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The Freedom to be Silenced

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On September 17, 2012 @ 12:55 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 70 Comments

In March 1937, the State Department apologized on behalf of the United States to Adolf Hitler for comments made about him by the Mayor of New York City, Fiorello LaGuardia.

“In this country the right of freedom of speech is guaranteed by the constitution to every citizen and is cherished as a part of the national heritage,” James C. Dunn of the State Department said. “This however does not lessen the regret of the government when utterances either by private citizens or by public officials speaking in an individual capacity give offense to a government with which we have official relations. I very earnestly deprecate the utterances which have thus given offense to the German government. They do not represent the attitude of this government toward the German government.”

75 years later the great tradition of American diplomats apologizing to mass murderers for the American tradition of freedom of speech remains alive and well.

The first response from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was to apologize for “those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined in saying, “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”

Following the same script, Obama said, “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.  We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”

Even in the face of the brutal murders of its own people, the State Department was relentlessly holding to the line that freedom of speech must take a backseat to respect for Islam. As documented in Frank Gaffney’s pamphlet for the Freedom Center, “The Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama Administration,” the Obama Administration collaborated with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in its attack on freedom of speech by internationalizing Islamic blasphemy laws.

As discussed in, “The Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama Administration,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped the Organization of Islamic Cooperation assemble a blasphemy resolution that both Islamists and their Western useful idiots could agree on. Resolution 16/18 of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a body whose members consist primarily of repressive dictatorships, was a revised version of the OIC’s usual “Blasphemy against Islam” resolution ushered through with the support of Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration.

Resolution 16/18 criminalizes incitement to violence and some have already suggested that any act that is offensive to Muslims and can result in Muslim violence constitutes incitement to violence. Under this definition, Muslim mobs decide what speech is free and their actions will in retrospect lead to legal action against a writer, a cartoonist or a filmmaker for driving them to riot, burn and kill.

Hillary Clinton’s statements after the attacks reflect the language of Resolution 16/18, affirming an official distaste for blasphemy against Islam as part of America’s tradition of “religious tolerance.” Obama’s statement used similar language, thereby marginalizing freedom of speech by depicting it as a form of religious intolerance.

The shift to promoting blasphemy laws as a defense against religious intolerance is a form of civil rights judo, pitting one freedom against another. It is the sort of tactic that the left is expert at and it is being used to mainstream Islamic blasphemy laws in this country.

Blasphemy laws could not pass muster as religious law, but they can pass as laws in defense of religious freedom and they are already becoming accepted as a “common sense” response to Muslim violence. Islamists and their fellow travelers understand quite well that if they stage enough violent incidents, then there will be restrictions on the sort of speech that appears to cause them to behave violently.

To accuse the culture that is the victim of violence of incitement to violence against the perpetrators of the violence is willfully perverse, but it has nevertheless become commonplace in Europe and is crossing the cold depths of the Atlantic Ocean to the United States.

Criticizing the official government position, Mitt Romney has said that he thinks, “It’s a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values.” But freedom of speech is not a value that is valued by the State Department or by the Obama Administration. It is only valued by those who need their speech unrestricted, rather than by a government that looks forward to restricting the freedom of speech of its political enemies.

The response in Cairo was much plainer. In Tahrir Square a scrawl of graffiti read, “If your freedom of speech has no limits, may you accept our freedom of action.” That threat neatly summarizes the problem. Freedom of speech, like all freedoms, must be actively defended by those who genuinely believe in it. Those who do not believe in freedom of speech will retreat in the face of violence and terror.

The Obama Administration, which brought in the Muslim Brotherhood and called on Americans to modify their speech according to Islamic sensibilities, whose commitment to soft power is second to none, is now faced with the reality that miming respect for Muslim values will not keep the Muslim mob from its door.

As Romney has pointed out, this government must choose between defending American values and defending Muslim values. As the last week has shown… it cannot do both.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.


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