The U.S., and France, Must Respond to Hizballah’s Murder of One of Its Foremost Critics

Feb. 18 2021

Earlier this month the Lebanese publisher, activist, and journalist Lokman Slim was shot dead. Slim played a leading role in the 2019 protests against Hizballah, and had most recently been involved in investigating the terrorist group’s culpability in the Beirut port explosion last year. Hanin Ghaddar comments:

Slim was threatened directly and repeatedly by Hizballah, and he himself wrote a statement last year holding the party responsible for any action that would harm him or his family. He was assassinated in the south of Lebanon—a Hizballah stronghold—a mile away from a UN compound. Most importantly, he was killed in a way that would send a clear message to other activists and to the international community. If Hizballah’s leaders only wanted to get rid of Slim, they could have easily made [his death] look like a car accident or a robbery, and thereby avoid the blame, but they wanted to send a message to others while testing the limits of the international community.

To protect those who are still fighting the fight in Lebanon, and make sure Slim’s achievements and breakthroughs within the Shiite community do not go to waste, the international community must draw very clear red lines. Compromises should not be made when Hizballah’s weapons are pointed at the Lebanese people, and Washington should coordinate with Paris closely to make sure Emmanuel Macron’s upcoming visit to Lebanon offers stronger protection to activists and no compromises with the political class and its corrupt enablers.

Anti-corruption and terrorism sanctions should not stop, but rather pick up pace and target a wider range of corrupt political figures from all sects and parties. Hizballah’s leaders only understand clear and firm actions. Slim was clear and firm, and it frightened them. Now is not the time to backpedal.

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Emmanuel Macron, Hizballah, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy

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