Islam vs. Free Speech

by Jed Babbin

Under assault by Muslims and multiculturalists, free speech and freedom of the press are dead in Britain. The same sorts of people who killed them in Britain are killing them in Canada. They and their allies are using the British and Canadian courts and tribunals to bury our First Amendment rights in America.

Muslims — individually and in pressure groups — are using British libel laws and Canadian “human rights” laws to limit what is said about Islam, terrorists and the people in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere who are funding groups such as al-Queda. The cases of Rachel Ehrenfeld and Mark Steyn prove the point.

Dr. Ehrenfeld is a scholar and author of the book, “Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed, and How to Stop it.” In that book, Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz — a Saudi who is former head of the Saudi National Commercial Bank — and some of his family are described as having funded terrorism directly and indirectly.

Ehrenfeld is American, her book was written and published in America and she has no business or other ties to Britain. Under American law, the Brit courts would have no jurisdiction over her. But about two-dozen copies of her book were sold there through the internet. Bin Mahfouz sued her for libel in the Brit courts where the burden of proof is the opposite of what it is in US courts: the author has to prove that what is written is true, rather than the supposedly defamed person proving it is false.

Think about that for a moment. Under the US Constitution political writing — free speech — is almost unlimited. To gain a libel judgment a politician — or someone suspected of terrorist ties — would have to prove that the story or book was false. If that person were a public figure such as Mahfouz, in order to get a libel judgment he’d not only have to prove that what was written was false, he’d also have to prove it was published maliciously.

Those American laws and standards of proof protect political speech. The First Amendment is intended to protect political speech that people find objectionable. In the landmark 1969 case of Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court overturned an Ohio statute which would have outlawed hate speech by the Ku Klux Klan. That’s why Mahfouz sued in Britain, not here.

Ehrenfeld refused to fight the case, saying the Brit courts have no jurisdiction over her. Mahfouz got a default judgment against her for ?10,000 (for himself, and in equal amounts for his sons). The judgment also requires that there be no further “defamatory” statements published in England and Wales.

In a letter published in the Spectator on November 21, bin Mahfouz’s lawyers gloated over their victory against Ehrenfeld: “Rather than check her facts, defend her statements in open court, or acknowledge her mistakes, Ehrenfeld hides behind a claim to free speech. Thank goodness, the legal lights remain on in Britain to expose such harmful journalism.”

“Harmful journalism” is what tyrants and despots call free speech, especially political speech that condemns their affronts to freedom. The “legal lights” Mahfouz’s lawyers see is the bonfire they made of the Magna Carta. Thanks to Mahfouz and his ilk, the light of free speech is extinguished in Britain. Consider the fate of the book, “Alms for Jihad.”

In 2006 Cambridge University press published “Alms for Jihad.” It’s a highly detailed and apparently well-researched book that documents Saudi funding of terrorist groups (as well as other funding and the network of Islamic “charities” that contribute to terrorism). “Alms for Jihad” — like Ehrenfeld’s book — documents bin Mahfouz’s funding ties to terrorism, including to Usama bin Laden. But “Alms”– in settlement of a libel suit by bin Mahfouz in the Brit courts — was withdrawn from stores and libraries and unsold copies destroyed. The Saudi book burners won.

Mahfouz’s case against Ehrenfeld has already done enormous harm in the US. Ehrenfeld told me she’s unable to get book publishers to contract for another book. She said all of the major US publishing houses have turned down a book on the Muslim Brotherhood — thought to have substantial terrorist ties — and the Saudis’ involvement in funding it.

If what Ehrenfeld writes about the Brotherhood offends Mahfouz or someone else whose ties to terrorism ought to be exposed, sales could be banned not only in Britain but in the entire European Union and the publisher — and the author — made liable for damages. Mahfouz — using British courts that have no jurisdiction over American authors — has apparently precluded Ehrenfeld from writing another book. Steyn’s case is another instance of Muslims trying to silence “harmful journalism.”

