Twitter seems to think 2016 is 1984. It has welcomed in the New Year with a change in the rules governing all of its accounts that is reminiscent of Orwellian thought-control. Or at least that practiced by another, non-fictional totalitarian system: the Islamic supremacist program known as shariah.
Shariah’s adherents demand that no offense be given to them, their religion, deity or prophet. Now, all other things being equal, they are close to ensuring that none will be forthcoming in 140 characters.
If successful, contemporary Islamists will have achieved a major step towards a goal they have been pursuing through other means for nearly two decades: the worldwide prohibition of “defamation of religions” – read, Islam. In particular, since 2005, their proto-Caliphate – the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – has been working through the United Nations on a ten-year plan to impose this restraint concerning freedom of expression on the rest of us.
In 2011, with the active support of the Obama administration, this gambit produced UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18. It basically gives the imprimatur of international law to Shariah’s demand that speech, books, videos and now Tweets that “defame” Muslims or their faith be prohibited.
In July of that year, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implicated herself personally in this affront to our First Amendment guarantee of free expression. She launched with the OIC and the European Union the so-called “Istanbul Process,” a tripartite effort to accommodate the Islamic supremacists’ demands that Western nations conform to Resolution 16/18 by adopting domestic strictures against offense-giving to Muslims.
On that occasion, Mrs. Clinton famously declared her willingness “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 message could not have been more clear to jihadists around the world: The United States was submitting to shariah blasphemy norms.
According to shariah, the proper response is to redouble the effort to make the infidel “feel subdued.” That means, worse behavior from the Islamists, not better.
Now, it seems that one of the greatest enablers of the global jihad, Saudi billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal, is seeing his substantial stake in Twitter stock translate into another breakthrough for Islamic supremacy: The suppression of Tweets that, according to the company’s new rule, involve “hate speech or advocacy against an individual, organization or protected group based on race, ethnicity, national origin, color, religion, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status or other protected status.”
To be sure Twitter is a private sector enterprise. It is, therefore, free to deny its services to those whose content it finds objectionable. At least, as long as it doesn’t try to deny service to approved “haters” like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). This organization has deviated wildly from its early history as an effective advocate for civil liberties. Today, its invective-laced advocacy against individuals or organization who are supposed to enjoy “protected status” under our Constitution, namely that of citizens free to express themselves, can only be described as hate speech. Yet, the SPLC is embraced and even cited by the Obama administration and others among the leftists and Islamists who make up the “Red-Green axis” now feverishly working to silence any who they, as Hillary Clinton put it, “abhor.” (For more on this unlikely alliance, see Jim Simpson’s The Red-Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America.)
What is particularly concerning is that the new Twitter rule sounds a lot like what is coming out of the Obama administration these days. See, for example, the Justice Department’s “Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use Of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Or Gender Identity.”
Speaking of the Justice Department, Americans who are inclined not to worry about losing the ability to Tweet their concerns about jihadism, shariah and anything else that might offend Muslims should bear in mind that Attorney General Loretta Lynch has put us all on notice that considerably worse may be in store for our First Amendment rights. Last month she told a Muslim Brotherhood-tied organization, Muslim Advocates: “Now, obviously this is a country that is based on free speech, but when it edges towards violence, when we see the potential for someone…lifting that mantle of anti-Muslim rhetoric…When we see that, we will take action.”
With Hillary Clinton’s prominent role in promoting restriction of free expression, and what appears to be accelerating momentum in the direction of ensuring conformity with shariah blasphemy restrictions, this would seem to be a good time for Republican presidential candidates – and the rest of us – to be expressing our adamant objections. If Twitter gets away with keeping us from doing it in 140 characters, we better make sure we do it otherwise, while we still can.