Quotes of the day

The former terror suspect shot dead by police on Sunday after he and another gunman stormed an anti-Islam art contest in Texas had said he intended to ‘fight to the death’ for Allah.

Elton Simpson, 30, and his roommate Nadir Soofi, 24, were killed outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland after a security guard was shot during a controversial competition for the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad…

In one recording from 2008, Simpson told the informant that Allah loves people ‘out there fighting [non-Muslims]’ and making sacrifices, such as living in caves and sleeping on rocks.

The documents state: ‘Mr. Simpson said that the reward is high because “If you get shot, or you get killed, it’s [heaven] straight away”…. “[Heaven] that’s what we here for…so why not take that route?”‘


In a statement, CAIR said:

“We condemn yesterday’s attack on an anti-Islam event in Garland, Texas, without reservation.

“We also reiterate our view that violence in response to anti-Islam programs like the one in Garland is more insulting to our faith than any cartoon, however defamatory. Bigoted speech can never be an excuse for violence.


Earnest said Obama “was informed last night of the violence outside Dallas.”

“We have seen extremists try to use expressions that they considered to be offensive as a way to justify violence not only in this country but around the world, and in the mind of the president there is no form of expression that would justify an act of violence,” he said, according to the White House pool report.


For the third time this year, we have a deadly attack “provoked” by people who were not “sufficiently respectful” to Islam.

Cartoons led to the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The same ilk then killed atheist blogger Avijit Roy in Bangladesh for questioning the “religion of peace.” And now Garland…

When the play “The Book of Mormon” was staged in Los Angeles, the Church of Latter-day Saints bought an ad in the playbill. To me, that makes their adherents seem confident in their beliefs — worthy of respect, because they can roll with a few laughs at their expense…

I have no quarrel with Islam (no more than any other religion). But with attacks such as the one we saw in Garland, it is being represented as one of the weakest philosophies on earth.


We’ve already seen numbers of part-time free expressionists – the “but” crowd – which conflates the defense of free speech, and the ability of all people to practice it peacefully, with endorsing the supposedly incendiary speech that they claim causes the violence. This kind of coddling is reserved for one hypersensitive faith; and only one requires dispensation from criticism or mockery. Because Jews don’t burn down the Barnes & Noble because they carry Mein Kampf, those who believe in Xenu do not shoot documentarians and Mormons do no fire bomb Broadway plays – and if they did, no decent person would rationalize their actions…

There are people in this country now who want to stop free expression with bullets. That’s a remarkable development. For people like CNN host Alisyn Camerota, the idea that someone might be attacking Islam is a far bigger story than the actual attack. Rather than put the event into context, the mass media mostly focused on the “anti-Muslim” activity of those who provoked the gunmen. So we learned much about the rabble-rousing Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders, for instance, but nothing about the far more offensive actions of Keith Ellison and André Carson, who asked Barack Obama administrationto ban the Dutch politician from entering the United States because of his “controversial” views. What the media focused on today was as predictable as the ideological disposition of the gunmen. That’s a big problem for the future of free speech.


Most of the other statements—and there were many others along this vein this morning—were couched as pro forma acknowledgements of freedom of speech, but for the “but.” There’s an old saying: Everything before the “but” is BS. (The old saying doesn’t use an abbreviation, but this is a family-friendly publication.) Everything before the “but” is a half-hearted disclaimer meant to soften the reader up before you get to your real message. And the real message here is: If Islamists try to kill you for violating their religious prohibitions, it’s your fault for provoking them.

Remember that the news story we’re all talking about is that a couple of ISIS wannabes tried to gun down people at an art exhibit because they disapproved of the art on display. Given that context, the big question is not, do you also approve of the art? The question is: should the people who made it be murdered? If the answer is “no,” then perhaps that ought to be the main clause of your sentence. When the mainstream left treats it as a subordinate clause, tacked on as an afterthought, they make us think it’s not really that important…

Obviously, the problem here isn’t that the speech and actions at the Mohammed cartoon event were “provocative.” The problem was that they didn’t provoke the people the mainstream left would prefer to provoke. They provoked the people the left would like to appease.


