South Africa adopts Soviet-style punishment for ideological heresy 88

On March 18, Zainab Prya Dala, a South African author and mother of two, was assaulted at Durban’s “Time of the Writer” festival, after she spoke of her admiration for Salman Rushdie.

We quote from a Gatestone article by Monir Hussain:

Dala, when asked which writers she admired, answered that she liked Salman Rushdie’s literary style, along with other writers such as Arundhati Roy. A group of teachers and learners left the forum.

Dala was followed from the festival hotel and was harassed by three men in a vehicle who pushed her car off the road. When she stopped, two of the men advanced to her car, one holding a knife to her throat and the other hitting her in the face with a brick while calling her “Rushdie’s bitch”. …

After the publication of Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill him. Since that time, Rushdie has been a target by many Muslims worldwide. Nothing was different for South African Muslims. The book was published on September 26, 1988. In November, it was banned in Bangladesh, Sudan and South Africa. Since the moment he authored the book, Rushdie has been under police protection. Why are Muslims (both violent and non-violent) throughout the world so intolerant of The Satanic Verses and its author? Because Rushdie looked at the origins of Islam and some of its faults. …

The scenario of the “rainbow nation” has been changing rapidly as Islamic preaching is being fired up in all the provinces, exemplified by private radio stations such as Radio Islam in Johannesburg, Radio 786 in Cape Town, and Radio Al-Ansaar in Durban. Newspapers such as Al-Qalam, The Muslim Digest, Al-Ummah, The Majlis, Ar Rasheed and Muslim Views also play a vital part.

South African Muslims come from many cultural backgrounds. From the 17th to the 19th centuries, Muslims were imported as slaves from modern day Indonesia, Malaya and the Indian subcontinent. The number of Muslims in proportion to others was trivial. In the post-apartheid period, a fresh wave of Muslims arrived in South Africa.

Many indigenous black Africans are apparently converting to Islam. Nicole Itano wrote, in 2002, in The Christian Science Monitor, ” … There is enormous tension between South Africa’s black and Indian Muslim communities. Blacks accuse the Indians of racism. And many Indians tend to adhere to a more radical brand of Islam. One Cape Town based Indian group, Pagad, is named on the U.S. list of alleged terrorist groups, and is responsible for bombing some Cape Town restaurants. Another radical group, Qibla, is also labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. The organization was formed by a radical imam, Ahmed Kassim, to establish an Islamic state in South Africa.”

There are more than 90 Islamic organizations in the country, working in various fields. One of these organizations, the Al-Aqsa Foundation, has been described by the U.S. government as a critical part of Hamas’s transnational terrorist support infrastructure. …

There are more than 90 Islamic organizations in the country, working in various fields.

Dr James E. Martins, who keeps us informed about political events in South Africa, tells us by email:

There have been more, very disturbing developments in the case of Zainab Prya Dala.

She is has been harassed by religious leaders trying to force her to recant, and ordered to enter a psychiatric hospital. “I was told that this is what I must do”, she told the Sunday Times.

Horrifying, is it not? Heavy shades of the Gulag.

That sent us looking for more about Dala’s incarceration in a mental clinic. It seems she was (heavily) persuaded to admit herself “voluntarily”, but is now finding it hard to get out.

This comes from the British leftist newspaper The Guardian, whose report seems to be unexpectedly sympathetic to Dala:

A South African author who was violently attacked for expressing admiration for Salman Rushdie has been admitted to a mental health institution, allegedly under intense pressure from the local Islamic community. …

Booker prize winner Rushdie has intervened, calling for South African authorities to protect Dala and her right to express literary opinions to be defended. The writers’ association PEN International has also condemned her treatment.

Dala is a psychologist and a physiotherapist who recently published her first novel, What About Meera. During a literary festival last month in Durban, she said she admired the writing of Arundhati Roy and Rushdie, whose book The Satanic Verses resulted in the issuing of a fatwa and death warrant in 1989. Some audience members walked out.

A day later, three men forced her car off the road, put a knife to her throat and hit her face with a brick, breaking her cheekbone. They called her “Rushdie’s bitch” and, had a minibus taxi not appeared at that moment, she says, she is certain she “would’ve been stabbed”. …

Dala is married into a family whose elders are important figures in Durban’s Muslim religious and business community. She has been told to recant, repent and say prayers, often in late-night phone calls. Her husband agrees that she should accept what the religious leaders say “and be done with it” …

Dala initially consented to be admitted to Life St Joseph’s mental healthcare facility in Durban because of post-traumatic stress but, in a statement released via PEN, explained: “My husband consulted with a holy older person who felt it’s best I be put into St Joseph’s till I can think right and accept Islam. But I am vehemently refusing. Which lands me here in a mental hospital for who knows how long. Come right means … become a good Muslim woman, stay covered and silent. This is not right.”

