by Robert Spencer
A firefighter puts out the Stockholm bomber's car which he set alight shortly before killing himself and injuring two passers-by.
It was only a matter of time before jihad suicide bombers started operating in Europe. And now they have begun – in yet another salvo in the war against the freedom of speech that the West has barely noticed.
“Now the Islamic state has been created. We now exist here in Europe and in Sweden. We are a reality.” So said an audio file in Arabic and Swedish sent to TT, the Swedish news agency, about 10 minutes before a jihadist suicide bomber killed himself in one of two explosions in central Stockholm Saturday, wounding two people.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in a message on Twitter Saturday termed it a “most worrying attempt at terrorist attack in crowded part of central Stockholm.” He noted that it “failed -- but could have been truly catastrophic.”
That was certainly the intent. “Now your children, your daughters and your sisters will die as our brothers, our sisters and our children are dying,” said the message to TT. But why try to unleash catastrophic death and destruction on the genteel streets of Stockholm? “Our acts will speak for themselves,” said the message, “as long as you do not end your war against Islam and humiliation of the Prophet and your stupid support for the pig Vilks.”
“The pig Vilks” is Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist who, in response to the threats and murder that ensued after a Danish newspaper published cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, published his own cartoon of Muhammad as a dog with a human head. Islamic supremacists, predictably, have targeted Vilks for death. Last spring, he was attacked while giving a talk, and jihadists also tried to burn his house down.
And so we see yet again, with this new escalation in the jihad against the West, that the freedom of speech is one of the foremost battlegrounds of this war. Jihadists like Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly (pictured at right), the suicide bomber who killed himself in Stockholm on Saturday, want to punish Western countries -- even relaxed, multicultural Sweden -- for daring to allow the freedom of expression to the extent of permitting depictions of their prophet that they find insulting. Meanwhile, the Islamic supremacists of the 57-government Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), is working at the United Nations for the same end: to compel befuddled Western governments that no longer remember why they ever protected the freedom of speech in the first place, or why that freedom is so valuable as a bulwark against tyranny, to give up that freedom in order to avoid offending Islam.
This two-pronged assault, if successful, would extinguish any honest discussion of the ways in which Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism. And that may be part of the point. For without such discussion, the West would be mute and hence defenseless in the face of the advancing jihad.
That’s why it is more imperative than ever for Western officials -- in Sweden, the United States and elsewhere -- to speak out strongly in defense of free speech, and to take firm steps to ensure the safety of people like Lars Vilks and Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist forced into hiding after originating the whimsical “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day,” which was designed to poke fun at the murderous thugs who would kill over a cartoon. It was all in fun, that is, until those thugs set their sights on Norris herself, who lost her career, her home and her very identity – while the world yawned.
The jihad bomb in Stockholm shows the price of yawning indifference to the jihad against free speech. The message called upon “all Mujahadeen in Europe and Sweden” to act: “Now is the time to strike, don’t wait any longer. Step up with whatever you have, even if it is a knife, and I know you have more than a knife. Fear no one, fear not prison, fear not death.”
Would that we would be as fearless in the defense of life and liberty against this monstrous evil.
- Mr. Spencer is director of Jihad Watch and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad (both from Regnery—a Human Events sister company) and most recently coauthor of Pamela Geller’s The Post-American Presidency (Simon & Schuster).