Jonathan Swift’s modest proposal was to feed Irish children to the English. Nathan Lean’s modest proposal is to save Muslims from the scourge of Islamophobia by banning criticism of Islam. The difference is that Jonathan Swift was joking, but Nathan Lean is completely serious.
“The discourse of hate must be stopped,” Lean warns in a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed. And Robert Spencer has replied boldly and decisively to him in those same pages.
Indeed, the whole attempt to smear Geller and me with Breivik’s murders rests on several leaps of illogic and unstated assumptions. Even if Breivik’s views really were exactly the same as ours, would it therefore hold that if someone commits violence in the name of an idea, that idea is thereby discredited and must be driven out of the public discourse? In that case, precious few ideas would be left, since people at one time or another have committed violence in the name of virtually every cause under the sun.
In any case, if ideas that were deemed to lead to violence really were silenced, the proponents of a supposedly peaceful Islam that Lean is so anxious to protect and defend would be silenced as well.
You can see Robert Spencer’s entire reply at Jihad Watch. The logical point that he makes is that if Spencer is to be blamed for Breivik’s actions, then how can the Koran not be blamed for the actions of Mohammed Atta? If the mere act of citing something is proof positive that it must be banned, then the Koran must be banned along with Robert Spencer’s “The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran.”
While blasphemy laws may outlaw criticism of Islam in Muslim countries, in Western nations, if Muslims want freedom of speech then they will also have to accept the freedom of speech of others.