Robert Spencer Remarks for September 3 Rally in Berlin
I'm a bit ill and have thus reluctantly had to forgo my planned trip to Germany for a Freedom Party rally in Berlin on September 3. I am very sorry not to be able to be there, as I had been very much looking forward to standing with the great freedom fighters René Stadtkewitz, Geert Wilders, and Oskar Freysinger.
Here is the speech I had planned to give at the event:
Thank you. It is a great honor for me to be here in the company of René Stadtkewitz, Geert Wilders, and Oskar Freysinger. If humane values prevail in Europe, historians of our time will record that these three men were heroes of freedom, defenders of human rights, and warriors against tyranny and the oppression of the human spirit.
It is a great honor also for me to be in Berlin. This city has played central role in the twentieth century's struggles against totalitarian brutality, and I hope that under the leadership of the Freedom Party it will now become, as West Berlin was in the days of John F. Kennedy, a beacon of hope in a Europe that is again threatened by the darkness of authoritarianism, institutionalized inequality, and the extinguishing of the freedom of speech and the freedom of conscience.
I come to Berlin as a visitor, and there are so many things to see. I hope to have a chance while here to visit the New National Gallery, the home of so many world-historical works by Picasso, Edvard Munch, George Braque and Juan Gris and so many others. Tonight at the Berlin Philharmonic an orchestra from my country, the Philadelphia Orchestra, is performing works by Franz Liszt and Hector Berlioz. It would be good to be there, but it is more important to be there, because what we are doing here is making it possible for future concerts of great music to be held in that magnificent hall, and for that art gallery and others all across Europe to continue to be homes for the towering masterpieces of human achievement.
This is something that very few people grasp. Few people realize that the Sharia, Islamic law, forbids representational art and music. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, said: "Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance." He also said that "on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress."
Can you imagine believing in a God who not only did not inspire great composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, and Mendelssohn, but who says that to listen to the works of such men is an act of "ignorance" for which one will be punished -- indeed, tortured? Can you imagine believing in a God who will likewise torture people for creating and appreciating such monuments of human creativity as the Mona Lisa, Michelangelo's David, the Pieta, the Girl with the Pearl Earring, the Statue of Liberty, and the Great Buddha of Kamakura?
This is not just a question of religious beliefs. No one is forced to love great art or great music. It wouldn't matter to us what the believers in a God who hates art and music thought or did, were those believers not determined to force us to live in accord with their beliefs and perspectives. And yet they are. Just days ago an imam from the United States, the notorious Faisal Abdul Rauf of the Ground Zero Mosque initiative, said in a speech in Scotland that an essential element of the interweaving of Western and Islamic cultures that he hopes to bring about will have to be the incorporation of Sharia law into the legal systems of Europe and the U.S.
The incorporation of Sharia law into the legal systems of Europe and the U.S. This is a genuine endeavor -- Rauf is hardly the only Muslim or non-Muslim advancing it. And so today we have to ask: what would the incorporation of Sharia law into our legal systems mean for our own principles? What would it mean for our freedoms? What would it mean for our rights?
Sharia law denies the freedom of speech. It classifies any criticism of Islam as "blasphemy," punishable by death. That includes any honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings to justify hatred and violence. Under Sharia, such discussion would be against the law.
And we see how this idea is already advancing in Europe. Geert Wilders was put on trial in the Netherlands on what were essentially Sharia charges: offending Islam, offending Muslims. And how did he offend them? By telling the truth.
In Islamic law, telling the truth about Islam can get you killed. Also in the Netherlands, we saw this happen, with the murder of Theo van Gogh. Right now, the agents of Islamization, both Muslims and the multiculturalist Leftists who aid and abet their agenda, resort more often in the West to character assassination: warriors for freedom are demonized, vilified, smeared, and marginalized.
The mainstream media outlets that aid and abet this treatment probably don't realize that they are helping to advance Sharia, and in doing so, are hastening the death of the principles of free speech on which their craft is founded. But whether they realize it or not, that is exactly what they are doing.
Sharia forbids people from speaking critically about Islam. That means no voice of dissent, no voice of opposition, could be raised against the treatment of women as commodities, the institutionalized oppression of women and non-Muslims, the stoning of adulterers, the amputation of thieves' hands, the persistence of slavery, or any other element of Islamic law that outrages what are otherwise universally accepted notions of human rights.
