For the First Time in Three Centuries, Jihad Strikes Vienna

On Monday night, an Austrian associated with Islamic State—who was arrested last year for attempting to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group—went on a shooting spree in Vienna, killing four and wounding some two dozen more. Daniel Johnson observes:

The [attack’s] lesson should not be lost on any of us: the enemies of Western civilization respect neither borders nor politics. The peoples of Europe stand or fall together—and for these purposes at least, the British are very much still Europeans.

The Viennese had hitherto been spared the terror to which Parisians and Londoners have become accustomed in the past few decades. Taking a longer historical perspective, however, the Austrian capital is no stranger to the clash of Christianity and Islam. Besieged by the Ottomans in the 16th and 17th centuries, Vienna was also Europe’s gateway for Turkish influence, as its coffeehouses still testify. Mozart and Beethoven wrote popular tunes alla turca. By 1900 Vienna had become one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the continent and the Habsburg empire had developed a relatively tolerant relationship with its millions of non-Christian subjects.

Once the imperial city had become the oversized capital of a much-diminished Austria, however, that tolerance seemed to evaporate. No sooner had Hitler annexed his native land in 1938, than [Austrian Jewry] was successively humiliated, expropriated, and murdered. Few of the Jews who escaped ever returned. . . . Anti-Semitism had not ebbed away even long after the Holocaust: it resurfaced in the late 1980s during the Waldheim affair, [when the Austrian president’s involvement in Nazi atrocities during World War II was revealed], and has been exploited by the far right ever since.

We must hope that this week’s rude awakening from Vienna’s dreams of past glory does not lead to a resurgence of past horrors—either in Austria or across Europe.

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Read more at The Article

More about: Austria, European Islam, Islamic State, Jihadism, Vienna

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter