Dhimmitude and Cowardice at Time

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November 2 marked the seventh anniversary of Theo van Gogh’s murder by a pious young Muslim on an Amsterdam street.  One of the memorable aspects of that history-making slaughter was the largely despicable way in which the media in the Netherlands and around the world covered it.  Many of the accounts of van Gogh’s butchering, which was motivated by his short film, Submission, about the plight of women under Islam, hinted – or even stated directly – that van Gogh had been asking for it. He had gone too far.  He had insulted Islam and offended Muslims.  What, after all, asked one editorial after another, had he expected when he made Submission? He should have known what he was getting into.  Freedom of expression was one thing, but giving needless offense to a billion and a half members of a religion?  That was just plain over the line.  Not sensible.  Not prudent.  Yes, van Gogh was – in his own country, at least – a famous contrarian, an iconoclast, accustomed to going after sacred cows across the political and cultural spectrum with all the gusto and irreverence he could muster.  But to make a film that he had to know would outrage devout Muslims and put him in danger of being killed?  Well, that was just stupid.  Almost parenthetically, many of the editorialists acknowledged that there was no excuse for the murder.  But their hearts weren’t in this rote qualification.  They were out to condemn not the murderer, but the victim, who, in their eyes, has brought it all on himself.

Cut to November 2, 2011.  The Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly, are totally destroyed by a firebombing.  The motive seems clear.  The magazine’s newest issue, in response to the electoral victory of an Islamic party in the Tunisian elections, trains its mockery on Islam.  There are cartoons, jokes, parody articles.  The premise of the issue, dubbed Sharia Hebdo, is that its guest editor is the Prophet Muhammed himself.  Like van Gogh, Charlie Hebdo practices equal-opportunity parody, and over the years has cracked its share of jokes at the expense of Christians, Jews, and pretty much everybody else.  But also as in the case of van Gogh, it is apparently Charlie Hebdo‘s lack of reverence toward Islam that made it a target of violence.

And just as with van Gogh, the bombing of Charlie Hebdo‘s offices has brought out some of the most cowardly voices in the Western media, once again eager to blame the victim and to preach about the supposed “abuse” of free speech.  No, not everyone in the media has taken this line.  The major French papers that I’ve looked at online have stood shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues at Charlie Hebdo in the name of freedom of speech.  But other European media have been conspicuously silent.  And still others have fulfilled one’s lowest expectations.  In the Guardian, Pierre Haski managed to blame the firebombing on the alleged fact that Muslims in France “feel discriminated against and unwelcome,” noting that “Claude Guéant, President Sarkozy’s minister of interior and right-hand man, even called the growing Muslim population a ‘problem’ for France.”  “Problem,” of course, is putting it very mildly, but it’s still not euphemistic enough, apparently, for the Guardianistas.  Haski went on to “explain” that If many Muslims in France are, shall we say, a bit too enthusiastic about their religion, it is because that religion “has become a cultural identity, a refuge in a troubled society where they don’t feel accepted.”  Nor did Haski neglect to drag in the nonsensical contemporary cliché that Muslims, in Europe, are today’s Jews – as if European Jews spent the 1930s murdering filmmakers and firebombing magazine offices.

But for first-class dhimmitude in this instance, first prize has to go to Bruce Crumley of Time.  In a piece that was described in online reader comments as “abject,” “pathetic,” “loathsome,” “a disgusting, shameful, hypocritical apology,” “the single stupidest thing I’ve read all year,” “the most asinine article ever posted on TIME,” and “the worst thing I’ve seen written in a long time,” Crumley, the newsmagazine’s Paris editor, started off with his own series of harsh adjectives:

Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and destructive efforts by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait Muslim members with petulant, futile demonstrations that “they” aren’t going to tell “us” what can and can’t be done in free societies? Because not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?

Crumley went on to describe the Islam issue of Charlie Hebdo as “coarse and heavy-handed” and as “another stupid and totally unnecessary edition mocking Islam.”

