Freedom of speech? Come on, man! That’s so 1776. Nowadays we know better: anyone who offends Leftist sensibilities in any manner must be demonized, stigmatized, marginalized, and canceled so that “hate” and “misinformation” can have no foothold in our pristine existence. Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Carol Hefner has now run afoul of the guardians of acceptable opinion and is duly being thrown to the wolves. Her crime? Stating that some aspects of Islam foster “hate and oppression.” On Thursday, The Oklahoman duly moved in for the kill on Hefner’s political career.
Hefner, according to The Oklahoman’s Jana Hayes, “in Tuesday’s mayoral debate, made remarks about Islam that sparked an outcry from the local Muslim community.” In fact, “Hefner, 60, has a history of making racist and Islamophobic social media posts.” In those posts, we’re told, Hefner “called Islam an ‘evil culture’ and compared President Barack Obama to Hitler.”
Over the top? Sure. But this is racist only if any criticism of Obama is racist (and of course many Leftists have suggested just that). And as for “Islamophobic,” Hefner’s words come from her personal experience: “Hefner described her Lebanese family’s oppression from those practicing Islam….Her grandfathers, she said, wore cross tattoos on their hands and were denied food, clothing and housing because of their Christian status.”
That is true. Under Islamic law, Christians in the Islamic state must submit to the hegemony of the Muslims. They may not hold authority over a Muslim, so they’re relegated to the most menial jobs in society. They may not make public display of their religion and must wear clothing distinct from what the Muslims wear so that they are not greeted with the standard greeting, “Peace be upon you.” They may not build new churches or repair old ones and must accept a host of other humiliating and discriminatory regulations designed to ensure that they “feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29).
Hefner, with all this in her family history, explained: “It is a very negative culture, and it does things that are oppressive, and I don’t agree with that. It’s just like slavery, I don’t agree with it. It’s insipid, it should be eradicated from our culture, from our world. Unfortunately, it’s been here since the beginning of time, I don’t know how I personally am going to get rid of it, but I would like to have those conversations.”
Later she clarified her remarks: “Hate and oppression of all kinds is insipid and should be eradicated from our world,” and said that she meant “insidious,” not “insipid.” She said that it was “inaccurate” to “take her words as meaning any culture should be eradicated.” “All cultures make up our world,” said Hefner. “I believe in freedom of religion. Love (and) peace between all religions as well.”
Of course, this was not enough. The Oklahoman quoted Adam Soltani, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): “Muslims in Oklahoma are no strangers to attacks on our faith. It pains Oklahoma Muslims deeply to hear these words in the largest city in our state and a place that Muslims call home.” Soltani apparently said nothing about whether or not what Hefner said about life for Christians in Lebanon was true, and Jana Hayes almost certainly didn’t ask. Nor did she bother to inform her hapless readers about CAIR’s unsavory ties and opposition to counterterror initiatives all over the country.
Soltani said that CAIR planned to try to get a meeting with Hefner. “We believe very much in the power of communicating and building bridges regardless of differing views, therefore if Carol would be willing to meet with us we would gladly host her and treat her with the utmost respect and compassion.” In this connection, it is useful to remember the words of the towering twentieth-century Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb: “The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah [the society of unbelievers] is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.” Dialogue, in other words, is a means of dawah, Islamic proselytizing, not a genuine discussion or exchange.
Anyway, a thought experiment: what if Carol Hefner had criticized Christianity in exactly the same terms? Would this article shaming her have been written, complete with more-in-sadness-than-in-anger self-righteous victimhood posturing from local Christian leaders? Of course not. Instead, Hefner would be celebrated as “edgy” and “courageous,” as an “outspoken,” no-nonsense candidate who represented Oklahoma City’s new “diversity.” The double standard is flagrant and absolute.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.