On Wednesday, Islamic terrorists murdered 12 people at the leftist French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, including the editor-in-chief and three cartoonists. The motivation was clear: the terrorists shouted “Allahu Akhbar!” during the attack and screamed “We have avenged the prophet!” as they left the scene.
The true rationale for the attack is obvious: for years, Western politicians and media have cowered in the face of Islamic assaults on the exercise of free speech. The hallmark of Western civilization is freedom of the speech and of the press. The threats against, attacks on, and killings of journalists and satirists who attack Islam, combined with the despicable multicultural cowardice of the West, have destroyed freedom of speech and of the press.
The latest example of such cowardice comes in the words of President Obama. President Obama released a 145-word statement that contained neither the terms “freedom of speech” or “freedom of the press.” To her credit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke truth where Obama would not: “This abominable act is not only an attack on the lives of French citizens and their security. It is also an attack on freedom of speech and the press, core elements of our free democratic culture. In no way can this be justified.”
Meanwhile, the media still refuse to show the cartoons of Mohammed published by Charlie Hebdo that apparently provided the original fodder for the attack.
Here are the top ten recent examples of top politicians and media figures providing justification for jihadi killing of those who slander the prophet of Islam.
President Barack Obama, 2012: On September 11, 2012, Islamic terrorists attacked the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, murdering four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. President Obama and his administration promptly blamed a filmmaker who made the YouTube film “The Innocence of Muslims.” He then went to United Nations on September 25, 2012, and said:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
Hillary Clinton, then-Secretary of State, also told Charles Woods, father of Ty Woods, one of the murdered men, that the American government would arrest the YouTube filmmaker.
Time, 2011: After the firebombing of the Charlie Hebdo offices in 2011, Time magazine Paris bureau chief Bruce Crumley penned an editorial in which he stated that Charlie Hebdo had asked for it:
[N]ot only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good.
He added that it was “hard to have much sympathy for the French satirical newspaper firebombed this morning, after it published another stupid and totally unnecessary edition mocking Islam.” Crumley concluded by equating the firebombing with the printing of Mohammed cartoons:
Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile… So, yeah, the violence inflicted upon Charlie Hebdo was outrageous, unacceptable, condemnable, and illegal. But apart from the “illegal” bit, Charlie Hebdo’s current edition is all of the above, too.
General David Petraeus, 2011: The general in charge of America’s war in Afghanistan ripped Pastor Terry Jones of Florida after Jones burned a copy of the Koran. Petraeus said that burning the Koran was “hateful, it was intolerant and it was extremely disrespectful and again, we condemn it in the strongest manner possible.” US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry said Americans “deplore any action that shows disrespect to any religious faith.” NATO Ambassador Mark Sedwill of the UK said that the burning was “an act of disrespect to the Muslim faith and to all peoples of faith. It does not represent the views of the peoples or governments of the alliance.”
Yale University, 2009: In 2009, Yale University Press printed a book on the Danish cartoon controversy of 2005-2006. That book, The Cartoons That Shook The World, originally had prints of the cartoons. Those cartoons were removed. The book also removed “an Ottoman print” and “a sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave Dore of Muhammed being tormented in Hell, an episode from Dante’s ‘Inferno’ that has been depicted by Botticelli, Blake, Rodin and Dali.” Yale said the decision to pull the cartoons was “overwhelming and unanimous.”
French President Jacques Chirac, 2006: When Charlie Hebdo printed a front-page cartoon of Mohammed during the global controversy over the printing of a Danish Mohammed cartoon, Chirac ripped the magazine:
Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided.
President Bush, 2008: After a video emerged of an American sniper shooting a Koran, White House press secretary Dana Perino said that Bush had apologized to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki: “He apologized for that in the sense that he said that we take it very seriously. We are concerned about the reaction. We wanted them to know that the president knew that this was wrong.”
Bush State Department, 2006: After the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a cartoon of Mohammed, ambassadors from 11 Islamic countries demanded that the newspaper be punished in a letter to the Danish prime minister:
We deplore these statements and publications and urge Your Excellency’s government to take all those responsible to task under law of the land in the interest of inter-faith harmony, better integration and Denmark’s overall relations with the Muslim world.
The Danish Prime Minister did not take a meeting with the ambassadors but responded, “The freedom of expression has a wide scope and the Danish government has no means of influencing the press. However, Danish legislation prohibits acts or expressions of blasphemous or discriminatory nature.”
The Bush State Department released a statement on the riots stemming from the cartoons:
We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression, but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.
Former President Bill Clinton, 2006: As the cartoon controversy spiraled, Clinton called the cartoons “totally outrageous” and said, “So now what are we going to do?… Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?”
Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2002: After Pat Robertson spoke negatively of Islam, Powell told business executives at the State Department that anti-Islam rhetoric “must be rejected.” He said:
We will reject the kinds of comments you have seen recently where people in this country say that Muslims are responsible for the killing of all Jews and who put out hatred. This kind of hatred must be rejected. This kind of language must be spoken out against.
Bush spoke out, too, stating, “Some of the comments that have been uttered about Islam do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans. Islam, as practiced by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion, a religion that respects others.”
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 1989: When novelist Salman Rushdie fell victim to a fatwa from the Iranian government over his novel The Satanic Verses, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government condemned the novel. Foreign Office minister William Waldegrave told the BBC’s Arabic service, “the British government well recognizes the hurt and distress that this book has caused, and want to emphasize that because it was published in Britain, the British government had nothing to do with it and is not associated with it in any way.” Waldegrave said that the “best way forward…is to say that the book is offensive to Islam, that Islam is far stronger than a book by a writer of this kind.”
Thatcher herself stated: “We have known in our own religion doing things which are deeply offensive to some of us. We feel it very much. And that is what has happened to Islam.”
Islam means submission. For decades, the West has submitted. The bodies of the editors of Charlie Hebdo pay silent testament to what that submission has wrought.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.