The more jihadists attack West, the more frightened leaders cower.

In American Spectator there is a piece by George Neumayr caught my eye:

Its “values” are too confused to eliminate jihadism.

The White House’s decision to avoid the Paris rally against last week’s jihadist killings conforms to its relaxed attitude toward radical Islam. Candidate Obama in 2008 had argued that George W. Bush lost the world’s esteem by overreacting to the jihadists. Obama promised to regain that respect by approaching the problem with more calm. He in effect pledged to treat the problem as manageable and marginal. With a little more “dialogue” and “understanding,” it would go away.  [THAT worked….]

This remains Obama’s attitude, which must have contributed to the White House’s view of the Paris rally as insignificant. Eric Holder, who was in Paris at the time, didn’t even show up for it, which is also fitting, since he has never been able to bring himself to consider radical Islam a motive for terrorism.

The West is clearly not marching as one against the jihadists. Its “values” are as confused as ever. [“Values”… slippery word.  It can mean almost anything, and it almost never concerns “virtues”.] Contrary to their defiant rhetoric in the wake of the attacks, many Western leaders are willing to compromise free speech in order to appease radical Islam. The same pols who now identify with the editors of Charlie Hebdo have long favored suppressing criticism of Islam far tamer than anything found in its pages.


The divided West reserves its protective feelings not for its own historic religion but for that of its traditional adversary. The mark of enlightenment is to forbid truth-telling about Islam while celebrating fashionable lies about Christianity. Many of the leaders who showed up at the Paris rally have no hesitation in calling for the “reform” of “fundamentalist” Christianity but wouldn’t dare make a similar call for reforming Islam. That would imply it contains serious problems, and that is something progressives, who normally regard all religion as illiberal, simply won’t allow. Islam is the one religion they don’t seek to modernize. Jihadism, they contend as they desperately try to present Islam as irreproachable, is just one big misunderstanding.


The total silence from the Western intellectual class about Islam’s obvious dangers explains why its jihadists are targeting cartoonists. They are the only ones left still telling the truth about those dangers. The slain editor of Charlie Hebdo said that he would rather die on his feet than live on his knees. His sudden champions quote this line approvingly but have no intention of following it. They won’t fall to their knees before Jesus Christ but they will fall to them before the jihadists of Islam. Out of a fear they rename enlightenment, they are determined to practice self-censorship, thereby delaying any hope of real change in the Islamic world.

Criticism of Islam, whether high or low, will be tacitly forbidden. Jihadists kill in the hope of vindicating their religion, to give it a dominance beyond criticism, and they succeed with the help of the leaders of the very people whom they terrorize. The more the jihadists attack the West, the more its frightened leaders honor Islam. Usually reluctant to call any religion “great,” they call Islam one and shun anyone who disagrees. The resolutions at the Paris rally won’t last long and soon enough Western leaders will resume the sapping self-criticisms they never demand of Islam.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Religious Liberty, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Muv says:

    Thank you for the link, Fr. Z.

    Having come to hate the word jihad so much I have turned it into a brief prayer and called out to help from our Saviour, because only He knows the answer and where this will all end:-

    Jesus, Infinitely Holy, All-Divine.

  2. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Can they at least stop calling him “the Prophet Mohammed.” They don’t call Jesus “Christ the Saviour.” I understand that the using just “the Prophet” might be an eliptical phrase signifying, “the Prophet of the Islamic Religion,” but to my ears any combination of “Prophet” and “Mohammed” only conveys an unmanful obeissance presumed superiority. If we call the Saviour of the World “Jesus of Nazareth,” can’t we settle on calling that man “Mohammed of Mecca?”

  3. LarryW2LJ says:

    “The mark of enlightenment is to forbid truth-telling about Islam while celebrating fashionable lies about Christianity.”

    THAT caught my eye and captured what I have been thinking feeling for a long time. Funny how our administration and their MSM lackies have been blaming France and the people who run Charlie Hebdo for “provoking” the Islamists. A cartoon about Mohammed is a provocation and an abomination, while Chris Ofili’s “The Holy Virgin Mary” , or Andres Seraano’s “Piss Christ” is merely “art” – government funded “art” at that.