Idiotic, divisive, destructive, petulant, futile, futile again, childish, coarse, heavy-handed, stupid: Crumley is talking about a humor magazine here.  And let it be recalled that we live in a time when mainstream humor in the Western world knows virtually no boundaries.  The Simpsons has been making jokes about every aspect of American culture for two decades. The Family Guy features a pet dog who has sex with women.  South Park has left no target unshot-at (though when it included Muhammed in an episode, Comedy Central’s censors stepped in).  Sasha Baron Cohen’s movies Borat and Brüno are virtually encyclopedic exercises in the ridicule of red-state America, including its religion.  At present the South Park guys have a hit show on Broadway, The Book of Mormon, that milks laughs at the expense of Mormonism.  On TV roasts, comedians like Gilbert Gottfried and Jeffrey Ross tell Holocaust jokes.

Some of all this stuff is hilarious, some of it isn’t funny at all.  Every now and then a spokesperson for some religion complains (or, at worst, as in the case of the Scientologists, who got miffed over a South Park episode about them, starts a sinister-sounding “investigation”).  But nobody’s firebombing anybody over any of this humor, funny or unfunny, however close to the bone it may get – unless the target of the humor is Islam.  And nobody’s writing articles in major media organs tearing the humorists apart for “creating…division” and “tempting belligerent reaction” – unless, again, the topic is Islam.  When The Book of Mormon came out, Time ran an affectionate profile of the creators and noted without any apparent concern that “the show makes mild fun of the wackier elements of the Mormon creation story.”  One eagerly awaits a reference in Time to the “wackier elements” of Muslim theology.

Crumley was candid about his inability “to have much sympathy” for the people at Charlie Hebdo – fellow journalists, mind you, whose offices had been destroyed and who would almost certainly have ended up dead if they’d been there at the time.  “Predictably,” Crumley wrote, “the strike unleashed a torrent of unqualified condemnation from French politicians, many of whom called the burning of the notoriously impertinent paper as [sic] ‘an attack on democracy by its enemies.’”  Crumley rejected this reading of the situation, in a paragraph that I hope he will one day smarten up enough to be embarrassed to have written:

We, by contrast [Crumley is apparently using the royal “we” here, unless he has been given permission to speak for everybody at Time], have another reaction to the firebombing: Sorry for your loss, Charlie, and there’s no justification of such an illegitimate response to your current edition. But do you still think the price you paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the logic of “because we can” was so worthwhile? If so, good luck with those charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring.

Crumley suggested that the firebombing was just “the kind of angry response – albeit in less destructive form – Charlie Hebdo was after in the first place. What was the point otherwise?”

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  • PatriotX

    Islam Untouchable

    This article was dead steel on target. “ISLAM UNTOUCHABLE!!!!”, seems to be the theme that’s forced down the throats of American the American people ever since 9-11. You could also see the same thing coming before with all the liberal-progressive thinking that was on the rise. Like a parellel universe with the reverse logic mentality of “punish the victim and appease to the criminal” we’ve backed ourselves into a serious corner. We have a choice to either turn around and bloody the nose of our current bully or continue to be cowed by him. We can either fight or damn all of our futures and those of our kids to the submission of this ideology.

