Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #662 Reflections on Islamic Fascism and Media Self-Censorship

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.’”

(Cairo to Damascus; John Roy Carlson; Copyright 1951 by John Roy Carlson; Published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.; ISBN 51-11068; p. 423.)

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.”

(The Beast Reawakens; Martin A. Lee; Copyright 1997 [HC]; Little, Brown & Co.; ISBN 0-316-51959-6; pp. 225-226.)

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. . . .”

“Assassins of the Mind” by Christopher Hitchens; Vanity Fair; February/2009.

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. . . .”

Idem.

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. . . .”

Idem.

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. . . .”

Idem.

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.”

Idem.

Discussion

4 comments for “FTR #662 Reflections on Islamic Fascism and Media Self-Censorship”

  1. Regarding the media coup, it seems that the conservative movement, the Republican party in particular, have put out in front as their spokesmans, people who who are in place to deflect attention away from the real power behind what’s happening. That is vis a vis, people who appear to be, and can be attacked as being, incompetent, thus giving the appearance that the Republican party is falling to pieces, when my own feelings are that nothing could be further from the truth. It is also very interesting that the “progressive” voices in the media seem to be swallowing this hook line and sinker. When I compare say Rush Limbaugh, or even Michael Steele, to someone like James Baker and think back to when Baker paid a little visit to the leader of Libya and came away from that meeting with, not only an agreement by Kadafi
    to hand over the terrorists responsible for the Pam Am flight 103 terrorist attack, but also resulted in Libya being taken off the list of states that sponser terrorists. I try to picture Rush Limbaugh in place of James Baker and the conclusion seems very obvious to me.

    Posted by Sandra | March 3, 2009, 5:15 pm
  2. Here’s some background info on the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo attack. And, shocker, they’re associated with al-Qaeda:

    ABC News
    Youngest Suspect in Charlie Hebdo Attack Turns Himself In
    Jan 7, 2015, 4:33 PM ET
    By DAN GOOD, TERRY MORAN and MEGHAN KENEALLY

    The youngest suspect in today’s deadly attack at a satirical newspaper’s office in Paris has turned himself in, French police said.

    French authorities have named the three suspects who they believe are responsible for the shooting deaths of 12 people, U.S. law enforcement officials told ABC News.

    The officials identified the suspects as Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, two relatives both in their 30s, and 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad.

    Cherif Kouachi, 34, is on Global watch list, ABC News has confirmed.

    Kouachi, along with six others, was sentenced in May 2008 to 3 years in prison for terrorism in Paris. All seven men were accused of sending about a dozen young Frenchmen to join Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, after funneling them through radical religious establishments in Syria and Egypt. French authorities believed Kouachi had been planning to go to Syria for training in 2005.

    Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman earlier today told ABC News that two of the assailants went inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo and listed off the names of their targets before shooting them execution style. The third man was waiting outside the building.

    The French president called the attack a “terrorist operation.”

    The newspaper had been targeted in the past over its content, often aimed at religious groups.

    French officials confirmed that there are believed to be three attackers, all of whom were seen in videos wearing black from head-to-toe. Their identities and affiliations have not been revealed but one of the men is heard screaming “Allahu Akbar,” an Islamic phrase meaning “God is great,” in one of the scene videos.

    Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, has come under attack before. Their office was firebombed in 2011 and its website was hacked after its cover featured the prophet Muhammad. Nearly a year later, the publication again published crude Muhammad caricatures, drawing denunciations from around the Muslim world.

    The cover of this week’s issue of the newspaper focuses on a new book by Michel Houellebecq, “Submission,” which depicts France led by an Islamic party that bans women from the workplace.

    Beyond reminding the world that violent fundamentalists are deserving of either mockery or mental help (it depends on their degree of insanity and brainwashing), whenever something like this happens another question gets immediately raised throughout the world: what’s the most appropriate and effective form of mockery for groups like this? Islamist radicals clearly have incredibly thin skins and a kind of child-like worldview and mockery clearly impacts them in deep and profound ways.

