This entire guilt by association campaign is extremely disturbing to us at the Legal Project at the MEF. Maligning one side of the debate here does not empower or enable an unfettered dialogue on Islam-related topics. Instead, it shuts it down. In addition, this guilt by association campaign against the counterjihadis is also not a particularly persuasive argument.
- The claim that various counterjihadhis “fostered” the Norway attack seems, in some cases, to be impossible, and in other cases, just extremely unlikely. As Robert Spencer has pointed out, according to Breivik’s own manifesto, Breivik chose to turn to violence way back in the 90’s, before Spencer, or many of the other counterjihadis, were blogging, or were famous for their blogging about Islam-related issues.
- To accuse someone of fostering the violence of another person, or of being dangerously similar to a violent individual, would seem to require that the person either: 1) writes specifically, or, by implication, in favor of violent action, or 2) writes or implies that non-violent action on this topic is useless. Yet, few of the counterjihadis smeared have come out in favor of violence.
- Another problem with accusing the counterjihadis of fostering the Norway attacks, or of being fellow travelers with Breivik, is that this starts a ridiculous precedent. In the manifesto, Breivik linked to the writings of a diverse group of authors that also included such figures as Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Naomi Klein, Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, and Mohatma Gandhi. Are all of these people also to blame for fostering his violence, or for being fellow travelers of Anders Breivik? Of particular note, there is former President John F. Kennedy, whom Brevik quotes as saying, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” (Breivik’s Manifesto, Pg. 559) Did this quote prompt Brevik’s decision to turn to violence?
It is unfortunate that many in the Western elite media are so resistant to having an honest discussion about Islam-related topics. But they are certainly entitled to avoid such a debate. What they are not entitled to do, however, is to use the terrorist attack in Norway as a way to stop this discussion. And that is exactly what they are trying to do now.
Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law. Visit legal-project.org.
To get the whole story on why the Left silences criticism of our totalitarian enemies, read Jamie Glazov’s book, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.
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