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07th-May-2015

Haters of Islam deserve punishment and get punished

By Editorial Desk

Counter terrorism officials on Tuesday were studying the electronic trails left by two men killed by a police officer as they shot at a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas, looking for any direct ties to the Islamic State extremist group in Syria. The group praised the gunmen in a statement as "soldiers of the caliphate," the unified Muslim land that it purports to be building, according to a New York Times report.
The event in question was a contest for the best cartoons depicting the prophet of Islam. It was framed by its organizer, Ms. Pamela Geller, as a defense of free speech. Some Muslims who believe that their faith prohibits images of the prophet saw it as an offensive provocation.
Geller claims that the attackers represent large numbers of American Muslims - as she puts it, "your everyday, run of the mill moderates praising mind-numbing savagery" - although her only evidence for that are a few Twitter accounts linked to ISIS, one of which may have belonged to one of the attackers, and none of which represent any American Muslims?
Ms Geller rarely lets facts get in the way of a good opportunity: After the attack, she didn't call for dialogue, for understanding, for bringing people together, which is what real leaders do. Instead, she went on Fox news and called it a war. And that appears to be what she wants. That's why she's dangerous, not brave. She's not celebrating hate speech forĀ  the sake of free speech, but to provoke reactions that polarize America, set people at odds, and alienate Muslims, who are American citizens and often first in line to report planned terrorist attacks. (American Muslims are allies, not enemies.)
Many people, know this -- not just American Muslims, who might be presumed to be partial. Anders Breivik, the Norwegian who killed dozens of fellow Norwegians and published a long, rambling tract justifying his murderous actions, cited Geller repeatedly to justify his terrorist actions. The UK's conservative, right-wing government even banned her from the kingdom (along with her colleague Robert Spencer). Because they know what the Southern Poverty Law Center knows: She's using one democratic value - the right to free speech, to subvert other democratic values - the right to protect the character of people - like religious leaders. If someone uploaded a denigrating photo of her on the internet - one can safely assume that she would call it a violation of her rights as a human being and sue the person involved.
Democracy requires free speech, but it also requires individual responsibility. People like Geller should realize that blasphemy is not a human right - it is rather a perversion, an intellectual debauchery of the ideals that surround free speech. Free speech is at the heart of what makes Western democracies work. So what happens when they clash? What happens when a person uses free speech to stigmatize an entire people?
Even though American Muslims condemn terrorism, allow provocation to terrorism by those people make fun of their Prophet. People like Geller take molehills and turn them into mountains - she compares the attack on her event as akin to the denigration of the Jews by the Nazis in a recent article she wrote for TIME Magazine - but the analogy is anything but appropriate as the Jews in no way challenged or attacked Nazism or its leaders. In the same article, she calls for free speech to be protected, but also calls for the intellectual elite to attack the so-called extremist ideology of Islam. In short, she is nothing if not vindictive and vacillating. It is people like these who increase cultural divides and strengthen them by playing on the emotions of those who have a 'us and them attitude'. They are the real terrorists - spreading real terror - attacking with barbed pens instead of swords.