As I noted earlier today here and here, Salman Rushdie, perhaps because he is a doctrinaire Leftist, makes people who otherwise do not oppose jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women think that it’s acceptable to do so. But while the New York Times and Rod Dreher of The American Conservative blithely ignore their previous Islamophilia and distaste for opposition to jihad terror and Sharia oppression, the execrable Cathy Young had the decency to own up to it, in the process of distancing her self from those people who do opposition to jihad terror and the defense of the freedom of speech all wrong, wrong, wrong, and are grubby evildoers all around. Cathy’s got it right, as she will explain. More below.
“The Salman Rushdie Attack and the Protection of Free Speech,” by Cathy Young, The Bulwark, August 15, 2022:
The horrific attack on British-American novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie, who was repeatedly stabbed and severely injured during an event on Friday at the famed cultural center in Chautauqua, New York, is all the more shocking because it stems from a death sentence issued by a religious fanatic more than thirty years ago and widely assumed to be obsolete. It’s as if a long-forgotten monster in a tale of horror awakened and emerged from its lair to make a deadly strike….
But the fact is that, as the Rushdie stabbing amply demonstrates, violent Islamist militancy hasn’t gone away.
It’s an uncomfortable subject for many people because it can easily lend itself to blanket attacks on Islam and general Muslim-bashing of the kind propagated by far-right figures like Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, or David Horowitz, embraced by many mainstream conservatives during the “Ground Zero mosque” controversy in 2010, relentlessly flogged by Breitbart News, and championed by Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election (and beyond). It should be noted, by the way, that it’s a stance Rushdie has never embraced, despite having a far more valid grievance against Islamist extremism than any of the Muslim-bashers.
Here is my rebuttal to her Reason piece linked above at my name, and here is the response of Pamela Geller and me to her Daily Beast piece, linked above at Pamela Geller’s name.
Anyway, the “far-right” business is just a smear. Those who use it want to imply that their targets slip on the jackboots and go goose-stepping in their spare time, but now that the establishment media has decided that virtually everyone to the right of Fidel Castro is “far right,” it has lost a lot of the sting it used to have. So on that, Cathy Young is graded with a big ho-hum, unless she can be the first to prove conclusively that defending a free republic and a pluralistic society with non-establishment of religion is “far right.”
As for “blanket attacks on Islam,” Cathy Young wants to draw a distinction between Islam itself, which she would have us believe is entirely benign, and “Islamist extremism,” which is bad, very bad. But can Cathy Young explain what the difference between the two is, and identify exactly where that difference is found? Can she elucidate for us precisely where I go wrong in ascribing to Islam proper what belongs not to it, but to “Islamist extremism”? Can Cathy Young show us how the Qur’an and Sunnah teach peace, and how the “extremists” have “hijacked” their teachings in order to hoodwink young Muslims into thinking that committing violence against unbelievers is a sacred act?
Of course she can do none of this. Cathy Young doesn’t know the first foggiest thing about Islam or what its core texts teach. She just knows that to find some issue with Islam itself is something that has been declared unacceptable in the circles she runs in, and where would she be if she stops getting invited to the good parties? Cathy Young is by no means alone in this. Virtually all of those who accuse others of “Islamophobia” and affirm that Islam is peaceful, but has been hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists are not speaking from their own knowledge or conviction. They’re just reflecting the groupthink that will allow them entrée into polite circles. The canniest thing that the purveyors of the Big Lie about Islam being peaceful did was ostracize and demonize those who told the truth; that made all the sheep fall into line, with Cathy Young one of the foremost among them.
So why does anyone take her seriously as an independent thinker, when she is exactly the opposite of one?
One last thing: why is Rushdie have a “far more valid grievance against Islamist extremism than any of the Muslim-bashers”? Iran wants him dead; ISIS tried to kill us. Is Iran more “valid” than ISIS? Must one have had a personal experience of Islamic jihad in order to oppose it? If being attacked by jihadis is required for a “valid grievance,” I have one, and Cathy Young is aware of it, as she attacked me right after the jihadis did. But my work doesn’t depend on that attack. It has been devoted to exposing the contents of Islamic texts and teachings and thereby illuminating the jihadi mindset. Do those texts and teachings change if someone has been attacked? Once again, Cathy Young demonstrates that she is hopelessly muddled.