If Rauf and his European counterparts get their wish and Sharia law is incorporated into the legal systems of Europe and the U.S., travesties of justice like the Wilders trial will become commonplace. One by one, all those who dare to point out that Islamic law is incompatible with Western freedoms in so many ways will be put on trial, and unlike Wilders they will not be acquitted. They will be silenced. And darkness will descend over both continents.
Remember also that in Islamic law, the freedom of conscience is extinguished. The great Lebanese statesmen Charles Malik saw this up close among Muslims in Lebanon. And so when he served as a rapporteur for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1947 and 1948, and helped draft the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he made sure that it contained a statement about the right to be free from coercion in matters of belief.
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."
One would think that would be a given, something taken for granted by all people. But Islamic countries protested against it and later drew up their down Declaration of Human Rights, in Cairo. The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights says that the sole arbiter of what rights human beings have is the Sharia, Islamic law. And Sharia makes the free exercise of one's conscience a capital offense. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, said, "If anyone changes his religion, kill him."
If the Imam Rauf and his counterparts in Europe get their wish, it will become a capital offense to leave Islam and convert to another religion, or to have no religion at all. Rauf insisted in his recent remarks in Scotland that no Muslim had any intention of bringing the penal code contained within Islamic law to the West, but in saying that he contradicted himself, denying his own words in his book Islam: A Sacred Law, in which he said: "And since a Shari'ah is understood as a law with God at its center, it is not possible in principle to limit the Shari'ah to some aspects of human life and leave out others."
Why should we believe Rauf when he says he will not bring these obnoxious and oppressive laws to Europe and America, when he himself has said that Sharia cannot be limited or divided? When he says he wants to bring Islamic law to Europe and America, we should take his words at face value. Remember that several years ago, Hani Ramadan, Tariq Ramadan's brother, called for the stoning of adulterers in Paris. He didn't think that there should be any limits to the introduction of Sharia in Europe.
And that stands to reason. If Muslims believe that the Sharia, including its penal code, is Allah's perfect and immutable law, why wouldn't they want to bring it to America and Europe? Neither Rauf nor any other Muslim leader can point to any form of Sharia that does not contain mandates for stoning, amputation, the oppression of women and non-Muslims, and the denial of the freedom of speech and the freedom of conscience. We're already seeing honor killings and female genital mutilation in Europe and in America. Why shouldn't the rest follow, when all of this is justified by Sharia?
For remember this also: the Imam Rauf's words were just the latest manifestation of Islam's expansionist imperative. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said, "Have no doubt... Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world." In the U.S., Omar Ahmad, the cofounder and longtime Board chairman of the influential Hamas-linked Muslim Brotherhood front group known as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has said that "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." The prominent American Muslim leader Siraj Wahhaj has said essentially the same thing: "If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate." And regarding Europe, the most influential Islamic cleric in the world today, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, said that "Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice," he was upset about the U.S. invasion of Malmö, Sweden.
And yet despite these clear statements of a will to conquer, and many others like them, our government and media elites are more in denial today than ever. In just eight days it will be ten years since my country was attacked by Islamic jihadists who explained, in writings they left behind, that they were committing mass murder in the name of Islam, inspired by the teachings of Islam, and in defense, as they saw it, of Islam. They struck the United States in service of their hope of destroying it, and ultimately imposing upon the U.S., the West and the world an Islamic government that would rule according to this Islamic law that denies the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and equality of rights for all people.
Yet ten years later, it is not only the height of political incorrectness to speak about the motives and goals of those who attacked the United States on that terrible day; it is explicitly against United States Government policy to look into such matters. The Obama administration hardly ever speaks of terrorism at all. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano famously said several years ago that she preferred to refer not to acts of "terrorism" but to "man-caused disasters," and has focused the DHS report on hunting so-called "right-wing extremists" rather than Islamic jihad terrorists.
Ten years after 9/11, we have a President of the United States who has communicated in numerous ways that the United States's new primary response to Islamic jihad terror is to redress what Muslims perceived as grievances. Barack Obama has even declared: "I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."
