If you want to destroy a hallowed Christian site on the big screen, that's OK. Just don't try doing the same thing to Islam.
In the upcoming 2012, disaster director Roland Emmerich turns his sights on the Vatican and crumbles the Sistine Chapel into dust. But when he proposed demolishing a Muslim shrine as well, his colleagues on the project freaked out.
"I do not want to have a fatwa on my head because of a movie!" co-writer Harald Kloser objected. And, concedes Emmerich, "He was right."
So begins an entertainment article in yesterday’s National Post on the upcoming sci-fi, disaster film 2012.
Which got me thinking how sad it is that Muslim militants have been so successful in intimidation that even artists, authors and film-makers (often considered the champions of free speech) are now prepared to restrict their freedom of expression just to avoid even the possibility of offending the Muslim population and instigating a violent backlash(or even the threat of one). Courage has given way to compromise, creativity to safety. “It’s just not worth the risk” has become the slogan.
Such self-censorship inevitably becomes the mark of every totalitarian society. But we are giving up our freedom of expression without the militants even having to fight for political power. All they have had to do is threaten violence and we have submitted to their expectations.
It is this same attempt to silence all criticism of Islam that lies behind the Defamation of Religions Resolution, introduced annually at the UN General Assembly by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), an inter-governmental organization of 57 countries with majority or significant Muslim populations.
This two-pronged effort – legislative pressure combined with the threat of violence - is making Islam virtually untouchable. It will impact our lives for the worse in the future if we continue to allow Islamists to intimidate us into silence.