MP3: 30-Minute Segment
REALAUDIO NB: This RealAudio stream contains FTRs 662 and 663 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute segment.
After noting vast discrepancy between coverage of the 2008–2009 Gaza war and a recent offensive by the Sri Lankan army against the Tamil Tiger guerrillas, the program reviewed the statements of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1951. Addressing the World Muslim Congress–which he founded–the Grand Mufti exhorted the faithful to meet him to fight in “either Kashmir or Palestine,” indicating how little progress has been made in the Muslim world since then.
The balance of the program consists of the reading of an important article by Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair, in which Hitchens notes the chilling ripple effect of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses. Condemned to death by Ayatollah Khomeini for writing a book deemed offensive to Islam, Rushdie had to become a virtual recluse for a time. Others associated with the book’s dissemination were not so fortunate–some were attacked and grievously injured or killed. Perhaps even more significant is the self-imposed censorship by intellectuals in the West, who refused to support Rushdie out of misplaced political correctness or, perhaps, fear.
Sad and terrifying, also, is the effective heritage of the fatwa’s legacy–willful self-censorship of any media treatment of Islam by media persons operating out of the same misplaced political correctness and/or fear.
In that context, it is important to remember the fascist underpinnings of the regime of the ayatollahs in Iran. Khomeini was mentored by the head of a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate called the Devotees of Islam, after having been inspired by World War II Nazi radio broadcasts. As discussed in FTR# 352, Khomeini’s exile in France prior to assuming power was financed by Francois Genoud, one of the most important figures in the postwar Underground Reich. In December of 2006, the Iranian regime founded by Khomeini held a Holocaust Denial conference, during which the government interfaced with neo-fascists from around the world.
Program Highlights Include: Review of the World Muslim Congress’s role as chief vehicle for the prosecution of the Afghan war against the Red Army in the 1980’s; review of the Iranian regime’s drive for the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
1. Whereas incidents–real, provoked and/or fabricated–of Israelis firing on U.N. vehicles or facilities is plastered all over the news, this report of the Sri Lankan army [allegedly] firing on civilian facilities has received almost no coverage. Contrast this with the coverage of the Gaza conflict, with its daily violence porn. Note that, as discussed in FTR #661, the widely reported shelling of the U.N. school did not happen. Shells fell out side of the school and people were killed, buy the school was not shelled!
“Dozens of U.N. workers and their relatives spent a terrifying night huddling in hastily built bunkers as artillery fire pounded a civilian ‘safe zone’ in Sri Lanka’s war-racked north, according to an internal U.N. memo. . . .”
“Sri Lanka Denies U.N. Tale of Shelled Refuge”; San Francisco Chronicle; 1/29/2009.
2. In illustrating the evolution of the history of Islamofascism, this program utilizes the work of John Roy Carlson (real name Arthur Derounian.) The author of the book Undercover, among other titles, Carlson was a prominent anti-fascist investigative reporter in the 1940’s and 1950’s. In 1952, he published a book about the fascist/Islamic political connection that has great significance for today. That book, Cairo to Damascus highlights the Islamofascist political forces at work in what the Nazi geo-politicians called “the Earth Island”—the giant, contiguous land mass stretching from the Straits of Gibraltar through to the Pacific Ocean. More than half-a-century ago, the Grand Mufti presaged the Islamofascism which threatens the world today—from Palestine to Kashmir.
“In February 1951 he suddenly reappeared in Karachi, Pakistan to meet old friends who had supported his cause in Iraq and to preside over a twelve-day World Moslem Congress. In a typical inflammatory address, he called for a ‘full struggle’ by the Moslems ‘to meet the aggressor’—meaning, in this instance, the non-Moslem Hindus of India. He assured the delegates: ‘We shall meet next with sword in hand on the soil of either Kashmir or Palestine.’”
3. The program reviews the subsequent development of the WMC, after the “Grossmufti’s” 1951 address to that organization.
“A few years later, the WMC, then headed by Pakistani Dr. Inamullah Kahn, mailed Holocaust-denial literature to every member of the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament. The WMC’s official mouthpiece, Muslim World, carried the ads for The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Henry Ford’s The International Jew. . . . Dr. Khan also served as an advisor to the Saudi Arabian royal family, which lavished funds on the WMC. In addition, the Saudi Arabian government retained the services of American neo-nazi William Grimstead as a Washington lobbyist. . . Soon, the World Muslim Congress began working closely with U.S. intelligence and Pakistani military officials, who were covertly supporting the Afghan mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet-installed regime in Kabul. This effort was strongly endorsed by Dr. Khan, who served for many years as the Pakistani representative of the Nazi-infested World Anti-Communist League, which played an important role in the Reagan administration’s ‘secret war’ in the Golden Crescent.”
4. Most of the program consists of excerpts of a Vanity Fair article by Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens discusses the shocking self-censorship of Western media voices with regard to coverage of aspects of the Muslim world. This self-censorship follows on the heels of numerous incidents of violence perpetrated against those the Islamists see as unacceptable.
