This essay follows my article America and the epidemic of political correctness which was recently published in The Times of Israel.
One of the numerous Writers’ associations I belong to in the US responded to a comment contained in the above-mentioned article, in this manner, to my utter dismay:
“Hi Albert, The post was flagged by multiple members of the community. The problematic content was that it used abusive language toward a group of people by conflating the Muslim population with terrorists. In the future, please refrain from targeting specific individuals or whole groups of people with defamatory language.”
I have never said or written that all or most Muslims are terrorists, but rather pointed out that — for whatever reasons — Islamic terrorism is a painful factum that has negatively impacted persons on most countries outside of the «protectionist» US adversely and often… both now, and earlier in history. Everyone has a right to his or her own opinions and artistic expression; my own opinions are not driven by hatred or racism or malice, but rather out of love and respect for human rights and dignity. Just read my novels which are studied in several universities on the five continents, including in Africa.
I feel indignant, inasmuch as my loved ones have been «driven out» and harassed for several decades … by the Nazis, by anti-Semites, by Holocaust-deniers and by Islamist hoodlums terrorizing Jews and gays on the streets of France and Belgium – among them, myself, members of my own family, friends and acquaintances. All of the viewpoints in my essay have been previously expressed in my published books — which have been the foundation of my membership in Writers’ associations around the world and of my artistic reputation for several decades. To be censored by an organization that supposedly supports artistic free speech is in itself essentially an act of artistic terrorism.
There is Muslim terrorism happening everywhere, also against persons of color in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas and Australia, but the majority of victims are innocent Muslims. Shielded from the terrorism from which European countries suffer — yet, who can forget the atrocious events of 9/11? — by geography and protectionism, US authors are privileged, yet many of them are politically and culturally ignorant of what is happening outside their borders. As ‘authors’ they should promote discussion and dialogue—not censure fellow authors.
As a writer and as a member of an oppressed minority who has lived all over The World, who reads international news in several languages and who has friends and colleagues of many races, religions and cultures I take offense — personally and professionally—at the artistic censorship now inflicted upon me.
History is full of stories of artists, authors and statesmen and women who have had the Courage to stand up against institutional prejudice and censorship — and yes, thinly veiled racism against Jews, gays, women (especially Muslim women) and other minorities who find the courage to speak their mind.
I have sadly come to the realization that some of the writers’ associations I belong to are perhaps not the freedom of speech havens I had thought and needed all these years. So what is next? Will they now boycott Israel’s authors and scientists, just as has been promised by others whose intolerance of viewpoints not in harmony with their own leads them into the very cycle of hatred and xenophobia that they profess to fight against? Just because Americans decide that Muslim terrorism is not an issue in the US it is still a huge problem elsewhere.
And yet, In a statement, the National Coalition Against Censorship and other organizations dedicated to defending free expression voiced concern over calls to boycott Simon & Schuster because one of its imprints – Threshold Editions – was publishing a book by the controversial conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. The statement was endorsed by American Booksellers Association, Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, and the National Council of Teachers of English. For the details, please go to the following link:
In Europe Houellebecq, the controversial French author, won his legal case about voicing his views on Islamization.
I also urge you to get acquainted with the human rights UN WATCH organization
Finally, I would like to add the links of a few Arab journalists and commentators who write or say things about their religion and their countries’ politics that could send them to the gallows. I should stress the fact that I do not agree with some of their sweeping assertions. What I wanted to show here is that these people have the guts to express what many Americans find offensive and defamatory. Would the latter want to shut them up if they emigrated to America and voiced these same opinions???
Youssef Al-Husseini, An Egyptian commentator talking about Muslims (on Egyptian TV 19/6/2017):