Pavlich: Will we cower in the face of terror?

Pavlich: Will we cower in the face of terror?

Last week’s horrific Islamic terror attack on satirist magazine Charlie Hebdo was a harsh reminder of the long-waged jihad against free speech. 

Charlie Hebdo’s fate began years after the initial Islamic sin committed by a Danish newspaper that published cartoons portraying and mocking the Prophet Muhammad. It is well known that Charlie Hebdo published those same cartoons in solidarity with its Danish friends, sending a message that the “religion of peace” would not intimidate it. 

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“I’d rather die standing up than live on my knees,” Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Stéphane Charbonnier once said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper about his bold approach. 

The editors and cartoonists at the magazine were willing to risk it all to write and draw freely, eventually paying the ultimate price with their lives. 

Unfortunately, Charlie Hebdo was hardly an isolated incident. Jihadis have been waging a war on free speech for decades, if not centuries, to avoid being exposed for their evil ways. Their war on freedom of expression and speech comes as a way to prevent those they indoctrinate, including small children, from seeing alternatives to hate, violence and death as they go through life. 

Over the summer, when Hamas was launching hundreds of rockets per day at Israeli civilians from Gaza, reporters working inside places like Gaza City were forced to either stay out, censor the material they produced or sneak raw footage outside of Gaza before publishing in order to avoid punishment or death. 

“The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month,” the Foreign Press Association said in an August 2014 statement. “In several cases, foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media.” 

Much of the footage reporters were afraid to show validated what Hamas was accused of but had been denying: launching rockets from schoolyards and hospitals and using children and civilians as human shields. 

During the same time period, journalist James Foley was beheaded on video by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq as a direct message to the United States and the free world. Shortly after his gruesome killing, ISIS did the same to journalist Steven Sotloff, who worked tirelessly to objectively report on the human condition in Syria. 

Meanwhile, just this week in Saudi Arabia, blogger Raif Badawi was given a brutal public flogging in front of hundreds of people for speaking out against Islam in a post online. The flogging will continue each week for the next five months. His sentence also includes 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a $266,000 fine. 

On American soil, human rights activist, Harvard Kennedy School fellow and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been blacklisted by universities and prevented from speaking thanks to heavy pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization with ties to Hamas and a non-indicted criminal co-conspirator in the Holy Land project. A laundry list of former CAIR officials have been convicted on federal charges related to Islamic terrorism. 

CAIR repeatedly and publicly calls Hirsi Ali’s critical view of Islam “hate speech” that should not be “confused with free speech.” It also labels her as an “Islamaphobe” and bigot worth censoring because of the content of the “hateful” things she says, discrediting her own personal hell of living under Islamic law. In April 2014, CAIR was successful in pressuring Brandeis University into withdrawing her invitation to deliver the commencement speech and to receive an honorary degree. 

“We welcome the recognition by Brandeis University that honoring an anti-Muslim bigot like Ayaan Hirsi Ali would amount to an endorsement of her hate-filled and extremist views,” CAIR released in a statement at the time. “We would like to thank all those who took part in the effort to expose Ali’s extremism and to convince the university to take corrective action.”

But while CAIR wants to shut Hirsi Ali up, those who align themselves with the same ideology as the so-called Muslim civil rights group want her dead. 

In 2004, Hirsi Ali made a film, “Submission,” about the oppression of women under Shariah law. That same year, her film director, Theo van Gogh, was gunned down in the streets of Amsterdam. A note with her name as the next target was pinned to his chest with a knife. 

The Jihadi war on free speech is real and it must be confronted and discussed, despite intimidation from terrorists and the activist groups that support them. Islamism is the enemy and free speech exposing the true evil of that enemy must be protected with full force. 

The question is, do we have the courage to do so? 

Pavlich is the news editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.