This article reviewing Islamophobia first appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of Providence‘s print edition. To read the original in a PDF format, click here. To receive future issues as soon as they are published, subscribe for only $28 a year.

Although persecution of religious minorities is truly worldwide, the great majority of these cases issue from two principal sources: present or former communist states and Muslim-majority nations.[i] And while much has been said about the militant character of Islamism, what is notable since 2010 is a reticence to criticize Islam itself at any level, whether here in the West or around the globe.

Noting the new reticence, Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and a contributing editor for Providence, rightly suggests that events of the last decade have helped create a climate of intimidation and fear.[ii] In turn, these recent events would seem to owe much of their inspiration to Islamic threats against Salman Rushdie back in 1989. Recall that the Ayatollah Khomeini, at the time the head of Iran’s government, issued a fatwa imposing the death sentence on Rushdie, a British-based writer, for the publication of The Satanic Verses, which Khomeini condemned as blasphemy for its portrayal of Mohammed. So that “no one else will dare to insult the Muslim sanctities,” the Ayatollah insisted it was the duty of every “zealous Muslim” to kill Rushdie.

Rushdie’s unforgivable sin was that his book was deemed insulting to Islam; a book, mind you, written by an author who never claimed to be an observant Muslim. The fallout of Khomeini’s fatwa is instructive. In 1991, Hitoshi Igarashi, a scholar of Arabic and Persian literature and history and the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses, was murdered. About the same time, the novel’s Italian translator, Ettore Caprioli, was stabbed and injured. And in late 1993, failed assassination attempts were made against William Nygaard—publisher of the Norwegian edition—and translator Kari Risvik. Relatedly, in 1993 about 40 people were killed when militant Muslim fundamentalists set fire to a hotel in central Turkey during riots resulting from the publication of excerpts from Rushdie’s book.

Rushdie would later reflect on the meaning of the fatwa, insisting it must not be seen as “an isolated act,” but rather as “part of a deliberate, lethal programme, whose purpose is to criminalize, denigrate and even to assassinate the Muslim’s world’s best, most honourable voices: its voices of dissent.” He would also implore: “Remember that those dissidents need your support. More than anything, they need your attention.”[iii] In his 2002 non-fiction work Step Across This Line, Rushdie qualifies the nature of this attention:

The truth is that there is a great struggle in progress for the soul of the Muslim world, and as the fundamentalists grow in power and ruthlessness, those courageous men and women who are willing to engage them in a battle of ideas and of moral values are rapidly becoming as important for us to know about, to understand, and to support as once the dissident voices in the old Soviet Union used to be.[iv]

In this same work, Rushdie considers the application of John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty,” and its application to the present:

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race, posterity as well the existing generation—those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error.[v]

What might Mill’s understanding of human liberty mean in our day? If Muslims, Christians, Jews, and atheists are not free to pursue truth—wherever it might lead—through dialogue and debate about things that really matter because disagreements might be deemed offensive, then “freedom” does not exist. And our lives would be lived in a land of totalitarians.

Khomeini’s fatwa had the effect of inaugurating a worldwide movement to export blasphemy laws already suppressing religious minorities and Muslim dissenters in Muslim-majority countries. One need only rehearse some of the more highly visible episodes of the last decade to be reminded that “blasphemy,” “apostasy,” and “insults” to Islam constitute a serious issue in foreign affairs, even when they remain unacknowledged specifically as such. Consider:

  • The violence involving the film In 2004, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born refugee and vocal critic of Islam,[vi] who fled an arranged marriage and ended up in the Netherlands, where she became a member of the Dutch Parliament for a season, collaborated on the ten-minute film with Dutch writer and film-maker Theo van Gogh. Submission examined the oppression of women under Islam and sparked extreme controversy, resulting in death threats against the two and the eventual murder of Van Gogh later that year.
  • The infamous 2005 controversy over the cartoons of Mohammed published in Denmark’s largest newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. The cartoons, and the media attention that they garnered, led to protests and an international boycott around the globe that extended into early 2006. Some of these escalated into violence, resulting in over 200 deaths, attacks on Danish and other European diplomatic missions, and threats and attacks on Christians.
  • In January of 2015, two gunmen stormed the Paris office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had published humorous depictions of the prophet Mohammed. Twelve people were killed and eleven injured in the attack. In 2006, the magazine had sparked controversy among Muslims for republishing cartoons of Mohammad which had first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. In November of 2011 the magazine’s offices were fire-bombed after it published a spoof issue that was “guest edited” by the Prophet Mohammad.
  • The fallout over Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address (more below).
  • The 2008 internet film Fitna by Dutch film-maker and parliamentarian Geert Wilders, which depicted Islam’s tendency to foment violence. As if to underline the premise, Al-Qaeda issued a fatwa against Wilders and the Dutch video sharing website LiveLeak. Citing serious threats to its staff, the website removed the film from its servers one day after initially releasing it. General condemnation, viewing and sales bans, demonstrations, and bans against other Dutch products characterized the bulk of international response. More significantly, Wilders was temporarily denied entry into the UK for several months, following an invitation to show his film in the House of Lords.