Mark Steyn’s superb book, “America Alone”, makes two important points: first, that the Muslim baby boom around the world will likely result in Christian nations becoming Muslim by weight of demographics; and second that Islam is a political system, not just a religion:

    So it’s not merely that there’s a global jihad lurking within this religion, but that the religion itself is a political project and, in fact, an imperial project in a way that modern Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism are not. Furthermore, this particular religion is historically a somewhat bloodthirsty faith in which whatever’s your bag violence-wise can almost certainly be justified.

Steyn’s stance — written by him and paralleled by other writers in the Canadian magazine, “Macleans” — is the subject of a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission brought by three Muslim law students in Canada, with the apparent support of the Canadian Islamic Conference. That group is similar to the CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is a multiculti kangaroo court. The complaint against Macleans will be adjudicated next year, and findings entered against the magazine. (Steyn told me that the CHRC has granted 100% of the petitions brought to it so far.) What then?

Fines and other sanctions will be entered against Macleans along with probable injunctions against further “harmful journalism” that offends Muslims. A case may be brought against Steyn himself later. Which means that he could be subjected to fines or other penalties in Canada for exercising his First Amendment rights in the US. And — because American publishers look to Canada for about 10% of their sales — Steyn may, like Ehrenfeld, find publishers unwilling to publish his work.

What has happened to Ehrenfeld and may happen to Steyn is in contravention of their First Amendment rights. No American court would or could do that. No foreign court or commission should be able to. US courts, and each of us who believes in free speech, must stand with both authors. US courts should make it clear that foreign libel judgments or “human rights” decisions that conflict with our First Amendment cannot be enforced.

Each and every presidential candidate should speak — loudly and clearly — against this encroachment of foreign law on the First Amendment. Anyone who doesn’t stand forthrightly against these foreign infringements on Americans’ Constitutional rights should receive neither our confidence nor our votes.
What Muslims such as Mahfouz and those complaining against Steyn are doing to destroy free speech overseas has been commenced here by groups such as CAIR. A few weeks ago, CAIR announced its media guide, which is purportedly corrects “misperceptions” about Islam and “…educate(s) the media and disabuse(s) journalists of misinformation.” But the other aspect — which I and others suspect — is that it’s not so much a guide as a set of rules against “harmful journalism.” And those who write about terrorism, Saudi Arabia and Islam will be accused of intolerance and racism should they violate them.

We don’t yet know what the CAIR guide says. I requested a copy of it from CAIR by e-mail, as they specified. I have neither received a copy nor received any response. I suspect CAIR wants to hide it from people who would scrutinize it. Having to operate under our Constitution, they will take a more indirect path than Mahfouz and the Canadian law students to preclude what they believe is “harmful journalism.”

Mr. Babbin is the editor of Human Events. He served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in President George H.W. Bush’s administration. He is the author of “In the Words of our Enemies”(Regnery,2007) and (with Edward Timperlake) of “Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States” (Regnery, 2006) and “Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe are Worse than You Think” (Regnery, 2004). E-mail him at

January 8, 2008 | 13 Comments »

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  1. Abbas, aka Mazen is total human scum! The idf should destroy. The US has been totally hypocritical on their, “war on terror.” They have invaded Iraq for what purpose? People who subsribe to the ridiculous religion of Islam are fucked! Worse are those who believe it is a religion of peace. It is very simple, if you kill me or my family then you should be destroyed!I believe in Hashem and I’m quite confident our lord would not want us to be lame sitting ducks. I have much contempt for Islam, espcially when they try to force Sharia down our throats. I will happily give them,”72″ virgins. For a fact, I live in Whistler BC, the Four Seasons hotel is owned in half by a Saudi sheik who drinks and spends money lavishly on stupid things while most of his people live in dire staights. If they accept this behaviour that’s fine. If they kill us for their pleasure, then we should exponetially return the favour!