She continued: “I’ve been … drugged till I can barely walk … and basically broken down into a submission where I will follow the straight path (if there is one). I feel that the far-reaching damage to my kids will be severe as they attend schools that are 90% Muslim. And I refuse to educate them with fire and brimstone stories about how they may go to heaven but their beloved grandmother will burn in hellfire.That’s what they are teaching the kids now anyway. I have also been harangued to withdraw, dissect, explain and renounce my admiration of [Rushdie’s] works. I could just as easily burn my Oscar Wilde collection because some homophobes came calling. I can’t turn back now and pretend I never admired his writing. I would look like a fool.”

We do not admire Rushdie’s writing, but we are appalled at the Muslim persecution of the man for writing something about Islam that they don’t like. What he wrote was true – about three goddesses left over from pre-Muhammad times being included in the Holy Writ of Islam – but no one is allowed to say so. There are many truths about Islam that Muslims don’t like non-Muslims to talk about. Apparently the mere mention of Salman Rushdie’s name, unless to condemn him, can get your face smashed with a brick by a devotee of the “the religion of peace”.

Islam and the Left are ever more oppressively imposing an orthodoxy of speech – and, they hope, of thought – on us all. Not to accept that orthodoxy is to be criminal or mad. To examine it critically is to be heretical.

Notice that Dala has to be brought to “renounce” her judgment of Salman Rushdie.

Two religions – Leftism and Islam – are working in tandem all over the world to reverse the Enlightenment, suppress reason, and turn us all into obedient mental slaves.

South Africa has had a Communist government since the ANC first came to power some twenty years ago, but has been allowed to retain a degree of economic freedom, since even Communists recognize that only capitalism delivers prosperity (vide Communist China). But now Stalinism is slowly but surely tightening  its ideological grip on the ethnically mixed population.

It will be interesting – and (as Dr. Martins says) horrifying – to watch Stalinism and Islam slowly squeeze all freedom and prosperity out of that beautiful but tragic land.

Speaking lies to power 36

… in perfect safety.

Salman Rushdie does it. As author of The Satanic Verses, which set Muslim mobs raging in the streets of Muslim lands, including those of western Europe, he had to be defended by British conservatives and patriots, because free speech has always to be defended. Many did it only reluctantly, since they didn’t share his leftist political views, or didn’t like his books, or both. But they did it.

Yet Rushdie – an immigrant from Pakistan – had before then judged Britain to be a severely intolerant, “racist” country, though, he conceded, the state of affairs was “not yet” like the Third Reich:

Britain is not Nazi Germany. …  Auschwitz has not been rebuilt in the Home Counties. I find it odd, however, that those who use such absences as defences rarely perceive that their own statements indicate how serious things have become. If the defence for Britain is that mass extermination of racially impure persons has not yet begun, or that the principle of white supremacy has not yet been enshrined in the constitution, then something must have gone very wrong indeed.

When Salman Rushdie said this in 1982 in a BBC radio talk, he was as free as any man in Britain. Some years later, in 1989, he did indeed become the victim of intolerance, not British but Islamic, when the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa was issued in Iran condemning him to death for having written The Satanic Verses. From that moment on, the British authorities, at the expense of the tax-payers, provided Mr Rushdie as a matter of course with constant protection. He then got to know some members of the police force better than he had known any when, in that broadcast speech of his, he had said that the British police “offer threats instead of protection”; yet when he published the speech in a book of essays in 1991, he did not qualify the accusation – or any of his criticisms – by so much as a footnote.

That was all a long time ago. Has he grown any more just, any more perceptive of the truth, as he’s grown older?

The answer seems to be – not much.

Ron Radosh writes at PJ Media:

Leave it to Salman Rushdie to bring back the Left’s favorite stratagem: moral equivalence. During the Cold War, leftists used to say the following: “Sure, the Soviets are doing bad things, but so is the United States.” Those a bit more to the left would advance the argument, and say: “The Soviets do terrible things, but the U.S. is responsible, since its leaders view them, as Reagan did, as ‘the evil empire.’ Since we won’t accommodate their just demands, they have to respond to us with hostility.” Those even further to the left would push the analogy even further, arguing: “The Soviets may do some bad things, but at least they stand on the side of progressive change. The U.S., on the other hand, oppresses Third World peoples and supports right-wing reactionary regimes all over the world.”

