The assault on Charlie Hebdo ought to be a turning point in the debate about Islamism and Freedom of Speech. I Hope!
For God’s sake let’s start talking about what we can do about our times’ most dangerous totalitarian movement.
The Islamists call themselves Muslims, but this is not their most important aspect: The Islamic movement is first and foremost a militant political/ideological movement with all the characteristics of fascism. The Islamists are engaging in an armed fight for a state, in exactly the same way as the fascists, that seeks to concentrate all power, economic, religious, political and military in the hands of a small group of dictators.
Islamism has to be the most dangerous global, fascistic movement since German Nazism and Soviet Communism. The Islamists call themselves Muslims, Hitler and Stalin called themselves something different, but the similarities are far greater than the religious differences: Powerful men of rhetorical genius with diseased ideas about world domination are trying to whip up mass psychosis especially among young people.
Hitler lorded it over a state with a colossal military machine and was able to physically roll his armies across neighbouring countries’ borders. The Islamists do not yet possess the same military might but instead send their commandoes into the heart of the democratic world to create terror and thereby undermine their greatest enemy – democracy.
The Nazis wanted to wipe out the Jews, the handicapped and communists. The communists sought to exterminate people who thought differently to them. The Islamists wish to exterminate the unbelievers, in other words everybody else except themselves – the Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Atheists, Hindus and especially democratically minded Muslims.
In order to have a firm basis for discussion, we must agree that Islamists and Muslims are NOT the same. And we must stop calling out from our individual mountain tops and only listen to our own words.
The nationalists Pia Kjærsgaard & Co. are calling out from the highest mountain top, who based on fear of foreigners and Islamophobia are tarring all Muslims with the same fundamentalist brush. At the same time, this right wing lobby has almost usurped the monopoly for fighting for the fundamental in our democracy, i.e. the right to free speech regardless of whom one agrees with or makes fun of. And on that mountain top they have just been given more wind in their sails by Wednesday’s killings.
On the leftwing mountain top we find, the so-called tolerant left leaning intellectuals and culture radicals are shouting (in any case until last Wednesday) must now realise that the Islamists DO NOT belong to a weak religious minority who are to be defended against abuse. That wing has almost monopolised the right to talk about dialog and tolerance – and has not realised tolerance for fascism can only lead to disaster.
The right to free speech is worthless if it only applies to sensible and well mannered utterances and does not comprise abusive drawings and other extreme deeds directed against powerful religions and ideologies along with their dogmas and prophets.
Let us meet in the valley between the two mountain tops and start to talk: we who are still ready to help persecuted human beings fleeing from war-ridden lands and live peacefully together with people from other cultures, irrespective of their beliefs. And we, who will not allow freedom of speech to be limited and who will not accept that either satirists such as Kurt Westergaard or the staff at Charlie Hebdo or sensible Muslim voices such as those of Naser Khader and Yahya Hassan risk the death penalty for expressing themselves.
Indeed, let us guarantee freedom of speech for those we disagree with, so neither Pia Kjærsgaard nor Lars Hedegaard risk their lives for believing what they do.
Democratic Muslims are important partners in this debate. They need to help us clarify our terms by drawing a clear line between Muslims whose freedom of religion must naturally not be limited and the Islamists whose goal is a fascist state, wrapped in religious rhetoric.
Perhaps it will be difficult to entice the nationalists down from there respective mountain tops. In any case, after last Wednesday I hope that those on the left-wing summit will come down to us others and start talking about this life-threatening fundamentalism, which needs to be responded to by anything but tolerance and dialog.