Obama's policies toward Islamic terrorism proceed consistently from the assumption that the conflict between the West and the Islamic world is entirely the West's fault, and that he can thus bring that conflict to an end by means of sufficiently generous overtures to the Islamic world. He has answered the question "Why do they hate us?" decisively by saying, in effect, "They hate us because of what we are doing to them." Might they hate us for reasons of their own, rooted in their own religious and cultural assumptions that are beyond our ability to affect or change? Barack Obama never considers that possibility.
The President has also warmly endorsed the "Arab Spring" uprising in Egypt. Contrary to the optimism with which the mainstream media has greeted it in the U.S., Egypt's "Arab Spring" is set to usher into power a Muslim Brotherhood regime that will ramp up the country's already virulent persecution of Christians, impose principles of Islamic law that will subject women and non-Muslims to institutionalized discrimination, and set Egypt on a path toward open war with Israel, a heroic nation on the front lines of the global jihad.
Such a regime in Egypt will be no friend of free people. And in its hostility to Europe and America, it will likely partner with the post-Gaddafi regime in Libya, which is almost certain to contain significant al-Qaeda elements. And for that we also have to thank Barack Obama, who rushed the U.S. into military action against Gaddafi without considering the likely nature of the regime that would replace him. Gaddafi was terrible, to be sure. His successors are almost certain to be worse.
Meanwhile, domestically Obama's Justice Department has joined lawsuits by Muslims demanding special accommodation in the workplace, forcing American businesses to change their longstanding practices and reinforcing the Islamic supremacist principle that wherever Islamic law and practice conflict with American law and practice, it is the latter that must give way.
The Obama administration has not only shown no interest in the Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) that are advancing its stated goal (according to a captured internal document) of "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house," but has even partnered with several of those organizations on more than one occasion. Obama even sent his close adviser Valerie Jarrett to be the keynote speaker at ISNA's national convention.
What could go wrong? After all, they say they're moderate!
And I know that the same kinds of things are happening, and worse, all over Europe.
Ten years after 9/11, the European Union and the U.S. Government are thoroughly compromised, and naively trying to appease the Islamic jihadists who have vowed to destroy both.
But all is not lost. We are still alive, we are still free. As long as we draw breath, we can still fight against subjugation and cruelty. We can still stand for freedom. Oskar Freysinger, Geert Wilders and René Stadtkewitz represent the hope of Europe to avoid the fate of all the other great cultures and civilizations that have succumbed to the boot of oppression and tyranny.
And I hope, I pray, that in the coming months and years many, many more people in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and all over Europe will wake up to what's at stake, will realize what is in danger of being lost, and join Stadkewitz, Freysinger, and Wilders in their great defense of freedom.
Our fight, as my colleague Pamela Geller has so memorably put it, is for art, music, and love.
Our fight is for a vision of civilization that allows for the human spirit to flower, not to be stifled, terrorized, threatened, and covered in a black shroud.
Our fight is for Beethoven, and Bach, and DaVinci, and Picasso, and Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and all the other artists who have expressed what is deepest within our souls. Our fight is for Charles Malik, the defender of the free conscience. Our fight is for Theo van Gogh, the defender of the rights of women.
Our fight is for a humane and just social order that has seldom been more imperiled, by a more dedicated and implacable foe. But in this great struggle we have resources that will bring us victory. We have the resources of the very elements of civilization that our foes deny. We have the nourishment to the human spirit that are brought to us by art and music, and even more importantly by our vision of what constitutes justice in society.
We have the greatest resource of all behind us: the truth. Any system that forbids the truth, as does Islamic law, is foredoomed. It may prevail in the short run. It may even prevail indefinitely over those whom it succeeds in cowing and terrorizing into never daring to question it. But it cannot and will not prevail over a determined, knowledgeable and free people.
And that is what we are. And that is what we will remain.
In declaring their independence from Great Britain, the founding fathers of the United States knew they faced a struggle, and in that struggle they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
Let us do no less. Our cause of freedom demands no less. The enemies of freedom are determined; let us be more determined. They are persistent; let us be more persistent. They are focused on their goal; let us be even more focused on stopping them from extinguishing everything that has made Europe and America great.
Let us prove to be worthy children of those who built our great civilization. Let us stand for freedom in this hour of darkness. Let us stand with René Stadtkewitz and all others who are fighting for freedom in Germany and around the world.
Let us stand together. We are free, and we will remain free.
We will never submit, never surrender.
We will never give up.
We will never give in.
Freedom forever! Thank you.