    You can see this type of approach by criminal organizations all throughout the history of mankind. Jackasses, like the ones who wrote that article in Time Magazine, send out what seems to be a subliminal message of “Muslims are not responsible for what happens to you if you insult them”. This same type of message is broadcasted daily to all of us. Remember Terry Jones and the infamous Westboro Baptists (not a fan of either)? Terry Jones could have burned a Hindu idol, a statue of Buddha, the dead sea scrolls, the tora or a bible and not a word would have been said about it by Time or any of our lame stream media. Westboro baptists can protest at the funerals of those who have died for their right to protest and yell hateful vile comments at the mourning families, yet Terry is arrested for protesting in front of a mosque in Dearborn…hmmmm? Now, it could be argued that it was out of concern for his own safety but that too, raises an issue. You have to protect someone from protesting in front of a mosque? I guess freedom of speech only applies to those who want to protest against anything other than “UNTOUCHABLE ISLAM!!!” What’s wrong with this picture? I hear daily, blasephemous, anti-Christian, anti-semitic garbage from every comedian and celebraty and, as usual, not a so much as a hard look from newspapers like Time or news media like CNN yet if someone were to blaspheme Muhammad the pedophile, I’m sure it would receive world wide coverage. I especially find it amusing that these same news media reporters, who condemn those who have a SPINE to tell the truth about Islam, for inciting violence receive no blame at all. If it wasn’t for the fact that they broadcasted this all over the world to every lunatic extremist knucklehead, there would be no outrage. If they were so concerned about the spreading hatred, misunderstandings and apprehension about their Islamic allies, THEY WOULDN’T HELP SPREAD IT BY BROADCASTING IT!!! I’ve often said if it wasn’t for reporters their would be no terrorism.

    This sort of, journalistic jihad, is not something that is being forced on us liberal-progressives are willing doing it all by themselves. They are giving credibility and justification to these thugs who firebomb buisness establishments because, “waaaahhhh me don’t like you’re message!!!”. If your’e going to legitimize this, why not legitmize or justify every other terrorist incident before to include the Islamic crusades that everyone avoids covering in our indoctrination centers…..eh…uh…I”m sorry, school curriculums across the nation. They seem to have no problem covering the Christian crusades.

    This type of reverse logic just doesn’t apply to Islam. We as nation have become appeasers of evil. I still can’t believe that my son has to avoid wearing a red shirt to school because of some punk thug local gang members who use that color. Can we get any more lame!!!? Instead of pressuring the criminals to cease their activities our justice system, law enforcement and schools find it much more easier and convenient to restrict the freedoms of law abiding citizens. This is just one more avenue that liberal-progressive thinking opens the gateway for chaos and evil with the defeatist attitude of forcing those to adjust to the lifestyles of criminals instead of confronting the criminal. This sort of thinking have reached the furthest extremities of our society as a whole. The OWS mob of clowns have become so much of a nuisance, that some establishments and buisnesses have laid off employees because of all the unrest. Truly, truly, INFURIATING!!!!!

    Liberal cowardice is destroying us as a nation and as human beings.

    • Ken

      I could not have said it better!!! Bravo!!!

    • Free4500

      Insulting, mocking, degrading Islam or any other religion or group is a perfect test to see if that group is compatible with modern western values and laws. The response of Islam with death fatwas, "lawfare", murder, riots, church burnings, beheadings, is absolute PROOF that Islam is NOT compatible with Western society in any form. Muslims should not be allowed into ANY western country unless they somehow can certify they are real "Modern Muslims" who interpret the peaceful parts of the Koran in accordance with modern western principles, laws and values.
      The violent reaction of Muslims to insults should be taken, not as something really classy or noble, BUT…as a Warning Bell that this group is very, very dangerous. Their demands will only escalate. Today, one murder, one firebombing for a mere insult. What about in 5 or 10 or 20 years, when their huge families out breed the natives and then what? Firebombings of the homes of women that don't wear the Hijab? Or rape as is already done in Sweden and elsewhere? The Western world suffers from what may be a fatal case of Senile Liberalism. Our Elite have become so soft and foolish that the whole civilization will fall. Our "Elites" are our worst enemies. Their stupidity has almost guaranteed that our grand children (if we have any) will live under dictatorship.

  • radicalconservative

    We have no Time or Newsweek or US News and World Reports at any of our offices. All subscriptions were cancelled several years ago. Circulation plummets, but the MSM is impervious to market forces. Odd.

    • aspacia

      Yes, I too cancelled them five years ago.

