Most people don’t realize how much the freedom of speech has already been eroded. It is already taken for granted by all too many people that one must not criticize Islam, or Muhammad, or the Qur’an. Many people have internalized Sharia blasphemy norms. The wholesale condemnation of Pamela Geller, by people on the Right as well as the Left, after the jihad attack at our free speech event in Garland, Texas in May 2015 shows that far too many people do not understand the importance of the freedom of speech, and don’t have any interest in defending or preserving it.
This is the subject of our new American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) documentary film, Can’t We Talk About This? The Islamic Jihad Against Free Speech. Can’t We Talk About This? tells the whole horrifying story of how advanced the Islamic war on free speech is, and how close leftist and Islamic authoritarians are to final victory and the death of the freedom of speech and free society.
I helped write the film. AFDI President Pamela Geller, who produced it, explained in a statement: “In this film, we’re setting the record straight about our Garland free speech event, at which we were not only targeted by Islamic jihadis but apparently by the FBI as well. But we’re doing much more as well: we’re telling the whole, as-yet-untold truth about the war on free speech.”
Geller added: “Hollywood will never tell this story. The media will never tell this story. Our public schools and universities will never teach our children what happened. The truth must be told.”
Can’t We Talk About This? is a follow-up to our acclaimed 2011 documentary, The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9⁄11 Attacks. This much-needed new web series gives viewers the inside story of what happened in Garland and why, and lays out the full and appalling details of the all-out assault on the freedom of speech that is taking place today – and why this may be the most crucial battleground today in the war for the survival of the United States of America as a free republic.
The film also features seldom-seen news footage and revealing details not only of the Garland event and the jihad killers who wanted to wage jihad there, but also of the many other battlegrounds in the war for free speech that led up to the Garland attack, including the death fatwa issued in 1989 by the Islamic Republic of Iran against Salman Rushdie for his supposed blasphemy in The Satanic Verses; the assassination of Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim on an Amsterdam street in November 2004 for his alleged blasphemy; the Dutch newspaper Jyllands Posten’s cartoons of Muhammad, published in September 2005, which touched off international riots and killings by Muslims – and most disturbing of all, calls in the West for restrictions on the freedom of speech; the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s years-long struggle at the UN to compel the West to criminalize “incitement to religious hatred” (a euphemism for criticism of Islam); and the U.S. under Obama signing on to UNCHR Resolution 16⁄18, which calls on member states to work to restrict incitement to religious hatred.
Can’t We Talk About This? covers lesser-known skirmishes in the war against free speech as well, such as Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris’ “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” in 2010, after which Norris was forced to go into hiding and change her identity after threats. And it traces what immediately led up to the Garland event – most notably, the January 2015 massacre of Muhammad cartoonists at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris and the subsequent “Stand with the Prophet” event in Garland, at which Muslim groups gathered in the wake of that massacre not to defend free speech, but to complain about “Islamophobia,” while AFDI members and supporters protested outside.
Geller explained: “We set out the media firestorm that followed the Garland event, as well as the attempts to kill me, and explain why the event’s detractors were all missing the point: the freedom of speech doesn’t apply only if you like the message; it applies to everyone. And if it is gone, so is a free society.”