These are only the more highly-publicized incidents involving Muslim intolerance in recent years. The daily harassment of Christians around the world—largely (though not solely) confined to Muslim-majority nations—goes virtually unnoticed. Based on empirical evidence, the much-reported “Arab Spring,” at least for non-Islamists, has become a veritable “Islamic Winter.” Douglas Murray’s “After Regensburg, the Silence Is Deafening,” in the September 2011 Catholic Herald, puts it this way:

[I]ntimidation, thuggery and violence have succeeded in silencing criticism not only of Islam but of violence committed in the name of Islam against Christians. This now amounts to one of the great moral failings of our time…Not a week, in fact not a day, goes by when Christians are not somewhere in the world the victims of Islamist violence.

Benedict XVI at Regensburg

Few will forget the uproar among Muslims worldwide precipitated in September 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI’s address at the University of Regensburg.[vii] Entitled “Faith, Reason, and the University: Memories and Reflections,” the address combines Benedict’s reflections on teaching theology at the University of Bonn decades earlier with his assessment of the state of contemporary academic discourse.[viii]

Benedict recalls his experience in the professoriate with deep satisfaction, much of which, he notes, was rooted in the important role of the university’s theological faculty. As he puts it: “by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the ‘whole’ of the universitas scientiarum.” Even if “not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole,” Benedict continues, “It remained necessary,” particularly given the dominant social and political currents of the day, “to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith.[ix]

Of course, since Benedict (then Joseph Ratzinger) taught at Bonn, several interlocking factors have emerged to complicate the task of teaching the reconciliation of faith and reason in contemporary Western culture in general and in the European context in particular. Two specifically merit our attention.

One factor is Europe’s advanced secularization and the attendant hostility toward its own religious-cultural history. (In this regard, one need only recall the fierce debate some years ago over whether to include any religious references in the European Union’s constitution.) This element is compounded by the large numbers of Muslims immigrating to Europe. In contrast to their new European neighbors, these immigrants are vigorously pressing their own faith claims.

It is important to bear both factors in mind, for they assist us in understanding the agitated response that followed Benedict’s Regensburg address. Wishing to illustrate the symbiotic relationship between faith and reason, the Pope compares the “structures of faith” as taught in Christianity with those taught in the Qur’an. Acknowledging, by way of historical example,[x] the differing attitudes toward faith and reason in the two religions, he stresses that compulsion “is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.” This would prove consequential.

Part of Benedict’s rationale was to remind his audience of the biblical witness, which, he observes, is marked by the fact that faith is “born of the soul, not the body.” Therefore, “whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats.” Hence, to convince a reasonable soul, “one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death.” “The decisive statement” in this argument against forceful conversion, Benedict concludes, is this: “not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.”

Benedict’s address, it must be remembered, was intended to address the relationship of faith and reason in the university context and to emphasize how crucial honest dialogue between philosophical and religious viewpoints is. Its thrust was not Islam, despite Benedict finding within historic Islam a supremely relevant illustration.

For Benedict, acting unreasonably is contrary to the very nature and character of God. Benedict concludes: “It is to this…breadth of reason…that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.” “Only thus,” he observes, “do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today.”

In the end, to some in the Regensburg audience and to Muslim representatives around the world, a nerve had been struck. Following his address, not a few Muslim leaders demanded an apology from Benedict. One month after the address, a group of 38 Muslim leaders wrote the Pope an open letter that attempted to correct perceived errors in his representation of Islam while calling for greater mutual understanding between Muslims and Christians.

Precisely one year after Regensburg, in October of 2007 at the end of Ramadan, a second open letter, signed by 138 Muslims representing diverse theological traditions and titled “A Common Word Between Us and You,” was addressed—and hand-delivered—to the Pope, as well as to 26 other “Leaders of Christian Churches.”[xi] This particular document, produced at the initiative of the Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, which seeks to represent Islamic interests to governments and international bodies, called for dialogue on the basis of theological “common ground” between the two faiths. “The future of the world,” the signatories stress, “depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.” Moreover, “the basis for this peace and understanding already exists” and is “part of the very foundational principles of both faiths.” And what, according to the open letter, is said to be the basis for “peace and understanding” and “common ground” between Muslims and Christians? The answer, we are told, is “the Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbor.”[xii]

This is a remarkable claim. The assertion that a proper distillation of Islam is summarized by “love for God” and “love for one’s neighbor” does not easily square with history and the present context, particularly in those cultures where Islam is the dominant influence. While Muslims are free to practice their religion virtually everywhere in the Western world, one is hard-pressed to identify a single Muslim-majority country between northwestern Africa and Kazakhstan and Indonesia in which Christians and other minorities are free to worship without some form of regular impediment.[xiii]

If the assertions of the Muslim leaders behind “A Common Word” are to be taken seriously, they need to address this pattern not of neighbor love, but of neighbor assault.[xiv] What is needed is for moderate Muslim voices, decrying the radicalism of Islamic fundamentalism, to become the dominant voices. Muslim leaders need to be seen seeking to protect persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in Muslim lands, and courageously criticizing the violence and death promulgated by Islamists.