    Fr. Z’s tag “The Last Acceptable Prejudice” is very apt here.

  4. Sonshine135 says:

    It is not just the leaders of the nations, but the media as well. While Catholics are openly and often criticized, the same will not be said for Islam. This is because the criticizing of Islam could mean death.

  5. jacobi says:

    Unbelievers, such as we Christians (and Secularists) are, cannot earn respect from Muslims, jihadis or otherwise.
    Violence or the threat of it has proved a very effective weapon in silencing criticism of Islam by politicians, the Press, TV, commentators, and the public at large, as well, as of course the Vatican. So why should it be any different now.

    Some newspapers have dared to show the latest cartoon of Mohammed, but when the Paris murders recede from immediate memory, the Press and others will slip back into their old fearful habits.

    The West simply has not yet grasped the nature of the threat, and in the meantime the slaughter of unbelievers in Africa and the Middle East, our fellow Christians, just goes on!

  6. bernadette says:

    And now Duke University will be announcing the Muslim call to prayer every Friday from a loud speaker in the bell tower. I wonder if they would allow the bells to ring for the Angelus at noon. That is if any Catholics on campus have ever heard of the Angelus.

  7. APX says:

    The West simply has not yet grasped the nature of the threat,
    PM Stephen Harper has stepped up and declared that radical Islam has declared war and that this is the new reality which isn’t going to change anytime soon. I think that’s a start.

  8. oldconvert says:

    Hard on the heels of the announcement that HaperCollins had attempted to publish an atlas from which Israel had been expunged, comes the news that the venerable Oxford University Press is banning any mention of pigs, pork or sausages in books intended for the young (see bruvver bosco’s take on this please!)…..

  9. SKAY says:

    jacobi said–
    “The West simply has not yet grasped the nature of the threat, and in the meantime the slaughter of unbelievers in Africa and the Middle East, our fellow Christians, just goes on!”

    I agree except I think we have weak leaders in the West–not that they do not understand. Where are the marches that say “Christian lives Matter”?
    2000 were slaughtered in Nigeria-basically an entire town- by Boco Haram. Where is the outrage?
    A few in the media did mention it–but that is it.

    There is a rise in anti-semitism all over the world–and history tells us where this leads.
    In fact the history of the years leading up to WWII are very instructive when looking at what is happening right now. For years I wondered how Germany allowed what happened–now I know.
    For years growing up I heard “Never Again”. Apparently it can if good people once again keep silent about the evil that is obviously growing and surrounding them.

  10. Priam1184 says:

    The day that the Catholic Church, from its prelates to its laymen, stops being obsessed with proclaiming the false gospel of religious freedom dreamed up by men who were her bitter enemies, and begins once again to proclaim the Truth as handed down to us by our Lord through the apostles in all of its sublime glory will be the beginning of the end of the problem with jihadism and with Islam in general.

  11. Theodore says:

    Fr Z. Since you’re in England, and after reading your post, I was reminded that England (and the West) was once made of sterner stuff:

    The Private of the Buffs

    Sir Francis Hastings Doyle

    LAST night, among his fellow roughs,
    He jested, quaff’d, and swore:
    A drunken private of the Buffs,
    Who never look’d before.
    To-day, beneath the foeman’s frown,
    He stands in Elgin’s place,
    Ambassador from Britain’s crown,
    And type of all her race.

    Poor, reckless, rude, lowborn, untaught,
    Bewilder’d, and alone,
    A heart, with English instinct fraught,
    He yet can call his own.
    Ay, tear his body limb from limb,
    Bring cord, or axe, or flame:
    He only knows, that not through him
    Shall England come to shame.

    Far Kentish hop-fields round him seem’d,
    Like dreams, to come and go;
    Bright leagues of cherry-blossom gleam’d,
    One sheet of living snow;
    The smoke, above his father’s door,
    In gray soft eddyings hung:
    Must he then watch it rise no more,
    Doom’d by himself, so young?

    Yes, honor calls!—with strength like steel
    He put the vision by.
    Let dusky Indians whine and kneel;
    An English lad must die.
    And thus, with eyes that would not shrink,
    With knee to man unbent,
    Unfaltering on its dreadful brink,
    To his red grave he went.

