know what else the jihadis don’t like? They hate Jews. Should we get rid of all Jews?”
It’s also highly appropriate to know the mindset of the people you’re fighting, to know your enemy. And judging from the self-righteous comments of those on Fox News and others like Jehmu Greene in this morning’s debate, I would guess none of them have actually read the Qur’an. I challenge them to do so; I invite you to do so. There is a highly respected English translation, fully searchable, electronic version of the Qu’ran available on the page for Show 5-04 (see the “Links Mentioned” section). Take a look. See for yourself about the treatment of Jews and Christians and the absolutely permissible act of killing them if they do not submit to the superiority of Islam. The difference between moderate and radical Islamic beliefs is that moderates view the killing of Jews and Christians as “permissible”; radical Islamists view it as a commandment.
If the Fox News crew actually knew the mindset of radical Islamists, they would know that the “appropriate” response against radicalized violence is strength. On I Spy Radio, I have interviewed multiple guests on radical Islam and ISIS, from Brigitte Gabriel (Act! for America) to Dr. Andrew Bostom to Joseph Klein to Dr. Bruce Thornton to, most recently, Raymond Ibrahim. In discussions with them both on and off the air, all of them underscore that the Middle Eastern mindset is one that respects strength. This has existed for centuries. The Muslim incursions into Europe did not stop because Christians the world over apologized. The incursions stopped because of strength, because of the Crusades, which proclaimed via actions that Christians had had enough and were also willing to die for their faith.
Free Speech vs. Appropriateness
The Fox commentators have also used the infamous “Piss Christ” (an “artwork” of a crucifix in a jar of urine) as an example to counter Geller’s event in that they agreed the artist had a right to do it but that it too was “inappropriate.” They are correct that it was inappropriate. But it’s a false comparison because his rights as an artist were not being threatened. If Christians were dragging atheists or artists out into the streets and beheading then, yes, “Piss Christ” would have been an absolutely appropriate response. Instead, it was an artist with a cushy fat taxpayer grant thumbing his nose at Christians, whose tax dollars helped fund it. The only way you can compare “Piss Christ” to Geller’s event would be if there had been no radical Islamic killings of Westerners, no threats of violence, no implied or overt threats of forcing America to abide by Sharia law—and that Muslims had funded Geller’s event to insult them.
Another common refrain among the Fox News commentators is that Pamela Geller should not have “provoked” the radical Islamists. Our very existence “provokes” radical Islamists. To echo Megyn Kelly, the very existence of Jews and Christians “provoke” them (unless they admit the superiority and ultimate authority of Islam). Our way of life is an insult to them. They hate that our women flaunt themselves and walk around half naked—to say nothing of their demands of equal rights with men.
Our entire existence as a nation “provokes” them. They hate us for our freedoms and not just freedom of speech but all of them. The very fact that we’re free to worship who we want and how we want throws it in their face that we have not submitted, that we have not turned our society on its head to follow the dictates of Islam. And they hate that we have even enshrined all of this in the Constitution that guarantees us these rights and this ability to thumb our nose at radical Islam.
So many of our Founding Fathers proclaimed the price of Liberty was so high and so precious they were willing to die to defend it. Do you think the Pamela Geller cartoons or those attending the “Draw Mohammed” contest—or the former Muslim who won it—weren’t all keenly aware that they were putting their own lives at risk for standing up for freedom? In decrying the “appropriateness” of Pamela Geller’s event, the Fox News crew admitted her right to free speech. Just as they have the right to criticize. And yet it makes one wonder whether they too would put their lives on the line to defend it?
Standing up with strength and resolve, and knowing that it is the correct response in the face of those who would do violence against you simply because you dared to stand up is appropriate. Because the price of freedom is that, at some point, you will be offended. Some are willing to pay the ultimate price for freedom. Others take the safety of the newsroom.
– Dr. Mark Anderson
Copyright © May 6, 2015 Mark Anderson and I Spy Radio. All rights reserved. If citing this article, please link to http://ispyradio.com.