  2. Andrew Bostom writes on the Hamas 1988 Covenant of hate

    part 1 and part 2

    Jihad is the other pillar of Hamas’ foundational Jew-annihilationist ideology featured in the 1988 Covenant. Once again, this is already suggested in the opening statement before the preamble which includes the following quote by Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: “Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it.” Hamas, it should be noted, claims to be a wing of the International Muslim Brotherhood. Article 2 of the Hamas Charter, for example, states: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organisation which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times.”

    But the body of theHamas Covenant includes unequivocal statements of Hamas’ irredentist commitment to the annihilation of Israel via jihad. Jihad martyrdom is lauded in article 8 “the Hamas slogan,” (in fact borrowed from the 1928 Charter of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood), which states, “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its Constitution; Jihad is its path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.” Article 13 makes plain that Hamas’ jihadism is completely incompatible with any meaningful Middle East peace settlement

    Please do take the time to read these two posts. It is necessary that we understand what Hamas stands for. The existence of Israel depends on it.

    We sleep soundly in our beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf

  3. For any interested: Here is a link to the: The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas

    Distinctiveness and Independence
    Article Six
    The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinct Palestinian movement that is loyal to Allah, adopts Islam as a way of life and works to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine. Under the wing of Islam, followers of other religions can all live safe and secure in their life, property and rights; whereas in the absence of Islam, discord arises, injustice spreads, corruption burgeons, and there are conflicts and wars. Allah bless the Muslim poet Muhammad Iqbal [6] who said:

    When faith is gone, there is no safety,
    And there is no life to him who has no religion.
    He who is content to live without religion
    Has taken death as a consort of life.
    The Universality of the Islamic Resistance Movement
    Article Seven
    Muslims who adopt the way of the Islamic Resistance Movement are found in all countries of the world, and act to support [the movement], to adopt its positions and to reinforce its jihad. Therefore, it is a world movement, and it is qualified for this [role] owing to the clarity of its ideology, the loftiness of its purpose and the exaltedness of its goals. It is on this basis that it should be regarded and evaluated; it is on this basis that its role should be recognized. Whoever denies its rights, refrains from helping it, becomes blind [to the truth] and makes an effort to blot out its role – he is like one who attempts to dispute with [divine] predestination. Whoever closes his eyes to the facts, intentionally or unintentionally, will eventually wake up [to find that] events have overtaken him and that the [weight of the] evidence has rendered him unable to justify his position. Precedence shall be given to those who those who come first [to the movement]. The iniquity of one’s own relatives is more painful to the soul than the blow of a sharp sword. [7]

    “We have revealed to you the Book in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it and guarding it. Judge between them according to what Allah has revealed, and follow not their capricious will, turning away from the truth that was revealed to you. To each among you Allah has appointed a law and a way. If Allah had so desired, he would have made you a single nation. However, he desired to test you in all that he had given you. So vie with one another in good works. It is to Allah that you shall all return, and He will then reveal to you [the truth] about the matters in which you differed.” (Koran 5:48)

    The Islamic Resistance Movement is one link in the chain of jihad in confronting the Zionist invasion. It is connected and linked to the [courageous] uprising of the martyr ‘Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam and his brethren the jihad fighters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the year 1936. It is further related and connected to another link, [namely] the jihad of the Palestinians, the efforts and jihad of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1948 war, and the jihad operations of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1968 and afterwards. Although these links are far apart, and although the continuity of jihad was interrupted by obstacles placed in the path of the jihad fighters by those who circle in the orbit of Zionism, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: “The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’ except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim).

    Hamas definition in Hebrew

    The Hebrew words used in Psalm 140 for Violent Men is Hamasim.
    When one looks up Violence in the R. Alcalay Complete Hebrew English Dictionary the Hebrew words Alimut, Paraetz, and Hamas are found.
    When looking from the Hebrew to the English the words translate as follows:
    Alimut – Violence, Terror, Terrorism
    Paraetz – breach, Gap, Trouble
    Hamas – to frighten, terrify, confound, stun, confuse, perplex.
    All of these definitions are from modern Hebrew. Biblical Hebrew is different in subtle but important ways from Modern Hebrew
    Wikipedia states that Hamas is an acronym of the Arabic phrase Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya or “Islamic Resistance Movement”. The word formed by the acronym corresponds to an Arabic word meaning “enthusiasm, fire, ardor, fervor, zeal, fanaticism”.