” . . . On Valentine’s Day 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran gave Salman’s book The Satanic Verses the single worst review any novelist has ever had, calling in frenzied tones for his death and also for the killing of all those “involved in its publication.” This was the first time that most people outside the Muslim world had heard the word fatwa, or religious edict. So if you have missed the humorous and ironic side of Mr. Rushdie, this could conceivably be the reason why. Just to re-state the situation before I go any farther: two decades ago the theocratic head of a foreign state offered a large sum of money, in his own name, in public, to suborn the murder of a writer of fiction who was not himself an Iranian. In the event that some would-be assassin died in the attempt and failed to pick up the dough, an immediate passage to paradise was assured. (Again, this was the first time that many in the West found out about this now notorious Koranic promise.) I thought then, and I think now, that this was not just a warning of what was to come. It was the warning. The civil war in the Muslim world, between those who believed in jihad and Shari’a and those who did not, was coming to our streets and cities. Within a short time, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses, was stabbed to death on the campus where he taught literature, and the Italian translator Ettore Capriolo was knifed in his apartment in Milan. William Nygaard, the novel’s Norwegian publisher, was shot three times in the back and left for dead outside his Oslo home. Several very serious bids, often backed by Iranian Embassies, were made on the life of Salman himself. . . .”
4. Many did not see the original fatwa as a reason for concern.
” . . . Not everybody agreed with me about the nature of this confrontation. President George H. W. Bush, asked for a comment, said that no American interest was involved. I doubt he would have said this if the chairman of Texaco had been hit by a fatwa, but even if Salman’s wife of the time (who had to go with him into hiding) had not been an American, it could be argued that the United States has an interest in opposing state-sponsored terrorism against novelists. Various intellectualoids, from John Berger on the left to Norman Podhoretz on the right, argued that Rushdie got what he deserved for insulting a great religion. (Like the Ayatollah Khomeini, they had not put themselves to the trouble of reading the novel, in which the only passage that can possibly be complained of occurs in the course of a nightmare suffered by a madman.) Some of this was a hasty bribe paid to the crude enforcer of fear: if Susan Sontag had not been the president of pen in 1989, there might have been many who joined Arthur Miller in his initial panicky refusal to sign a protest against the ayatollah’s invocation of Murder Incorporated. ‘I’m Jewish,’ said the author of The Crucible. ‘I’d only help them change the subject.’ But Susan would have none of that, and shamed many more pants wetters whose names I still cannot reveal. . . .”
5. Similar incidents of violence or threatened violence have followed on the heels of Khomeini’s fatwa against Rushdie.
” . . . The Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, descendant of the painter, shot down and then ritually butchered on an Amsterdam street after making a short film about the maltreatment of Muslim women in Holland. His colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an elected member of the Dutch parliament, forced into hiding and ultimately into exile by incessant threats of death. Another small (and unusually open and multicultural) European democracy, that of Denmark, its embassies burned and its exports boycotted and its citizens threatened, because of a few cartoons of the prophet Muhammad published in a morning newspaper in Copenhagen. Daniel Pearl, of The Wall Street Journal, taunted on video for being a Jew and then foully beheaded. Riots and burnings and killings all across the Muslim world, some of them clearly incited by the authorities, in response to some ill-judged words about Islam from the Pope. . . .”
6. In the wake of the Rushdie affair, many media outlets have engaged in deliberate self-censorship.
“These are among the things that have happened, and have become depressingly taken for granted, since the fatwa of the ayatollah. We live now in a climate where every publisher and editor and politician has to weigh in advance the possibility of violent Muslim reprisal. In consequence, there are a number of things that have not happened. Let me give a recent and trivial example that isn’t altogether lacking in symbolic importance. Last October, Sony PlayStation abruptly delayed the release of its biggest video game in 2008, LittleBigPlanet, because an accompanying track by the Malian singer Toumani Diabaté included two expressions that, according to the Press Association report, ‘can be found in the Koran.’ Following the lead of the American press—which refused to show its readers the Danish cartoons and thus permit them to judge for themselves—the report did not care to say which ‘expressions’ these were. It was a textbook instance of self-censorship or, if you prefer, of crying before you are hurt. There was one American magazine (the secular Free Inquiry, for which I write) that did print those Danish cartoons—Borders Books pulled that issue from the shelves.
But that you can be hurt, let nobody doubt. A few weeks before Sony PlayStation capitulated in advance, so to speak, a firebomb was thrown into a private home in North London that is also the office of a small publisher named Gibson Square Books. The director, Martin Rynja, was chosen for this atrocity because he had decided to publish a romantic novel called The Jewel of Medina, by the American writer Sherry Jones, which told the tale of the prophet Muhammad’s youngest and favorite wife, the nine-year-old Aisha (aged six at the time of her betrothal). The novel had originally been commissioned by Random House in New York. How did such a small London press acquire the honor of becoming its British publisher? Because Random House dumped the book on receiving a threat from a single reader that it might have another “Rushdie affair” on its hands. The date of the subsequent firebombing, 26 September last, was the 20th anniversary of the publication of The Satanic Verses.
So there is now a hidden partner in our cultural and academic and publishing and broadcasting world: a shadowy figure that has, uninvited, drawn up a chair to the table. He never speaks. He doesn’t have to. But he is very well understood. The late playwright Simon Gray was alluding to him when he said that Nicholas Hytner, the head of London’s National Theatre, might put on a play mocking Christianity but never one that questioned Islam. I brushed up against the unacknowledged censor myself when I went on CNN to defend the Danish cartoons and found that, though the network would show the relevant page of the newspaper, it had pixelated the cartoons themselves. And this in an age when the image is everything. The lady anchor did not blush to tell me that the network was obliterating its very stock-in-trade (newsworthy pictures) out of sheer fear. . . .”
7. The article ends with a chilling forecast:
” . . . And, by the way, the next time that Khomeini’s lovely children want to make themselves felt, they will be armed not just with fatwas but with nuclear weapons.”