      • myohmy

        I cancelled Time in 1980 when they chose the Ayatollah Khomeini as The Time "Man of the Year" and plastered his picture on their cover. Sure, the man who Carter allowed to return to Iran and seize all their OPEC assets to fund terrorism and then overrun our embassy and hold our troops hostage 444 days.

        • aspacia

          During the 1930's, they put Hitler's picture on the cover too. This does not bother me because they pick who is creating a huge influence. What caused me to change was there seditious lies about Wbya and Cheney. I did not vote for for them, but Time's libels were outrageous.

  • http://satanstrinity.com C"H"Martel

    My book, "Satan's Trinity: Hitler, Stalin & Muhammad, is available at http://satanstrinity.wordpress.com/ For the first time in history "HSM" appear together on a book cover. The idea behind the book is to make headway against the ludicrous idea that Muhammad should be conjoined with any religious leader/founder. This book uses the specific names of Hitler and Stalin to efficiently identify the nature of Muhammad and by extension Islam. It compares the personalities and approach of each man to such categories as; war, peace, sex, torture, slavery, women, their respective childhoods and deaths, the critical affects of geography and timing, each man’s anti-social and narcissistic personalities. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=CHMar

  • Spider

    Who cares what Time magaine thinks. They are headed for total irrevelency for reasons which this article points out very clearly. I haven't read the magazine in years since I realized it was filled with nothing but crap. They write this kind of nonsensical contrarian garbage just to get attention and make controversies out of nothing. I liken them to childish celebrities whos antics are devised just to get publicity and exposure.

  • StephenD

    Great job with this Mr. Bawer. When these "Rational" arguments are posited it is refreshing to hear a clear voice refute them. Thank you.

  • Raymond in DC

    "Charlie Hebdo practices equal-opportunity parody, and over the years has cracked its share of jokes at the expense of Christians, Jews, and pretty much everybody else."
    "The Simpsons has been making jokes about every aspect of American culture for two decades."

    Had Bawer not mentioned The Simpsons I would have, but he fails to note that The Simpsons has also avoided subjecting Muslims to the same critical humor everyone else gets. This was noted in a feature in Moment Magazine a few years ago called "Are the Simpsons Jewish?" in which the writers and creators admit to fearing a violent response if they did so.

    Muslims do appear in a single episode as new neighbors to the Simpsons. Homer discovers a cache of explosives in their garage. Seeing something, he says something, raising suspicions of terrorism. In the end, those suspicions were baseless as the Muslim father is … a demolition engineer, so *of course* he'd keep explosives at home! And Homer? Well, after himself setting off those explosives, he's deemed not just a lovable dolt any more but a prejudiced one. This is what happens when humorists go full dhimmi.

  • myohmy

    Wait a minute now….. I thought it was only "radical islam" we had to fear. But now we're being told when someone offends any pious, devout muslim's messenger or quran these so called "moderate muslims" have the right to firebomb or butcher and murder us??? It's to be expected? It's our own fault? After all, what's a muslim to do when someone insults his holy book or his holy messenger? OMG… the world has gone stark raving mad on us. We have leaders and important media morons telling us this is normal behavior and should be expected?? My ass it should. Islam is no religion, it's an evil and murderous cult that deserves to be exposed at every opportunity. And they give us countless opportunities to expose their savagery and uncivilized rules. F islam and everyone who practices it,.

  • jacob

    With all due respect to everybody, I guess what is happening to the whole Western
    world is that they are scared sht..less scared of Muslims…because THEY DO
    DELIVER and they are not full of hot air as WE are

    If the firebombing of Charlie Hebdo would have been answered by doing the same
    to a Muslim center, a mosque or the likes, then another song would have been
    sung but if the response is what has been reported and this crummy reporter of
    this other abject and rotten piece of media TIME is the same all over, it surprises
    me Musmims haven't overrun already the "govmts" of the European countries and
    even ours, they way they are working at right under our noses and our accursed
    "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" lets them get away even with murder

    • Arius

      The way it's going in Europe the muzzies will take over in Europe.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Religion inspired violence should not be tolerated in any fashion anywhere in the world. It is truly tragic when there is this type of violence. It is apparent that there is a tendency to not pass any negative judgment on Muslims in Europe when they do vioence in the name of Allah. All people need to answer for violence regardless of rifious background. I for one have heard enough of blaming victims for being the target of violence.

