It has been somewhat of a mystery to me why we have heard so little from moderate Islamic voices over the past few years. When the public face that Islam presents to the world is one of psychotic killers beheading innocents and stoning women to death, I would expect there to be an outcry from sincere, sane Muslims, repudiating this desecration of their faith. And yet there has been only a faint whisper from the moderates. In fact there has been more than a faint whisper of yes-but excuses for the continuing, global atrocities committed in the name of Allah. Why is this? I have wondered. Is it because there aren’t really very many moderates? Do most Muslims actually support Al Qeada to some degree? Or is it just fear and intimidation? Are the majority of Muslims peace-loving people who are simply afraid to speak up?
The cartoon jihad has made it all much more clear. Publishing the cartoons in the first place was rather gauche. I wouldn’t have done it, had I been a Danish newspaper editor. But now, thanks to the carefully orchestrated demonstrations and embassy burnings, it is the biggest story of the day. And the New York Times, and all the other major papers in the country, and all of the major TV news shows, have chosen not to show the cartoons, which makes the biggest story of the day impossible to understand. There were no such qualms about pictures from Abu Ghraib, which ran in all available MSM outlets for months. Obviously this is not indicative of sympathy for Osama Bin Laden, or excessive delicacy concerning the tender feelings of Muslims, on the part of the NYT editorial board. It is fear, plain and simple. Any reporter, editor, or publisher risks assassination and bombing of their offices if they give offense to the Islamists. So they don’t.
Now I no longer wonder why there is so much loud silence coming from the majority of moderate Muslims. If the New York Times is afraid, how can I blame some reasonable Muslim guy living in Egypt or Pakistan for keeping his mouth shut? Who would have thought it would be so easy to frighten that Western exemplar of free speech, the New York Times? Terror works.