The evangelical Arabic satellite station, al-Haya (Life TV), regularly takes the Muslim prophet to task, especially on two weekly programs: Hiwar al-Haq (Truth Talk), hosted by Coptic priest Fr. Zakaria Botros, and Su’al Jari’ (Daring Question), hosted by ex-Muslim Rashid. Both shows revolve around asking uncomfortable questions about Islam and its founder in an effort to prompt Muslims to reconsider the legitimacy of their faith. (It is on these shows that the aforementioned, unflattering assertions of Muhammad originate; see here and here for English summaries.)…

[H]ow can Life TV get away with outlandish weekly disparagements concerning Muhammad, whereas Western cartoons spark widespread outrage? Considering that millions of more Muslims watch Life TV than have ever heard of South Park makes the question doubly puzzling.

The answer is simple: the South Park incident is less a reflection of Muslim anger and more of Western appeasement. By constantly buckling in to the slightest Muslim displeasure — whether by altering films, removing museum art, or canceling book launches — the West has perpetuated a vicious cycle wherein Muslim sensitivities are ever heightened and outraged at the slightest slight, and Western freedoms of expression are correspondingly diminished and trampled upon. What’s worse, such self-imposed censorship falls right into the hands of homegrown Islamists actively working to subvert Western civilization from within.

Conversely, by holding fast to onetime Western principles of free speech and open dialogue, Life TV has conditioned its Muslim viewers to accept that exposure and criticism of their prophet is here to stay.