The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Hamas-derived un-indicted terrorism financing coconspirator, recently demonstrated that there is more than one way to implement Sharia. CAIR’s feigned lofty concern for free speech following Paris’ Charlie Hebdo massacre is part of a duplicitous strategy seeking to impose non-violently Muslim blasphemy norms while deflecting any criticism of Islam.
CAIR “today condemned a shooting attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and repeated its defense of freedom of speech,” read a baffling January 7 press release from the radical faux civil rights group. “We strongly condemn this brutal and cowardly attack,” said CAIR executive director Nihad Awad of the globally infamous Paris jihad massacre of 12 at Charlie Hebdo. Awad then added that his CAIR associates “reiterate our repudiation of any such assault on freedom of speech, even speech that mocks faiths.”
Awad, however, deemed that the “proper response to such attacks . . . is not to vilify any faith.” Thus he suggested the time-worn Islamic apologetic that the Charlie Hebdo jihadists had no Islamic doctrinal basis. Although CAIR’s press release itself noted they were “shouting ‘God is great’ in Arabic” or Allahu Akbar, Islam’s Muhammad in CAIR’s understanding always “chose the path of kindness and reconciliation” when faced with “personal attacks.” Such hagiography of an often brutal “warrior prophet” overlooks well-established Islamic doctrine demanding the death penalty for blasphemy, as manifested in numerous incidents over the decades.
Awad advocated “instead to marginalize extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions.” Awad therefore implicitly equated murderous jihadists with their free-speaking victims, the latter being “extremists” in their own way who “widen societal divisions” with criticism of Islam. Indeed, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper described in an email the “twin extremes of ISIS-type extremists and anti-Muslim bigots.” Hooper added in an interview that while CAIR members “are big supporters of the First Amendment and free expression . . . just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you have to.”
“Unfortunately,” Awad elaborated during a January 14 CAIR press conference, “we find ourselves, time and again, years after years, in the same position without any progress.” To “defend the right for someone to speak their mind” while being “not willing to respect the feelings of almost two billion” Muslims worldwide showed a “serious lack of balance.” Awad thereby equated an invented right not to be offended with the vital human right of free speech. “Our priorities are so messed up as a global community,” the Muslim Awad imperiously asserted for the world’s non-Muslims.
“The world is a global village,” Awad continued, whose “nature and reality” is “diversity of opinion . . . of cultures . . . of religions.” Therefore “we cannot impose our values on any culture” but must have “peaceful coexistence” and “mutual respect.” These Soviet-sounding terms precluded for Awad any expression of “diversity” offensive to Muslims.
The Charlie Hebdo attacks incited Awad not to rally around free speech under jihadist assault, but rather to seek greater non-Muslim “unity” with supposedly misunderstood Muslims. The jihadists “intended to divide” and “will win if we start to talk at each other instead of talking to each other,” an assertion buttressing Awad’s insinuation that concern for Muslim sentiments should entail non-Muslim deference in the future. “We cannot allow ourselves to become victims of extremists on both sides,” Awad continued his victim-perpetrator equivalence.
Speech by Charlie Hebdo and others allowed a “tiny minority” of a “few extremists who claimed to be Muslims” to recruit terrorists with the argument that the “West is against” and “offensive to Islam,” Awad warned. This veiled threat demanding non-Muslim self-censorship or else, however, contradicted Awad’s manifestly false assertion that the “overwhelming majority of Muslims” consider “freedom of speech” a “cornerstone of our faith.” “Muslims around the world” had “condemned universally” the Charlie Hebdo attacks and usually “don’t take to the streets . . . don’t take violence” when confronted with criticism of Islam in Awad’s alternative reality. That “Muslims are inherently violent” is merely “bigoted” and a “myth that unfortunately is predominant, especially in Western media.”
On January 14, Sahar Alsahlani from CAIR’s New York chapter claimed in an interview that “violence against a non-aggressor is completely against our religious principles” without specifying Islam’s often broad definition of aggression. Alsahlani reiterated the incomplete CAIR view of a Muhammad who always “chose to walk away” from insult. Muslims, one fifth of humanity, appeared in her optimistic view as “active, productive members of society,” violence and crises afflicting Muslim countries notwithstanding.
“Any attack on any religious figure offends me,” Alsahlani meanwhile said of Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, or others, while not explaining the mutually contradictory understanding of these individuals in various faiths. “Any act of slander is unacceptable to me,” she added absent any indication of how Charlie Hebdo or others had defamed Muhammad. With “freedom of speech comes great responsibility,” Alsahlani intoned. “The media has the responsibility to bring people together and to inform people,” she asserted as if media members had to forswear partisanship and knowledge always increased harmony. Sarwat Husain of CAIR-San Antonio likewise stated on January 15 that “even with the First Amendment, there are certain lines which you should not cross” and rejected “that you should make your life out of poking fun on others,” satire’s basic raison d’être.
CAIR therefore demonstrates that law and a societal cajoling can supply “soft power” jihad where “hard power” lethal methods are inopportune. Indeed, “moderate” CAIR’s warnings of violence can operate in tandem with “radical” terrorists in a previously noted “good cop/bad cop” routine demanding submission. Faced with such stealth jihad, freedom’s battles demand not just bullets, but the brain as well.