The United States Constitution doesn’t simply enshrine free speech in the First Amendment but also religious freedom and freedom of assembly. These things are all intertwined and an attack on one is an attack on the others. 

Allowing infringements on any of that—whether out of sensitivity, fear, or distaste with particular groups (whether Charlie Hebdo or Geller)—is not a small thing and it’s never a final thing, either. Giving in to violent reprisals doesn’t end them, it only sets the stage for the next choking down of free expression and the openness of society.

In the wake of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, President Obama announced that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” while blaming the death of a U.S. ambassador and soldiers on a YouTube video that supposedly created a spontaneous demonstration against the country that had recently helped liberate Libya from a dictator. The president was wrong then and those who say we must rein in free speech are wrong now. The threats to speech are not simply emanating from terrorists who pledge allegiance to a demented form of Islamic theocracy. They are everywhere throughout America today and despite an ever-increasing number of platforms from which to speak, the plain fact is that “incursions against free speech and a truly unregulated marketplace of ideas” are also flourishing.

The future must belong to those who recognize a categorical difference between free expression and violent reprisals. The future must belong to those who affirm speech over silence and freedom over fear, regardless of who is speaking and who is offended.


Third, of course, is the shooting last night in Garland at the Pam Gellar event. Whatever you think about how offensive it is and whether it should or should not have occurred, the only thing that people should be saying today is that no one should have been shot for attending. Yet instead of condemning the shooters, most liberals are focused on condemning the fact that the event occurred.

In each of these three cases, the expectation of liberals is that Americans should be forced to withhold from participating in lawful activities due to the threat of violence. Rather than expecting that the American justice system should catch and punish those who would use violence and force against the peaceful exercise of Constitutional rights, liberals expect Americans to voluntarily forego the exercise of those rights in order to mollify the feelings of violent criminals.

Alright, fine. Let’s apply this logic to certain other things that are areas of hot political disagreements.

You know what gets some people really angry and upset, to the point of violence? Abortions. I know that the Supreme Court has invented a Constitutional right for a woman to get an abortion, but you see, when they do this, they might cause a James Kopp or somebody to engage in some violence against an abortion doctor or an abortion clinic. And nobody wants that. So if violence is a legitimate means of achieving political ends, maybe the next time an abortion doctor gets shot, liberals can engage in this same kind of pained soul searching and condemn the women who get abortions and provoke the violence rather than the perpetrators of said violence. What do you say, liberals, do we have a deal?


There is a mosque in Garland, Texas. It was there yesterday, it’s there today, and it will be there tomorrow. After two radical Muslims attempted to massacre some infidels down the road a bit, there was no angry mob of Texans storming the place with F-350s and rifles. If any vehicle full of armed men rushed to the Muslims’ place of worship, you can be sure that it was the local police exercising an abundance of caution and nothing more.

It’s easy to be snarky–”Oh, yay for us! No massacre, give Texas a cookie!” But only those parochial minds with the narrowest of experience could fail to appreciate how unusual that is in the world…

So, yeah: Texans 2, Jihadists 0. But the unappreciated player here is our uniquely liberal civil society—that, and not the police, is why there is peace on the streets of Garland


I think there is a special kind of exercise of free speech here: speech as defiance. The organizers are sending a message that they are not afraid, either of those who would condemn us or even of those who would kill us — at least not so afraid that they will forgo their First Amendment rights.

Harsh critics of Islam are often accused of “Islamophobia”; and while the suffix “-phobia” means “aversion to” as well as “fear of,” I think “-phobia” terms usually convey (and are often intended to convey) an allegation of irrational fear. Well, the critics say, our fear is actually quite rational; it makes sense to rationally fear dangerous ideologies. But with events such as this, I think the critics are saying: it is those who condemn us for being “provocative” who are relying on fear of Muslim extremists, and we are the ones who actually act contrary to the counsel of fear…

Indeed, it is the violent retaliation prompted by the cartoons (and by similar speech) that “defames” Islam in the sense of injuring its reputation — and not just insulting it — much more than the cartoons themselves do.


CNN’s attacks on Geller all day Monday can be summed up in just a few words: “The Bitch was begging for it.”


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David Strom 8:31 AM on October 02, 2022