Si­lenc­ing Michael Sav­age

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Free­dom of speech is un­der as­sault. Michael Sav­age, Amer­ica’s third­most pop­u­lar ra­dio talk show host, is be­ing as­saulted. Ear­lier this year, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Gor­don Brown’s gov­ern­ment placed Mr. Sav­age on a “least wanted” list, ban­ning the fiery con­ser­va­tive from en­ter­ing the United King­dom. His name ap­peared be­side those of Is­lamist ex­trem­ists (in­clud­ing a Ha­mas ter­ror­ist), Rus­sian sk­in­heads who mur­dered more than 10 im­mi­grants and neo-Nazi white su­prem­a­cists. Ac­cord­ing to Bri­tish of­fi­cials, Mr. Sav­age poses a po­ten­tial “threat” to pub­lic safety by in­cit­ing “ha­tred” and “in­ter-com­mu­nity vi­o­lence.”

This week the Cam­bridge Union, one of Bri­tain’s most pres­ti­gious de­bat­ing so­ci­eties, re­voked its in­vi­ta­tion to have Mr. Sav­age par­tic­i­pate via video link in a panel on po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. The so­ci­ety has can­celed the Oct. 15 event. In a let­ter to the ra­dio host, the group cited “nu­mer­ous le­gal is­sues” re­gard­ing his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the de­bate.

The Cam­bridge Union should be ashamed of it­self. Mr. Sav­age rightly be­lieves that it suc­cumbed to po­lit­i­cal pres­sure from Mr. Brown’s lib­eral-left gov­ern­ment. In fact, e-mails have pub­licly emerged re­veal­ing that se­nior Bri­tish of­fi­cials — many of them with ties to the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice — placed Mr. Sav­age on the black­list in or­der to pro­vide “bal­ance” along­side nu­mer­ous rad­i­cal Mus­lims. In short, Mr. Sav­age was sac­ri­ficed on the al­tar of mul­ti­cul­tural di­ver­sity.

Bri­tain’s ban on Mr. Sav­age is a fun­da­men­tal as­sault on free­dom of speech and free­dom of the press. It is not only a po­lit­i­cal witch hunt that seeks to smear and slan­der his rep­u­ta­tion. It poses a di­rect threat to his very safety. Mr. Sav­age has been liv­ing with a gi­ant tar­get on his back; the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment’s claim that he is an Is­lam­o­phobe only en­cour­ages de­ranged Mus­lim mil­i­tants to pos­si­bly com­mit acts of vi­o­lence against him and his fam­ily — in­clud­ing mur­der. It is a li­cense for ji­had.

More­over, Mr. Sav­age has never ad­vo­cated, in­cited or sup­ported vi­o­lence against any mi­nor­ity or racial group. He is not some far right-wing, neo-fas­cist. Rather, he is a tra­di­tion­al­ist con­ser­va­tive who cham­pi­ons lim­ited gov­ern­ment, low taxes, JudeoChris­tian val­ues and winning the war against Is­lamic ter­ror­ism.

Un­like many other con­ser­va­tive ra­dio hosts, how­ever, Mr. Sav­age is not a globalist but a na­tion­al­ist. His tri­umvi­rate val­ues are “bor­ders, lan­guage and cul- ture.” He is op­posed to bu­reau­cratic cor­po­ratism, open bor­ders and free trade. In­stead, he ad­vances pop­ulist poli­cies that are de­spised by the po­lit­i­cal and me­dia class — en­forc­ing our por­ous south­ern bor­der, de­port­ing crim­i­nal im­mi­grants, re­ject­ing amnesty for il­le­gal im­mi­grants, pro­tect­ing our na­tional sovereignty and dis­tinct cul­tural iden­tity, and rev­ers­ing Amer­ica’s dwin­dling man­u­fac­tur­ing base.

