In the aftermath of the murderous attack on the staff of Charlie Hebdo, the iconically irreverent French satirical journal, there is a widespread—and welcome—appreciation that the Islamic supremacist perpetrators sought not only to silence cartoonists who had lampooned Mohammed. They wanted to ensure that no one else violates the prohibitions on “blasphemy” imposed by the shariah doctrine that animates them.
In other words, the liquidation of twelve of the magazine’s cartoonists and staff—and a police officer (a Muslim, as it turns out) assigned to protect them after an earlier 2011 firebombing of its offices—was an act of jihad. Not “workplace violence,” not antiseptic “terrorism,” or the even more opaque “violent extremism.”
It was an act of violence prescribed by shariah to punish what that code deems to be a capital offence: giving offense to Muslims by caricaturing, or even just portraying pictorially, the founder of their faith, Mohammed. Unfortunately, acknowledging this reality is a practice that continues to be eschewed by governments on both sides of the Atlantic and by many in the media—even as they decry the attacks.
Therefore, it would be clarifying if, as those who profess solidarity with the fallen and their commitment to freedom of expression by declaring “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) would also acknowledge the impetus behind the perpetrators: “Je suis jihad.”
Such a step could begin a long-overdue correction in both official circles and the Fourth Estate. Both have actually encouraged the jihadists by past failures to acknowledge the reality of jihad and shariah and by serial accommodations made to their practitioners.
One of the most high-profile and egregious examples of this phenomenon was President Obama’s infamous statement before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2012—two weeks after he first, and fraudulently, blamed the attack on U.S. missions in Benghazi, Libya on a online video that had offended Muslims: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
This outrageous submission of the constitutional freedom of speech to shariah not only tracked with the sorts of statements one might have heard from global jihadists like al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, the Taliban’s Mullah Omar, or the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was of a piece with an agenda the Obama administration had been pursuing since its inception: finding ways to satisfy the demands of another, less well-known, but exceedingly dangerous jihadist group—the supranational Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
As documented in a superb film on the subject titled Silent Conquest: The End of Freedom of Expression in the West (spoiler alert: I appear in this documentary, as do most of the preeminent international champions of freedom of expression), starting in March 2009, Team Obama began cooperating with the OIC in its efforts to use the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to impose what amounted to shariah blasphemy laws worldwide.
This collaboration ultimately gave rise to UNHRC Resolution 16/18 titled, “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to violence, and Violence against Persons based on Religion or Belief,” which was adopted with U.S. support in March 2011. Despite its pretense of protecting persons of any religion or belief, the motivation behind and purpose of Res. 16/18 was to give Islamic supremacists a new, international legal basis for trying to impose restrictions on expression they would find offensive.
Resolution 16/18 is, in other words, a form of what the Muslim Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad”—a stealthy, subversive means of accomplishing the same goals as the violent jihadists worldwide: the West’s submission, and that of the rest of the world, to shariah and a caliph to rule according to it.
It fell to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to try to accommodate the Islamic supremacists’ demands. She launched something called the “Istanbul Process” which brought the United States, the European Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation together to find ways of giving force to Res. 16/18. On July 15, 2011, after paying lip service to the fact that, “for 235 years, freedom of expression has been a universal right at the core of our democracy,” Mrs. Clinton announced:
We are focused on promoting interfaith education and collaboration, enforcing anti-discrimination laws, protecting the rights of all people to worship as they choose, and to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.
The Charlie Hebdo attack is a particularly vivid reminder of what comes of such appeasement and how it encourages jihadists—pursuant to their shariah ideology—to redouble their efforts, not just through stealth but through violence, to achieve our absolute submission. If we are to have any hope of preventing more such incidents in the future, let alone far worse at the hands of shariah’s adherents, we must acknowledge the true nature of these enemies and adopt a comprehensive and effective counter-ideological strategy for defeating them.