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  Fund the Truth About Islam or Lose the War of Ideas

Posted on May 1 2011 1:11 pm
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.

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One cannot tell the truth or venture one’s opinion about Islam or about Muslim behaviors without risking being slandered, heckled, censored, sued, impoverished, physically attacked, and, more rarely, murdered.

And that’s for those of us lucky enough to be living in the free West. What happens to dissident and feminist thinkers and writers in Muslim-majority countries is far worse; their bravery continues to inspire me at a very dark moment in history.

The Western punishments are as follows:

One loses one’s left, liberal, and feminist friends. One is not invited to their parties, funerals, or conferences. One is not invited to lecture. One’s past contribution is written out of their history. Meanwhile, one is forced to debate vicious liars and propagandists in order to be “heard” at all. One is shouted out of classrooms and lecture halls or forced to speak under hostile, tense, oppressive, and potentially dangerous working conditions. One requires bodyguards on campus.

In short, hate speech and delusions of appeasement have, increasingly, appropriated for themselves all the rights and privileges of free speech in the West and, in the United States, the protection of the First Amendment. Truth goes begging and truth-tellers are sued. They are not funded by the Saudi (Wahabi-Salafist) Lobby which has funded Middle East Studies programs, conferences, and scholars all over Europe and North America, nor are they funded or supported by the Iranian Axis of Evil (Syria, North Korea, Hezbollah, and Gaza’s Hamas, which has just joined with the West Bank’s Fatah in a national unity government.)

But there is also good news.

Earlier this week, Hans Erling Jensen wrote and called to inform me that he and Kurt Westergaard, the Danish Mohammed cartoonist, have just established The Westergaard Foundation to “support free speech” and to fundraise for truth-tellers whose reputations and incomes have suffered because they have dared to tell the truth about Islam. As he explained his ideas, I said: “You want to establish an economic base for those of us who are publishing samizdat, who, as thinkers and writers, have been sent to the gulag.” “Exactly,” he said.

Well, this new foundation has arrived, and not a moment too soon. I first discovered this myself in 2003 when I had to be hustled out for my own safety during a lecture. I had already begun to write and speak about Jew hatred, the demonization of Israel as the new anti-Semitism, and of course, about Islamic gender and religious apartheid and jihad.

Like many others, I have been mocked, ostracized, and slandered for my continued work in these areas. I have lost friends and colleagues. I have also lost publishers as well as lecture opportunities—in short, I have been economically “fined” for my work. Here are only two among hundreds of examples.

A book that I published in 2005, The Death of Feminism, documents the way in which Islamic gender apartheid has penetrated the West. My American-based publisher had me work very closely with a First Amendment lawyer, full-time, for a solid month, almost around the clock. He was entirely satisfied—but the British-parent company still chose not to risk publication in the UK.

Not a single European publisher has translated this (dare I say) very powerful and still relevant book.

Just today, I received word that the Europe-based editor of many of my previous books, who is now at another publishing house, had rejected this work which had been hand-carried to him by a mutual friend. He said that the work was too “pro-Israel, not critical enough,” and that it failed to condemn the Sharansky vision of universal human rights which President Bush presumably relied upon. In other words, this German editor is still suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome.

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