    Vain, mightiest fleets, of iron fram’d;
    Vain, those all-shattering guns;
    Unless proud England keep, untam’d,
    The strong heart of her sons.
    So, let his name through Europe ring—
    A man of mean estate,
    Who died, as firm as Sparta’s king,
    Because his soul was great.

  12. tzabiega says:

    I actually applaud the Obama government for not showing up at the Paris rally. Charlie Hebdo is a disgusting, pornographic magazine that has included covers with a nun being sodomized by a crucifix, two priests sodomizing each other, and Jesus Christ sodomizing another man and being sodomized by the Masonic symbol. Do a google search and see what I mean. I don’t agree with the jihadists killing the filthy cartoonists who produced pornographic cartoons of Mohammad, but I would not show up at a rally in support of such “freedoms” to publish sacrilege and insult religions. I wonder if the leaders who showed up in Paris would show up to a rally if a group of Catholic journalists were killed by homosexual terrorists for opposing gay marriage? I highly doubt it. Obama and Holder were right to stay away, as Charlie Hebdo is an insult to any religious person. Even in the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo, the magazine applauds the desecration of Notre Dame Cathedral by the Femme group of radical feminists. I agree with Pope Francis, the journalists at Charlie Hebdo were not supporting legitimate freedoms and should have been punched by those who were insulted (but not killed).

  13. Rob22 says:

    The Pope is being roundly criticized for his free speech comments. In the US we have free speech and the Pope is way off trying to deny it.

    First Things had a scathing critique of the Pope on this and his secularism.

    Michael Savage today reported on a number of bad Popes. He said all Popes are not good. They are just men.

    He is outraged at the Pope embracing the radical green climate agenda as is Steve Moore who wrote about this in Forbes.

    Francis to me seems to be embracing the one-world socialist Soros agenda.

  14. Rob22 says:

    This post on the First Things blog has gone viral on the net and is what I referred to above.

  15. jacobi says:


    The trouble is we have allowed Islam to set the rules. Our leaders, including our leaders in the Church, have allowed this.

    This has got to change. If they want to live in Western Society they must accept out rules. Satire, within limits and we no doubt can discuss those limits, must be allowed and the limits agreed, not dictated.

    Sharia Law, now increasingly called for as Muslims congregate into regions, must be a no-go.

    Also we Catholics must look beyond our own noses. Christians are being slaughtered in their thousands in the Middle East and Africa but only in the last week or so has this been widely reported, even in the Church. So much for the liberal’s insistence on PC and “race equality”.

    And so on.

  16. Rob22 says:

    ITA Jacobi.

    The Pope and Muslim attack on free speech (the 4 imams who issues the statement with the Pope) was curious in not mentioning freedom of religion. If the Pope is going to embrace the Muslim effort to shut down criticism of Islam then he should at least in turn ask the imams to call for – oh say, open Christian religion practice in Saudi Arabia.

    This was a politically correct statement that harms Christians.

    And why has the Church been so quiet on the Christian slaughter in Nigeria. Satelite photos released today showed the horror.

    Instead of wasting his time on an climate change encyclical the Pope should be putting efforts into supporting persecuted Christians.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    tzabiega, if only that were the reason Obama nor Holder attended the Paris rally. Indications are that this had nothing to do with the pornographic nature of Charlie Hedbo cartoons. I have not heard the White House mention this as a reason at all. They stated they were concerned about “security”. In other words, they were afraid of the terrorists. Great leaders in history have faced danger head on, in order to send a message to the people who bring the threat, and the people who look to them for leadership, much like when the much maligned President George Bush threw out the first pitch of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York City just after the 9/11 attacks. What it said to Americans is “Everything is ok. Here I am out in the open, and we do not have to be afraid. Life goes on and your government is on this.” He said as much, stating “We will smoke them out of their holes if we have to.” Obama sent us a message too, but vastly different from that one. I hope it is only that he is afraid, even though I can’t respect that. My fear is it may mean much more.

  18. SKAY says:

    ” Obama sent us a message too, but vastly different from that one. I hope it is only that he is afraid, even though I can’t respect that. My fear is it may mean much more.”

    Exactly, Kathleen10.

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