The battle for the freedom of speech is heating up this week, with Elon Musk chasing out the Twitter fascists and beginning to open up the platform for free discussion and dissent (amid howls of rage from the Left), but the other social media giants are showing no signs of retreating from their fascism. New English Review Press announced Sunday that a book it published back in 2017, The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology by the renowned ex-Muslim scholar Ibn Warraq, has been pulled for sale from Amazon without explanation or the possibility of appeal.
It’s a strange move. I have the privilege and honor of having known Ibn Warraq for many years and calling him my friend. I’ve also read The Islam in Islamic Terrorism. Before I met him, his groundbreaking and courageous work Why I Am Not A Muslim was a powerful influence on me in the 1990s and had a great deal to do with my beginning to write about jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women myself. Ibn Warraq is a gentle soul, a careful scholar, a superb writer, and a profound and original thinker. The Islam in Islamic Terrorism is not some flame-throwing hate screed but a carefully documented exploration of the elements of Islam that jihad terrorists use in order to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims.
Amazon, however, is run by Leftists, and for Leftists, any criticism of Islam, including any hint that it may have some connection to Islamic terrorism, is “Islamophobic” and thus to be rejected out of hand without any discussion of the actual evidence. For years now, the notorious far-Left smear machine, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has defamed opponents of jihad violence and Sharia oppression as “hate group leaders,” and Amazon has banned counter-jihad 501c3 charitable organizations from its Amazon Smile charity program on the basis of the SPLC’s “hate” listings.
Amazon has also shown a readiness to ban books that counter the Left’s nonsense. A few years back, the Leftist behemoth banned Ryan Anderson’s When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. It has also banned other books that jihadis and their allies would find offensive, such as Peter McLoughlin’s Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal, and Mohammed’s Koran by McLoughlin and British activist Tommy Robinson.
Leftists will say, as they always say to criticism of the social media giants, that Amazon is a private company that can do what it wants and that if patriots don’t like it, they can start their own bookstore. Remember bookstores? There used to be many in every American city. They all had different selections, based on the owners’ perspectives and interests. But now they are almost all gone. Amazon dominates the book market, and Barnes & Noble takes most of the rest. If Amazon decides that your book is not acceptable, then most people who are interested in books will never have the opportunity to see it at all.
In earlier, less polarized times, the U.S. government determined that several monopolies — Standard Oil, American Tobacco, AT&T — were not in the public interest and compelled them to break up. It would be a great boon for the freedom of speech if Big Tech were subjected to this treatment, but the U.S. government as it is currently constituted is more likely to act against Musk for protecting the freedom of speech on Twitter than against the other social media giants for suppressing that freedom. The American people would also benefit immensely from the breakup of Amazon and reconstitution of bookstores that reflect differing points of view with selections that reflect not just Amazon’s doctrinaire Leftist line, but other points of view as well.
The Islam in Islamic Terrorism can still be found here. But it’s clear that Amazon is intending to shut down debate on a highly controversial issue. Even if you don’t care for the works of Ibn Warraq (which would be odd, as it would mean you don’t care for lucid, elegant prose, compelling reasoning, and a broad command of the salient facts), make no mistake: anytime Amazon pulls a book for political reasons, we are all threatened. The precedent has been set by the only bookseller that really matters today that books that are offensive to the Leftist elites can be deep-sixed at will. This precedent is dangerous and corrosive to a free society. In this age of the Biden regime’s creeping authoritarianism, it’s ominous in the extreme.