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Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Karen Lugo, a professor at Chapman College, Chapman University School of Law.
FP: Karen Lugo, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Tell us about who Molly Norris is and why you are promoting the idea of a Molly Norris Day.
Lugo: Thanks Jamie.
I think that Molly Norris is the first high-value casualty in the campaign to Islamify America. And, we let them take her down without a whimper. Molly is the woman who off-handedly suggested that there be an “Everybody Draw Mohammad Cartoon Day.” She was surprised by the reaction as the idea caught on — worldwide. Pages devoted to the campaign popped up on Facebook and the Mohammad depictions multiplied. Evidently, westerners worldwide were quite anxious to rebel against the chill on speech accepted by publishers — and the project took on a life of its own. I posted several articles that chronicled the raging success of the idea, and my Facebook page was shut down for half of the “cartoon day.” Seems that the Islamist threats against Facebook were effective.
Ultimately, we are told that a fatwa was issued against Molly Norris and the FBI notified her that they could not protect her. So, she was instructed according to press reports to “go ghost.” Molly Norris is gone; same as dead. She is no longer with us. There is a talented cartoonist somewhere with a new name, new home, new community and new identity — but her name is no longer Molly Norris and she is totally cut off from the life she knew. As we all know, ghosts are supposed to pose no threats to cultural stability and Islamist sensibilities. But, I say — not so fast! Molly must live as inspiration in our cause to never accommodate threats of retaliation for exercising our fundamental liberties. She should be named the patron saint of Americans who refuse to sacrifice free speech and expression on the altar of political correctness.
FP: Why did our society let Islamists take Molly Norris down without a whimper? What has paralyzed us?
Lugo: Like the parable of the frog who is boiled to death by incremental warming of the water, our speech rights have been chilled one ice cube at a time. We now check our own speech; from fear both of social condemnation and Islamist reprisal. With every act of self-censorship, we diminish the potency of our most effective weapon in the war against radical Islam: forthright and frank speech.
Our expressive rights, whether drawing cartoons or publicly declaring that shariah law is on a collision course with our Constitution, are the most powerful tools we have to expose the false claims perpetrated by Wahhabists among us. Our cherished constitutional principles do not afford us many legal methods to deal with a subversive element that seeks to advance a stealth agenda. But ridicule and satire do provide the means to expose the consequences of piecemeal accommodation of this aggressive socio-political belief system. This is not about hate or hostility but is about provoking a long overdue debate.
This could-be-fatal tendency to self-censorship is in full manifestation on our college campuses. As an appointee to the California Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, I recently participated in a hearing on California state university campus speech rights. After listening to “the powers” from key administration staff, it was clear that students are informed that the right of one to “be free from harassment” is equal to the other’s right to “speak freely.” In other words, the expressive rights enshrined in our Constitution have now been formally subjected to what is considered by our courts to be the Heckler’s Veto: a group complains that government should silence or restrict the speech of one group so as to avoid offending the other group. This equal balancing of speech rights and group feelings results in free speech being held hostage to the most vocal whiners among us.
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