On October 22, 2005, the France 2 television talk show Tout le Monde en Parle aired an interview with writer Salman Rushdie and French actor and Islamist Sami Nacéri. Left on the cutting room floor was an ugly incident during taping when Nacéri accused Rushdie of debasing Islam. If an imam asked him to kill Rushdie, Nacéri went on, he would himself shoot the bullet into Rushdie's head. He then pantomimed firing a gun at Rushdie.
Philippe Val, editor of the French left-wing weekly Charlie Hebdo, described the omitted segment in the November 2 issue of the magazine. French reaction was minimal. While some journalists debated whether celebrities made appropriate commentators, there was little discussion of France 2's decision to delete the offending segment.
On February 28, 2006, in response to Nacéri's threat, France 2's censorship, and the decision of several newspapers not to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, twelve prominent Muslim and non-Muslim intellectuals issued a manifesto first published on the French website Proche-Orient.info. The translation, replicated below, was later published in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. The willingness of prominent thinkers, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to stand together suggests that intellectuals recognize the totalitarian nature of Islamism and are determined not to cede terms of the societal debates to Islamists.
Read on for the full statement, which begins: "After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.
We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity, and secular values for all."
As leading news organizations in the U.S. criticize the use of the term "Islamofascism" (hat tip: The Corner), it becomes clearer to anyone with a brain that the word precisely describes the threat of these religious fanatics.
The term has angered many in the Muslim world, who see it as tarring their entire religion -- and everyone who practices it -- as fascists. I think it's despicable," Middle East expert Juan Cole says.
"Linking Islam… with a pejorative term such as fascism is extremely unfair. In fact, it is a form of racism."
Quite frankly, I am sick to death of hearing about muslim rage and muslim anger, especially since those emotions seem to be primarily directed against reality itself. How about a little Muslim reason? How about Muslim behavioral control?
It is time to call a spade a spade; and to call these Islamic fanatics the totalitarian thugs they are. I'm glad to see some prominent Islamic intellectuals do so.
One can only hope that the clueless western media will overcome its fear and submission in time to do some good in this war.
UPDATE: The Anchoress sees the same kind of fascist totalitarianism in the liberal left. It explains a lot, of course.