In yet another attempt to silence debate, Islamists are making strident accusations of "Islamophobia" to try to halt planned screenings of Honor Diaries, a documentary highlighting the issue of honor violence among Muslims. Screenings at the University of Michigan in Dearborn and the University of Illinois in Chicago were canceled.
"Crying Islamophobia, and thus slandering the movie's backers, Muslim groups have demanded that universities cancel these screenings," New York-based physician Qanta Ahmed wrote today in the National Review Online.
The film's critics seem to take greater issue with its funding sources than its content, including one who had a problem that "Jews produced the film."
Ahmed, a passionate critic of radical Islam, provided expert commentary in the Honor Diaries. In her column, she contrasted the incident with President Obama's honoring of activist Maha Al-Muneef during a visit to Saudi Arabia last month. Al-Muneef, a physician, was presented the U.S. Secretary of State's International Woman of Courage Award for her role in advancing a law that that protects Saudi women from abuse and domestic violence.
"If a country as religiously restrictive and theocratic as Saudi Arabia can tolerate educational and social campaigns exposing the violence against women and girls, why in a country as robust as the United States are women groups permitted to stifle public discourse in the academic sphere?" Ahmed asked.
She described political Islamism as a "variety of totalitarianism" that is different from mainstream Islam in that it seeks to push for the "supremacy of Islamist beliefs over all others." She decried political Islamists for seeking to "dominate public space" at the expense of mainstream Muslims.
"Americans must understand that these rabidly political Islamists do not represent most Muslims. Failing to acknowledge this reality not only silences victims of honor violence globally, but emboldens the increasingly aggressive political Islamists in our midst, whose ultimate goal is to silence us all," Ahmed wrote.
Honor killings among diaspora Muslim communities, murders committed after a family member shames or dishonors a family's reputation, have been on the rise in the West. In December, the FBI offered a reward for information related to Yaser Abdel Said, an Egyptian-born Texas Muslim accused in the "honor killing" of his two daughters for dating non-Muslim men.
Ahmed called on lawmakers and academics to support free and open debate on the issue instead of "abandoning difficult debate for fear of offending believers." The film may offend some Muslims, "but, if we are to have any hope of ending these abuses, the victims of honor violence need us to take the risk," she said.