Sunday, 29 September 2013

21 The Death of a Poetess

I996 There was a poetess who wrote a poem against Islam. Mohammed said, “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?” One of his followers heard him and on that very night he went to the woman’s home to kill her. 
M239 The assassin, a blind man, was able to do the work in the dark as the woman slept. Her babe lay on her breast while her other children slept in the room. The stealthy assassin removed the child and drove the knife into her with such force that he pinned her to the bed.
I996 In the morning he went to Mohammed and told him. Mohammed said, “You have helped Allah and his apostle.” When asked about the consequences, Mohammed said, “Two goats won’t butt their heads together over this.”
M239 Mohammed turned to the people in the mosque and said, “If you wish to see a man who has assisted Allah and his prophet, look here.” Omar cried, “What, the blind Omeir!” “No,” said Mohammed, “call him Omeir the Seeing.”
I996 The mother, had five sons and the assassin went to the sons and said, “I killed Bint Marwan [The daughter of Marwan], O sons. Withstand me if you can; don’t keep me waiting.” Islam became powerful that day and many became Muslims when they saw the power of Islam.

Author’s Comments:
Marwan’s daughter was angry that some of her tribe’s chiefs had been murdered. These murders had been committed by Muslims with Mohammed’s approval. Her tribe was not prepared to fight Mohammed for retribution and so she composed a poem critical of him. 

In a desert world with virtually no written material available, a poem was like a newspaper article which would be told and passed around by word of mouth. Naturally, Mohammed soon came to hear of it.

Mohammed knew that this woman posed no threat to him. Her tribe had already made it abundantly clear that they would not attack the Muslims but this was not enough for Mohammed. Like bullies and tyrants everywhere, Mohammed knew that the key to absolute control of a group is the destruction of free speech.

When people are afraid to criticize an oppressor, the whole group dynamic changes. Silence becomes a form of tacit approval and nobody knows who is a supporter and who is an opponent. Defiance then becomes almost impossible.

 People find themselves isolated from those of similar persuasion and individuals who do speak out are easily picked off. As this process intensifies, fear builds and the tyrants grip on society tightens. This process is referred to as “consolidation of power”.
The polar opposite to this situation is a society in which free speech is protected, because:

Tyranny and free speech cannot coexist in a society.

In order to protect free speech, it is not enough to protect most speech; you have to protect all speech. Once the ruling classes have the right to restrict speech deemed unpleasant, they will invariably restrict opposition to themselves. When this is achieved, freedom is lost forever.

There are of course some well understood exceptions to this principle. Yelling fire in a crowded theatre, inciting people to violence or harming people and their reputation with lies are examples of speech which is not protected. Insulting, ridiculing, upsetting or humiliating people (or their ideas) is protected in a free society. In fact the ability to do this, is the very definition of a free society.

It is important to understand that free speech is not the right to tell people what they want to hear. Free speech is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. No one in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was ever imprisoned for saying what a great guy Saddam was, despite the fact that free speech was not a right for Iraqis. This is the point about free speech, it is not the ability to say “most” things, It is the ability to say absolutely anything (outside of the exceptions noted above) without fear of retribution.

The “problem” with free speech, is that people will invariably say things which you don’t like. Some people will say that the holocaust never happened or that heroin or slavery should be legalized. Unfortunately, if you want to have free speech, this is what comes with it.

Votaire realized the importance of this when he declared, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.” 

No matter how much you want to stop people from denying the holocaust or advocating rights for child molesters, you cannot do this without destroying freedom of speech.
The important thing to note, is that if you don’t like an idea, you have the right to argue against it. If the idea really is bad, then that should be easy.

The notion of Islam as a peaceful and decent religion seems pretty difficult to defend in reasoned argument. Mohammed, like tyrants everywhere understood that the only way to win this argument was through violence, threats and intimidation.
This then is the final tactic of Jihad:

Rules of Jihad:
8) Never ever allow criticism of Mohammed, Allah or Islam, destroy free speech.

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