  • BS77

    Talk about dhimmis….did you see where the Cambridge MASS school district made the EID Muslim holiday a day off for all the students and teachers? Liberals are clueless idiots compulsively pushing the PC agenda past all rational limits.

    • rulieg

      wasn't it in Mass. also that a grade-school class was taken to a mosque and the kids–the boys only of course–participated in the worship? all without letting the parents know beforehand?

      yes, this world is going crazy…

  • macdaddy31

    I guess I would have the attitude … fine, you can't accept a society that allows free speech and equal opportunity fun-making, then get out and we will no longer let others of your mind in. You are incompatible with our society. You cannot have it both ways – assimilate to our cultural norms to a necessary degree or don't stay or come here. Going forward we will no longer accept you and we will no longer poke fun at you.

  • Choi

    The DAMNED LEFT and "Political Correctness".
    WHAT is "politically correct" about siding with Freedom's ENEMIES??!
    TRUE Political CORRECTNESS would be the opposite and always was until these LEFTY FREAKS' Hatred for America,Israel,and Western Freedom & Democracy was DEEMED,by the TREASONOUS LEFTY MEDIA on behalf of their IslamoNazi MASTERS,to be "PC".
    Up=Down in their world.

  • tagalog

    Why in the name of Heaven would Muslims in France “feel discriminated against and unwelcome?” What could it be that makes them feel that way?

    • Arius

      …their religion (so-called)…

  • myohmy

    The next time somebody tells you the vast majority of muslims are peace loving and moderate tell them to ask a "moderate muslim" what should happen to a person who insults islam, insults their messenger mohammed, makes jokes about mohammed, or what should happen to a muslim that rejects islam and joins a different religion? That's when the stoning, burning, and butchering begins EVEN FOR "MODERATE" MUSLIMS. So much for that lie. Then ask where in the quran is the moderate muslim promised paradise? NOT. Moderate muslims are not promised any reward like jihadis and martyrs are.

  • pagegl

    Crumley kind of makes Robert Spenser's case. I'm pretty sure that wasn't his intent, but that is the end effect.

  • No Dhimmi Tool

    Never have I been so appalled to be a liberal in all my life. These absolute idiots are frankly depraved, utterly lacking in morals.

    So, it's okay to bomb and terrorize, but it's not okay to stand up to the terrorism and bullying?

    What a disgrace.

    Maybe somebody should firebomb TIME – after all, they just offended millions of people who don't want to live in fear of Muslim nutjobs.

  • mrbean

    Get this book: Islam and Dhimitude: Where Civilizations Collide (Hardcover)
    Bat Ye'or, historian of the dhimmi (non-Muslim) peoples under Islam, has written a blockbuster. This is essential reading for anyone interested in Western-Muslim relations in the new century. It debunks a thousand myths, and takes the mask of a whole world of evidence which has previously been shut tight to outside inspection.

    • Arius

      I would recommend "Europe, Globalization, and the Coming Universal Caliphate" by Bat Ye'or as helping to understand the not so visible networks behind the dhimmi thinking in the Time article on the firebombing of the French newspaper.

  • Andy Gill

    Great, great article. Crumley symbolizes everything that's wrong with the liberal elite. Time should sack the dribbling emasculated idiot.

  • Ghostwriter

    Idiocy,thy name is Bob Crumley.

  • PhillipGaley

    Huh, . . . whadya know; I don't know where there is a subscription for Time, . . . maybe a library, somewhere, . . .