The ban on Mr. Sav­age is an ef­fort by Bri­tain’s left­ist elite to de-le­git­imize and crim­i­nal­ize con­ser­va­tive thought. It is a naked at­tempt to muz­zle and cen­sor the speech of an in­di­vid­ual, who rou­tinely engages in in­tel­lec­tual com­bat — the free, open and of­ten rau­cous ex­change of ideas — on the air­waves.

It is also a cow­ardly at­tempt to ap­pease Bri­tain’s grow­ing Mus­lim lobby. For years, the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can Is­lamic Re­la­tions (CAIR) has been seek­ing to get Mr. Sav­age yanked off the air — go­ing so far as to or­ga­nize an ad­ver­tis­ing boy­cott of his show. CAIR is a vir­u­lently anti-Is­rael, anti-Amer­i­can or­ga­ni­za­tion that rou­tinely de­fends Is­lamists and sus­pected ter­ror­ists. It has tar­geted Mr. Sav­age be­cause of his bold calls to con­front the ris­ing tide of rad­i­cal Is­lam.

Like-minded or­ga­ni­za­tions in Bri­tain have taken a page from CAIR’s play­book, de­mo­niz­ing the ra­dio host as a re­li­gious bigot and racist. Yet, if the Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties were truly se­ri­ous about curb­ing ex­trem­ism, then they would look closer to home. From Manch­ester to East Lon­don, Is­lamic mil­i­tants are openly call­ing for the im­po­si­tion of Shariah law.

An­jem Choudary, a Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ist preacher and leader of the Is­lamist or­ga­ni­za­tion al-Muha­jiroun, is a case in point. In June 2009 in Lon­don’s Red Lion Square, Mr. Choudary pre­dicted that Bri­tain would be ab­sorbed into the Is­lamic global caliphate.

“This coun­try is rife with so­cial and eco­nomic prob­lems and only Is­lam has the an­swer. Mus­lims are mul­ti­ply­ing at a rate eight times faster than the kaf­fir [in­fi­del],” he said in a speech to al-Muha­jiroun’s mem­bers. “In a cou­ple of gen­er­a­tions this will be a Mus­lim coun­try, in­shal­lah [if Al­lah wills it]. We will dom­i­nate this coun­try, my broth­ers, and im­ple­ment the beauty and per­fec­tion of Is­lam.”

The crowd re­sponded with cries of “God is great” and “Shariah for the UK.” Mr. Choudary may be a fa­natic, but the de­mo­graph­ics are on his side.

By 2050, one-third of Bri­tain’s — and most of Europe’s — popu- la­tion will con­sist of im­mi­grants. The pro­por­tion of Mus­lims will be even higher due to soar­ing birthrates and con­ver­sion. Bri­tain — like France, Ger­many, the Nether­lands and Italy — cur­rently has a seething, young and largely unas­sim­i­lated Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion. Those num­bers will only grow.

Is­lamic fun­da­men­tal­ism is tak­ing root in the land of Shake­speare and the Magna Carta; al­ready, Eng­land has more than 85 courts that ad­here to Shariah. Lon­don is slowly be­ing trans­formed into “Lon­don­istan.”

Bri­tain’s an­swer is to si­lence the likes of Mr. Sav­age, hop­ing this will pla­cate the grow­ing mon­ster within its midst. It will not work. It will only whet the lim­it­less ap­petite of the rad­i­cal Is­lamists who hunger for im­pe­rial ex­pan­sion and cul­tural dom­i­na­tion.

Con­ser­va­tives — of all stripes — should rally in de­fense of Mr. Sav­age’s right to speak freely. His strug­gle is our strug­gle. If we aban­don him now, we risk even­tu­ally jeop­ar­diz­ing our very own sa­cred free­doms.

Jef­frey T. Kuh­ner is a colum­nist at The Wash­ing­ton Times and pres­i­dent of the Ed­mund Burke In­sti­tute, a Wash­ing­ton-based think tank.

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