FP: Who issued the fatwa against Norris and why can the FBI not protect her?
Lugo: Anwar Al-Awlaki — radical jihadist imam who likely inspired the Fort Hood Shooter, the Times Square Bomber, and prompted a plot to kill U.S. soldiers — put Molly Norris on a hit-list calling her a prime target and saying that her “proper abode is hellfire.” Eight others of British, Dutch, and Swedish origin were also listed as targets associated with publicizing “blasphemous caricatures” of the prophet. The Seattle FBI special agent in charge never committed to offering protection but only “attempting to do everything in our power to assist the individuals on that list to effectively protect themselves and change their behavior to make themselves less of a target.” In other words, appease the terrorists and hope they will go bother somebody else! Of course, this policy of head-in-the sand only emboldens thugs and terrorists. Oh yeah, schoolyard bullies, too.
Call me cynical but I find it highly suspect that the headlines declaring that the FBI could not protect Molly Norris and announcing that she had “gone ghost” appeared just days after Pastor Jones was coerced into canceling his “burn the Koran” stunt (al-Awalaki put the hit out on her in July but the FBI did not announce its “no protection” stance until September). Seems the government had an emphatic statement to make: “when Islamists threaten violence, your government will press you to back down; if you don’t comply, you are on your own.” The timing of both events underscored a very powerful message from our government. This message was certainly noted more as a victory by the jihadists than it was ever noted by our commentators as a defeat for our liberty-based western democracy.
FP: How come the media is not talking about this? Where is the Left? Where is the ACLU? Progressives are supposed to be for free speech, no?
Lugo: Unlike the solidarity shown in the media and entertainment industry during the McCarthy era, there was no noted support for Molly Norris. Recently, I helped to spearhead the movement that successfully demanded release of U.S. journalist Roxana Saberi from Evin Prison in Iran. There were free speech and press organizations from around the world that rallied to her cause. There is a recognized fault line between the two incidents — where Roxana Saberi was imprisoned on a trumped up charge of purchasing alcohol and was considered an innocent captive of a radical Islamist regime, Norris is thought to have provoked her own death-by-forced-disappearance. Rather that shaming the Islamists for their attempts to control what is said and written in the land of the free and the home of the brave, journalists worldwide largely condemned Molly with their silence.
It concerns me most that so-called feminist groups worldwide ignore the plight of women who suffer abuse or repression under shariah-based systems. I work with several women’s rights groups in Europe and share nothing in common with them politically, but we are joined in our concern for women who do not have the freedom to express fundamental claims to unalienable equal rights and individual liberty. We work to encourage and embolden women who will call for reform of shariah-based Islam. As Ayann Hirsi Ali — the great ex-Muslim convert to enlightenment thinking who authored Infidel — says, if we all stand together and speak out at the same time, it is very difficult to make any one person a target.
Finally, it is important to note that, in an exemplary show of fidelity to expressive rights, the ACLU has stepped forward to represent Derek Fenton, the New Jersey transit worker who was fired after burning two pages of the Koran on 9/11 at the Ground Zero Mosque demonstration.
We all have a role and each must be involved as a vigilant defender against incursions against speech rights and core western traditions. If Europe, where challenges to Islamist demands are often considered incitement to hate, is not instructive on how we must define and defend our culture then the battle is already lost.
FP: Karen Lugo, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview and thank you for your courageous fight for freedom and for those who are persecuted because of their fight for freedom.
Editor’s note: For the whole story on why the Left won’t come to the defense of individuals such as Molly Norris, read Jamie Glazov’s book, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.
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