    From these things we can see a few truths.
    G-d does have a way of revealing truths in ways that are beyond human understanding. Is it possible that G-d was revealing who the men of violence would be latter days? It is a possibility.

  4. Larry:

    The real decision maker in the mideast is the U.S.- America deems the excessive deaths of Palestinian civilians as furthering the cause of Al Qaeda. Israel remains very constrained in its actions in Gaza because of this fact. All Israeli leaders both present and aspiring are very well aware of this reality. After 9/11, international terrorism rather than the Israel-Palestinian dispute is the U.S. main concern. That is why America is negotiating a behind the scene truce. And when America will eventually order a truce Israel will comply.

    Keep posting the same monotonic mantra over and over and maybe some of your stinking amoebic leftist group thinkers will continue to say amen. Since I have never seen any of your film work I can’t honestly comment on their quality but based on your acumen and knowledge of Israel, our reality and our general cultural mindset I would say stick to film making in the hopes that they are better quality than your limited understanding of Israel and international realities. Then Again, your work probably reflects your childish and very immature understanding of just about everything that relates to just about anything.

    This I believe is closer to our truths:

    Over-legalization curbed the army’s personal initiative. Why should anyone risk the prospect of facing humiliating commissions of inquiry, head-rolling, and a termination of one’s career? After all, any confrontation would lead to an inquiry anyway. No senior commander is willing to take such risk. The person who today controls the army is not the chief of staff, but rather, the attorney general.

    A restraint in the form of “human rights” organizations whose objective is not necessarily in Israel’s favor has been limiting the army in the past two decades. They fundraise abroad and make a living by harassing the army. Everyone knows those groups. With the High Court of Justice’s enforcement, it turns out that their effect in dwarfing the military was deterring, and even lethal.

    Israel’s public opinion views everything today through the prism of casualty figures – this is the only indication of military success or failure. The army does not wish to embark on war or a clash because it knows that a war exacts casualties. The army does not fear the enemy, but rather, it fears the mothers, the screaming talkbackers, the verdict of the street, and the journalists who view the dismissal of a general as a professional achievement. The mental privatization process undergone by Israeli society in the past decade, and not for the better. We see excess of individualism, whereby only the individual is of interest to us, rather than the State or the army.

    The chief of staff is aware of all of the above. He knows that sinking into Gaza’s refugee camps would again turn society against him and against the IDF. The army knows that it does not enjoy true backing on the home front, in today’s Israel where “I” rules and where social solidarity had been cast away. They fail to understand that today it’s Sderot, but tomorrow it will be Tel Aviv.

    A voracious media, zero tolerance for casualties, suicidal individualism, good people who leave the army because of its declining prestige, and the lawyers who lie in wait – these are the factors that prevent the IDF from operating. This is not about Hizbullah or Hamas. Today, the IDF does not look ahead in fear; rather, it looks back, to the home front, with much greater fear. Its gravest fear is to simply be left all alone.

    The IDF is no longer the “people’s army.” It is an army that fears the people.

    Israel habitually trades long-term radicalization for short-term security. There are many drawbacks to that approach (e.g. perpetuation of the conflict, damage to international reputation, existence as a garrison state). But short-term security, at least the appearance and attempt of it, guarantees internal political stability and thus the solidarity of Israel.

    Governments, especially democratic ones, cannot allow foreign intrusions to go unanswered. It’s Hobbesian premise of the social contract: liberty for security. Governments must provide security to their people to retain power. If Palestinians are firing rockets into Israel, the Israeli government must respond for fear that the Israeli people will replace them with a government that will. That is especially true in this case, with a state election occurring in Israel on 10 February. Hence the news today that Israeli action in Gaza was the result of “long-term preparation.”

