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

MP3: 30-Minute Seg­ment [1]
REALAUDIO [2] 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 [3] 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 [4],” 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 [5] 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 [6] affil­i­ate called the Devo­tees of Islam, after hav­ing been inspired by World War II Nazi radio [7] broad­casts. As dis­cussed in FTR# 352 [8], Khomeini’s exile in France pri­or to assum­ing pow­er was financed by Fran­cois Genoud [9], 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 [10], 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 [11], 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 [12]!

“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 [13], 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.) [14]

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.) [15]

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. [5]

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]

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. [5]

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. [5]

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. [5]