    So you have to wonder if the right kind of mockery ever actually triggers an “aha!” moment in their minds and prompt some actual independent thought. After all, suddenly realizing that you’re worldview has turned you into a radical cleric’s useful idiot has to be a powerful thought, even if it’s just a fleeting thought before the brainwashing kicks in. And fundamentalists are clearly paying very close attention to media critiques of their movements, especially the hyper image-conscious ISIS. So could targeted mockery of the kinds of useful idiots be a vehicle for inspiring the kind of psychological maturation these kinds of individuals desperately need or do movements like ISIS and al-Qaeda only attract the chronically clueless?

    The three Charlie Hebdo attackers were obviously totally brainwashed by their ideology and are unlikely to change their minds of much of anything. At least not any time soon. But by drawing so much attention to a magazine like Charlie Hebdo that mocks everybody, you have to wonder how many young, up and coming violent militants are going to end up pouring over all the Charlie Hebdo cartoons mocking all of society. And amongst that group, you have to wonder how many will actually start thinking for themselves…the way Chalie Hebdo’s staff did. Who knows, Charlie Hebdo might end be quite an inspiration for a very unexpected audiences.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 7, 2015, 6:57 pm
  3. Worth noting…

    Paris suspect Said Kouachi was roommate of ‘underwear bomber’: Reports
    More terror ties exposed

    By Dylan Stableford January 12, 2015 1:40 PM
    Yahoo News

    Said Kouachi, one of the two gunmen involved in last week’s massacre at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, once told a Yemeni reporter that he had lived with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian “underwear bomber” behind the failed 2009 terror plot on a Detroit-bound airliner.

    Mohammed al-Kibsi, the Yemeni journalist, told the Associated Press that he met Kouachi in early 2010 in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, where Abdulmutallab — who was later convicted of trying to blow up the Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas day 2009 using explosives concealed in his underwear — was studying Arabic.

    Al-Kibsi said he asked Kouachi if he knew Abdulmutallab.

    “Surprisingly, he said that, ‘Yes,’ he knew him and that he lived with him in the same residence,” al-Kibsi said Monday. “(Abdulmutallab) had left three or four months before we met Said.”

    Said Kouachi told al-Kibsi that he and Abdulmutallab prayed together at Yemen’s al-Tabari School and studied Arabic at the Sanaa Arabic Grammar Institute. The pair shared an apartment “for one to two weeks” in Yemen, al-Kibsi said.

    Kouachi described Abdulmutallab as “a very quiet person” who “rarely talked to people,” al-Kibsi told CNN.

    Said Kouachi, 34, and his 32-year-old brother, Cherif Kouachi, both French nationals, were killed after a massive manhunt and subsequent standoff with police in northern France on Friday, two days after they killed 12 people in an attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices. Amedy Coulibaly, an associate of the Kouachis, killed hostages inside a kosher grocery store in a Paris suburb before he was killed during a police raid.

    The journalist described the elder Kouachi as “very polite,” with “a sense of humor.”

    “I could not expect that a few years later he would be the suspect of a terror attack,” al-Kibsi said. “When I first met him he was wearing a track suit, playing football with kids in the street.”

    The AP reported that Abdulmutallab had told U.S. investigators he trained in Yemen and targeted the U.S.-bound flight at the urging of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical, American-born Muslim cleric who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011. Al-Awlaki’s commentary was featured in Inspire magazine, al-Qaida’s English-language publication, which encourages readers to carry out “lone wolf” attacks on Western targets.

    Al-Kibsi said he did not know whether Kouachi had met al-Awlaki while he was in Yemen.

    Last week, U.S. officials said they believe Kouachi spent several months in Yemen in 2011 receiving weapons training and working with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. A senior Yemeni national security official told CNN that Said Kouachi entered Yemen multiple times with a legal visa and was not being watched.

    Last week, U.S. counterterrorism officials told Yahoo News that the Kouachis were on a “no fly” list that banned them from boarding commercial aircraft going into and out of the United States.

    On Monday, U.S. officials told CNN that Coulibaly was “known” to them before the Paris attacks, though it’s unclear why. Before he was killed by police, Coulibaly reportedly told a French television station that he was a member of the radical group Islamic State.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 13, 2015, 6:34 pm
  4. More media self censorship:

    NBC’s 1/14/15 Today show report on the new edition of Charlie Hebdo hitting the streets of Paris reported that the millions of copies are sold out. But they would not show the cover, which depicted a rather unflattering cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. They didn’t explain why they censored themselves.

    Posted by Sampson | January 14, 2015, 6:25 am

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