    To Israelis, it’s better that we question the usefulness of their tactics rather than attempt to understand their political instability. There must be due diligence to any hostile action taken by Hamas, no matter the long-term cost. In short for Israel it boils down to narrow political interests and he survival politically of our politicians in seats of power. Rule at all costs seems to be the enduring motivation of most.

    If you disagree with me, Prove your point if you can, If you dare.

  5. But the present Israeli government has no will and no desire to win

    Comment by NormanF — January 1, 2009 @ 10:26 pm

    It’s not just the present Israeli government. This is the position of the West, as a whole. Western “intellectuals” and politicians have declared war to be illegal. To top that off, they have declared winning a war, if one is more powerful, to be immoral and deserving of national suicide. This is the West, today.

  6. NormanF:

    I agree with you, Max. But the present Israeli government has no will and no desire to win and if it does somehow topple Hamas it will simply hand over Gaza to the other group of terrorists led by Abu Mazen. It will change nothing. Both terrorist regimes would have to be removed to bring about security for Israel. But that is the last thing those who now lead Israel are prepared to do.

    The real decision maker in the mideast is the U.S.- America deems the excessive deaths of Palestinian civilians as furthering the cause of Al Qaeda. Israel remains very constrained in its actions in Gaza because of this fact. All Israeli leaders both present and aspiring are very well aware of this reality. After 9/11, international terrorism rather than the Israel-Palestinian dispute is the U.S. main concern. That is why America is negotiating a behind the scene truce. And when America will eventually order a truce Israel will comply.

  7. One of the many reasons why God commanded Joshua and the armies of Israel to wipe out all Canaanites was to avoid this kind of catastrophe. The Canaanites, like Hamas, Palestinians, Islamic Arabs, etc., have been nothing but a burden to Israel and it is my conviction that Israel should wipe the Middle Eastern map clean to be liberated. Because if Israel doesn’t wipe out Iran and all terrorist groups, they will certainly keep on trying to do it to Israel and my prayer support goes to Israel’s God and I vehemently reject the god of Rick Warren and Barack Obama – We can’t have PEACE without sobriety – PEACE is often preached in ignorance, rather than with intelligent thought.

    Israel has my sincere prayers during this difficult time and with a new terrorist moving into Washington D.C. this month, Israel will have to act alone and say goodbye to bowing to the will of the international community. Israel will have to fire Olmert and his cabinet and get some new leadership willing to defy all the nations who are united against Israel. Israel’s only choice for now is this:


  8. I agree with you, Max. But the present Israeli government has no will and no desire to win and if it does somehow topple Hamas it will simply hand over Gaza to the other group of terrorists led by Abu Mazen. It will change nothing. Both terrorist regimes would have to be removed to bring about security for Israel. But that is the last thing those who now lead Israel are prepared to do.

  9. Some people demand a war whose purpose is to overthrow Hamas, without considering the consequences; not only the lives of Israeli soldiers and civilians, as well as the lives of the enemy civilians, but also political and moral misdeeds. The government of Israel may turn the IDF’s casualties into the silver platter upon which the establishment of a Palestinian State is served.

    Yes, and if a squirrel sneezes somewhere you might get a cold. It was spoken in the true spirit of a trembling frightened old man with PTSD. Why are the Jewish People so afraid of winning and victory and why do they prefer the comfort of self-annihilation and defeat. I wish I could bring the dead from the Warsaw Uprising and attach them to you so you can properly earn their revulsion and disgust and never escape from it.

    There has been no war that Israel won that resulted in a Palestinian Ste, but losing these war s which certainly have been lost there will soon be no Israel. There are no misdeeds except holding back from winning.

    It is possible that a war is unavoidable.

