A Muslim's written complaint against Geert Wilders at his trial today claimed that "My family and I no longer feel safe in the Netherlands," because of his criticism of Islam and of Muslim communities' conduct while living in the West, and because of his film, Fitna.
The claim seems like a far-fetched sob story, but it was nonetheless part of a presentation intended to represent broader Muslim opinion in order to sway the court against Wilders. And it is part of a larger trend than this court case.
Indeed, as one recalls the past few months, there has been a detectable change in approach among Islam's spokespeople and apologists.
One hardly even sees anymore the formerly classic moves to deflect criticism of Islam's teachings: the old chestnuts like "You don't speak Arabic and you're missing the subtlety," or "You're cherry-picking verses and interpreting them out of context," or the magical apologetic sleight of hand by which the "Sahih," or "sound" ahadith suddenly become less "Sahih" when their accounts of appalling behavior by Muhammad are quoted critically by non-Muslims.
Rather, there is a curious uniformity lately in attempts to portray all criticism of Islam as incitement, and examples abound. Among others, there is Daisy Khan's assertion that opponents of the Ground Zero mega-mosque represent a kind "metastasized anti-semitism" aimed at Muslims. There is Reza Aslan's slanderous labeling of Stop the Islamization of America as a Neo-Nazi group, thus implying Nazi-like intentions on its part.
There is the Organization of the Islamic Conference which, according to this report, called a book about the Danish Muhammad cartoons "provocative and inciting," and that was even after the book had been sanitized of reprints of the individual cartoons to deflect anticipated Muslim outrage. Again: Incitement to what? It's a book about drawings!
But that doesn't stop the OIC or their sympathizers who argue, as a corollary, that all criticism of Islam that can't be assuaged with a little one-way "interfaith dialogue" must be motivated by hatred, and is thus necessarily both irrational and dangerous.
Never mind, speaking of irrational and dangerous behavior, that despite all claims to "incitement," the people getting hurt in the aftermath of various "insults" are either Muslims injured or killed in Muslim countries in protests that turn to rampages, or non-Muslims threatened, attacked or murdered at the hands of Muslims who feel it is their right and duty to seek blood as recompense for hurt feelings.
No, the facts won't stop them from pressing on to stop the discussion on all levels: more immediately, that means stopping whatever debate is currently in progress, like the one surrounding the Ground Zero mega-mosque. But more broadly, the goal as explicitly stated by the OIC is to implement "a legally binding institutional instrument" to do away with such speech.
It is in this context that such testimony against Wilders has come forth.
Granted, one may argue that Muslim spokespeople have been reduced to crying "Nazi" and alleging incitement out of desperation, because they have played all their other cards unsuccessfully, and the routine has become worn out. Unfortunately, the mainstream media have proven themselves willing enablers nonetheless. But the more the "incitement" card is played, however, the more obvious it should become to those who still "believe their lyin' eyes."
And one thing is certain: as long as Islamic groups believe this approach is working, we will see more of it.