Let’s be clear: The great freak-out over Pamela Geller’s “draw Muhammad” contest isn’t about love for Islam or for robust and respectful religious pluralism. Indeed, many of those expressing anguish over blasphemy against Islam show no such concern over even the most vile attacks on the Christian faith. Beyond that, they’re among the leaders in movements designed to banish religious liberty — including Muslim religious liberty — to the margins of American life.
Instead, the fury against Pamela Geller is motivated mostly by fear — by the understanding that there are indeed many, many Muslims who believe that blasphemy should be punished with death, and who put that belief into practice. It’s motivated by the fear that our alliances with even “friendly” Muslim states and “allied” Muslim militias are so fragile that something so insignificant as a cartoon would drive them either to neutrality or straight into the arms of ISIS.
That’s why even the military brass will do something so unusual as call a fringe pastor of a tiny little church to beg him not to post a YouTube video. That’s why the president of the United States — ostensibly the most powerful man in the world — willpersonally appeal to that same pastor not to burn a Koran. They know that hundreds of millions of Muslims are not “moderate” by any reasonable definition of that word, and they will,in fact, allow themselves to be provoked by even the most insignificant and small-scale act of religious satire or defiance. After all, there are Muslim communities that will gladly burn Christians alive to punish even rumored blasphemy.
Read the rest on National Review here.