A good example of the old moral equivalence was to equate the Gulag in the Soviet Union, in which hundreds of thousands were imprisoned, starved to death and executed in massive frame-ups, with McCarthyism in the United States. During the so-called McCarthy era, relatively few were imprisoned or lost their livelihoods, and many actually guilty of being actual Soviet agents portrayed themselves as innocents accused because of their political views. Yet the Left in America argued both were the same.

Now Salman Rushdie has a lot to be wary of. After the Iranian revolution, the late Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa along with a reward for anyone who murdered him. Because of his novel The Satanic Verses, Rushdie had to go into hiding in different safe houses for a number of years, while under the protection of the British government. Intellectuals and writers in the West rallied to his defense. Eventually, Rushdie came into the open, moved to the United States, and became a favorite in the celebrity world, as well as a best-selling novelist.

In his New York Times op-ed last week, Rushdie complained that … those who stand against abuses of power or dogma are viewed suspiciously.

But where? He gives examples from China, Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia – states not noted for tolerance.

Ron Radosh goes on:

His examples are correct, and telling.  … .

But then, Rushdie writes the following, and it deserves letting you see his own words, because they are so preposterous:

“America isn’t immune from this trend. The young activists of the Occupy movement have been much maligned (though, after their highly effective relief work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, those criticisms have become a little muted). Out-of-step intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and the deceased Edward Said have often been dismissed as crazy extremists, “anti-American,” and in Mr. Said’s case even, absurdly, as apologists for Palestinian “terrorism.” (One may disagree with Mr. Chomsky’s critiques of America but it ought still to be possible to recognize the courage it takes to stand up and bellow them into the face of American power. One may not be pro-Palestinian, but one should be able to see that Mr. Said stood up against Yasser Arafat as eloquently as he criticized the United States.)”

Let us take up his two major points. Occupy Wall Street protestors were handled by the authorities with kid gloves. When they took over the park in New York City over a year ago, although it was privately owned, they were allowed to camp out, disrupt and close down local businesses, and engage in anti-social and horrendous behavior — from public defecation to rape of women — without consequences. Rushdie mentioned Occupy for one reason alone: to show his heart is on the Left so that he can get his comrades in that camp to listen to him about how Islamists persecute those they disdain.

It is his second point that is most ridiculous.

Rushdie acknowledges that Chomsky is “a crazy extremist”. But, Ron Radosh rightly says –

Chomsky does not have to show much courage to take on all U.S. administrations and to oppose them as oppressors and imperialists.

Or any at all.

Indeed, he has become an international intellectual superstar, applauded and heralded by the Left at home and all of our enemies abroad, who shower him with high lecture fees and give him a gigantic audience abroad and at home. He is continually on the lecture circuit, has the support of both student audiences and assorted Hollywood and music world celebrities, and writes best-selling books, for which he has no problem finding a publisher. Bellowing “into the face of American power” is hardly an offense that has landed him even in any white-collar prison, not to speak of a Gulag or Gitmo.

As for the late Edward Said, his critique of “Orientalism” became the favored paradigm to explain U.S. policy in the Middle East, and influenced scores of leftist professors of Middle Eastern politics. As for his supposed standing up to the late Yasser Arafat, anyone who recalls what Said’s complaint about Arafat really was will remember that he was angry that Arafat appeared to play the game of engaging in negotiation with his enemies, rather than reject such posturing and commit himself exclusively to armed struggle against Palestine’s supposed oppressors. His former friend Christopher Hitchens pointed out in his own memoir that Said’s “low point was an almost uncritical profile of Yasser Arafat that he contributed to Interview magazine in the late 1980s”.

One might also recall Said’s trip to the West Bank during the first intifada, when he and his young son joined the mob in throwing rocks at Israelis, something of which he was quite proud. To Said, any action taken by Palestinians, no matter how violent, was “resistance.” Again, Hitch well summed up what Said believed, which was that “if the United States was doing something, then that thing could not by definition be a moral or ethical action.” And that is why Said eventually rejected Arafat. He thought that the PLO leader was heeding the agenda of the U.S., by his very action of negotiating with its leaders.

