When it comes to the right to speak one’s mind about Islam, the record of the last few years makes it clear which direction the West is moving in. In France and Italy, Oriana Fallaci is put on trial for disparaging Islam. In Canada, Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant are hauled before “human rights commission” tribunals for criticizing Islam in print. In Australia, an Islamic organization sues two pastors for “vilification of Muslims.” In Britain, a Daily Telegraph columnist is arrested on charges of hate speech for having written negatively about Islam, and the Archbishop of Canterbury proposes that Parliament pass stronger laws against such speech acts. And in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, the head of the Freedom Party, which performed so well in the June 9 general elections that Wilders may end up in the governing coalition, still faces trial for having made a film about the Koranic foundations of terrorism.
So what is Bawer and his associates' thought crime?
Ever since its establishment in 2001, [HRS] has been despised by many people on the Norwegian left — the same folks who hate Israel and who feel warmly about Hamas. The two women who run HRS, Hege Storhaug and Rita Karlsen, have labored tirelessly against monstrous practices like honor killing, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation, and for doing so have won the lifelong gratitude of countless Muslim girls and women — but as far as their PC enemies are concerned, to condemn any aspect of Islam is to be an Islamophobe, pure and simple. Last summer, a couple of newspapers, the far-left Dagbladet and the Communist Klassekampen, waged a brutal and breathtakingly mendacious smear campaign against HRS, the obvious intent of which was to bring it down once and for all.
I agree with Thrutch who says: "The lesson, of course, is that the longer one waits to speak out, the harder it becomes to do so. So don't wait!"