    Is this guy kidding? Hey! Wake up there Mr, Sleepyhead! Mr. Rocket is coming on your head. Didn’t you listen to the Israeli Ambassador explaining it to the American children? There is a war on and people are dying and more will die , Get used to it. You can either die long and slow or fight bloody and quick and live.

    To conclude, perhaps tightening the siege would prevent a bloody war in the Gaza Strip. This is also the right way to free Gilad Shalit.

    If the good doctor’s name was Julius there would have been no Caesar’s in Rome. Time has come to cross the Rubicon, Julius. There is no time for a siege. There are two deadlines, one is military and the other is political. Neither deadline can accommodate a siege. Every day Hamas is free and alive to rocket Israel is victory and encouragement for the entire Jihadist world. Israel needs a bloody war in the Gaza strip, it needs as much blood as possible. it has to show it will be undeterred by blood, there cannot be a single Hamas combatant left alive that would dare be identified on the field or to a camera.

    Dr Breiman is in that class of impractical warrior-strategists that want to fight and win wars without fighting and without blood.
    It doesn’t happen.

    If you want real practical advice get it from an expert battlefield general.
    Speaking of Generals, where is General Ya’alon? He is needed by Israel right now. He is the one Olmert called a “jerk”. Get rid of Olmert and bring back Ya’alon and Israel may yet survive.

    The right way to free Gilad Shalit

    The right way is to exchange 10,000 dead Palestinian Terrorists for one live soldier.
    and offer the deal when they are already dead.
    It is not absurd, it is exactly what can be done.
    The next offer can be another 20,000 dead Palestinian terrorists.
    How many are in Israeli jails already convicted or terrorism? It is a waste of resources for a non-cooperative enemy. The next offer can also be to retroactively establish the death penalty for their crimes.

    The only thing the Israelis are missing is the will and the desire to win and to stay alive.
    The enemy has this. That’s why they are winning in spite of having limited resources. And everything they have can be taken away with one word.

  10. The right way to free Gilad Shalit

    Hizbollah captured two Jewish soldiers. The soldiers had been wounded in died in captivity. Hizbollah never told Israel and dangled their release before the Israeli politicians.

    France brokered a truce and “promised” that the captured soldiers would be released as part of the truce. Two years later, Hizbollah traded the decomposing bodies of the two dead Jewish soldiers for hundreds of live muslim savages held in Israeli prisons. Hizbollah has been laughing at the Jews ever since.

    Hamas has now held Gilad Shalit in prison for over two years. Israel has finally managed to get Hamas in a stranglehold.

    Israeli politicians should now be arrested and imprisoned if they allow a truce with Hamas without the prior release of Gilad Shalit.

  11. Dr. Breiman would favor wiping Hamas out as I do. However, doing that would result in Gaza being transferred from one terrorist group to another. That would be the worst possible outcome for Israel. It would change nothing. So I think its better to weaken Hamas to the point where its dependent on Israel for its day to day needs. That would be the ultimate humiliation inflicted upon the terror group. What one wants is a situation where Islamists have to cooperate with Israel to keep things livable in Gaza. That will weaken and undermine them far more than an occupation of Gaza would and it would force them to play by Israel’s rules. They try to smuggle in weapons or start firing rockets at Israel again – squeeze their lifeline shut. A combination of an intensified siege and the periodic application of military pressure will remind them of the rules. In short, a weak Hamas running Gaza is better than a strong Fatah running the place, all things being equal. With the kind of government Israel has now and will likely have in the foreseeable future, the most optimal outcome that can be obtained is to break Hamas but not to destroy it.

  12. Dr Breiman, well I guess Israel has taken action against Hamas after all. I just hope they dont go in Gaza with troops so fast…keep at it from the air. As for wiping out Hamas..that might be difficult assignment, but they began by killing the Rayyan leader of Hamas! It’s a small beginning..he wanted to be a myrtar..he was rewarded! Israel is in for a long war here…no more victorius short ones anymore…its a different type of tanks in the desert..but with missles from the air..the IAF can make life miserable for Hamas and their people in Gaza who voted them in.