To equate those who are truly courageous — like the brave Chinese dissidents who risk their lives to speak up for democracy, or critics of radical Islam who speak up knowing what their future is likely to be if they live under the rule of Islamic regimes — with critics of U.S. policy who live in our democratic republic is more than preposterous. It is the opposite of moral courage. A man of words and letters, Salman Rushdie should by this time be able to know the difference.

Amnesty for terrorists 153

Amnesty International has been a vile organization for decades, despite the nobility of the cause for which it was ostensibly founded: to come to the aid of political prisoners regardless of their politics. Such an aim should have made it a champion of free speech. But in fact it has proved to be a champion of cruel, collectivist, tyrannical regimes. While readily speaking up for terrorists justly imprisoned by free countries, it has raised barely an audible murmur for brave prisoners who’ve stood for freedom in communist and Islamic  hells. It’s record of false accusations against Israel and excuses for Hamas, for instance, is a sorry story all on its own.

It is fair to say that far from being for humanitarianism and justice, it is nothing better than a communist front organization. If everyone who works for it doesn’t know that, they should inform themselves better.

Mona Charen tries to set the record straight in a recent article. She writes:

Amnesty International has been a handmaiden of the left for as long as I can remember. Founded in 1961 to support prisoners of conscience, it has managed since then to ignore the most brutal regimes and to aim its fire at the West and particularly at the United States. This week, Amnesty has come in for some (much overdue) criticism — but not nearly so much as it deserves.

During the Cold War, AI joined leftist international groups like the World Council of Churches to denounce America’s policy in Central America. Yet human rights in Cuba were described this way in a 1976 report: “the persistence of fear, real or imaginary, was primarily responsible for the early excesses in the treatment of political prisoners.” Those priests, human rights advocates, and homosexuals in Castro’s prisons were suffering from imaginary evils. And the “excesses” were early — not a continuing feature of the regime.

In 2005, William Schulz, the head of AI’s American division, described the U.S. as a “leading purveyor and practitioner” of torture … Schulz’s comments were echoed by AI’s Secretary General, Irene Khan, who denounced Guantanamo Bay as “the gulag of our times.”

When officials from Amnesty International demonstrated last month in front of Number 10 Downing Street demanding the closure of Guantanamo, Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo detainee who runs a group called Cageprisoners, joined them. Begg is a British citizen who, by his own admission, was trained in at least three al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan, was “armed and prepared to fight alongside the Taliban and al-Qaida against the United States and others,” and served as a “communications link” between radical Muslims living in Great Britain and those abroad.

As for Cageprisoners, well, let’s just say it isn’t choosy about those it represents. Supposedly dedicated to helping those unjustly “held as part of the War on Terror,” it has lavished unmitigated sympathy on the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, confessed mastermind of 9/11; Abu Hamza, the one-handed cleric convicted of 11 charges including soliciting murder; and Abu Qatada, described as Osama bin Laden’s “European ambassador.” Another favorite was Anwar Al-Awlaki, the spiritual guide to Nidal Hasan (the mass murderer at Fort Hood) and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Anne Fitzgerald, AI’s policy director, explained that the human rights group allied with Begg because he was a “compelling speaker” on detention and acknowledged that AI had paid his expenses for joint appearances. Asked by the Times of London if she regarded him as a human rights advocate, she said, “It’s something you’d have to speak to him about. I don’t have the information to answer that.” One might think that would be a pretty basic thing about which to have information.

This level of collaboration didn’t go down well with everyone at Amnesty. Gita Sahgal, the head of Amnesty’s gender unit, went public with her dismay after internal protests were ignored. “I believe the campaign (with Begg’s organization, Cageprisoners) fundamentally damages Amnesty International’s integrity and, more importantly, constitutes a threat to human rights,” she wrote to her superiors. “To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment. … Amnesty has created the impression that Begg is not only a victim of human rights violations but a defender of human rights.”

For this, Miss Sahgal was suspended.

There have been a couple of voices raised on her behalf on the left. Christopher Hitchens (if we can still locate him on the left) condemned Amnesty for its “disgraceful” treatment of a whistle-blower and suggested that AI’s 2 million subscribers withhold funding until AI severs its ties with Begg and reinstates Sahgal. Salman Rushdie went further: “Amnesty International has done its reputation incalculable damage by allying itself with Moazzam Begg and his group Cageprisoners, and holding them up as human rights advocates. It looks very much as if Amnesty’s leadership is suffering from a kind of moral bankruptcy, and has lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong.”

Rushdie is right. His only error is in believing that Amnesty’s loss of innocence is recent.

We would urge AI’s 2 million subscribers to withhold funding permanently.