Tolerating the Intolerable: An Anatomy of “Islamophobia”

But it must not be thought that it is only Muslim reactionaries who deem honest dialogue offensive. Throughout the West, a notable intolerance has arisen in our day, particularly in the academy but also in the media and among cultural gatekeepers, that refuses to abide any form of criticism of Islam. Meanwhile, anything associated with Christian faith appears to be fair game for criticism, exclusion, and aggressive opposition.[xv] While it is true that departments of Islamic Studies in our universities play a role in culture-wide attempts to silence any criticism of Islam, non-Muslim academics, not to mention members of the media, politicians, and diplomats, have been all too glad to jump on the do-not-criticize-Islam bandwagon.

Enter the term “Islamophobia,” which I stumble across in my research with remarkable frequency. In what follows, my focus is less on the character of Islamism[xvi] itself than on the putative claims, emanating from both Islamists and their non-Muslim collaborators in our universities, that criticism of Islam—any criticism—is by definition “Islamophobic.”

Let me propose a new first principle of reason: Any term ending with the suffix “-phobic” should cause us to stop, reflect, ask questions, and, where necessary, push back hard. Nowadays, any term ending in our suspect suffix is, in all probability, really a conversation-killing demand to imbibe uncritically even that which appears to defy right reason and moral reality. Real intolerance against Muslims exists, no question. But the term “islamophobia” is too often deployed to inhibit rather than encourage dialogue about honest questions, concerns, or grievances.

Consider the term’s varied career. Numerous volumes have been published since 2010 bearing “Islamophobia” in their title. A survey of such works is revealing. In America Is Not Post-Racial: Xenophobia, Islamophobia, Racism, and the 44th President, the author identifies “the 25 million Americans” who are “angry and afraid of Barack Obama as president” and whose political views are “so extreme” that “they make average Tea Party supporters look like moderates.”[xvii] In chapter one we learn that these “Obama haters” are, simply, “conservatives.” An essentially companion volume telegraphs a similar argument in its title: The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims.[xviii] Chris Allen’s Islamophobia spins a twofold narrative common to virtually all of the books in this genre. It combines the twin notions of Western colonialism and Western fear (or dislike) of Muslims. Allen insists: “It is necessary…to consider the context and events that linked colonialism to the contemporary emergence of today’s Islamophobia.”[xix] The problem is not with Islamists, in spite of 9/11; it is with the West. Allen is adamant that we must get “beyond Huntington,” since writers such as Samuel Huntington (who argued that very real cultural differences lead to a “clash of civilizations”) stoke the “Islamophobic” mentality.

What is present in each of these works is the idea that actions or beliefs that are deemed—rightly or wrongly—offensive to Islam or Muslim believers are the product, apparently whole cloth, of bigotry and xenophobia in the conservative West. What is apparently absent is any willingness, both within and outside academia, to consider whether Huntington’s thesis and similar critiques might legitimately be descriptive of the religio-political problem. This pattern seems to continue if we consider other initiatives housed at respected institutions.

The “Dismantling Islamophobia” project, for instance, being offered by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, reflects on islamophobia this way:

Islamophobia in the United States has become rampant. Reports have shown that acts and threats of violence and vandalism against Muslims from March 2015 to March 2016 were at the highest levels in 15 years… But combatting this harassment in schools—and by extension, working to end broader acts of Islamophobia—requires an approach that’s different from other anti-bullying initiatives. Educators should understand Islamophobia as both a type of bullying and a consequence of bias and of misinformation that is perpetuated by the media, public figures, and local community members.[xx]

Without qualification, it is morally abhorrent when unexamined prejudice against an entire religion without any regard for the individual behaviors and beliefs of individual followers festers into violence or vandalism aimed at members of that faith. But Islamophobia is too often deployed to encompass much more than this. While leaving the term essentially undefined, “Dismantling Islamophobia” links to yet another project, the “Bridge Initiative,” which is based in Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Happily, the Bridge assures us that Islamophobia does not include “rational criticism of Islam or Muslims based on factual evidence.”[xxi] Unfortunately, any reassurance falls away on deeper exploration. Because “reliable information is hard to come by, especially about Islam, Muslims, and Islamophobia,” the Bridge provides “factsheets” on “a range of issues, individuals, and organizations that relate to…Islamophobia.”[xxii] Looking through their factsheets reveals that examples of Islamophobia apparently include folks like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maajid Nawaz, and the entire community at The National Review. Following the trend, the Bridge shows little regard for those making nuanced rational critiques based on Islamic theology or on distinctions between Islam and Islamism. Just as absurdly, when listing the causes behind Islamophobic acts and rhetoric, the Bridge cites factors such as the election of President Trump and fears regarding the Syrian refugee crisis but does not list a single act of Islamist violence as a possible contributing factor. There is no sense whatsoever that more Americans have been killed by violently radicalized Muslim believers than have Muslim believers been harmed by American Islamophobes.

A summary of the aims of “Islamophobia” apologists would appear to be to:

  • deny or rebuff (through obfuscation) Islam’s violent history and any link to terrorism;
  • deny the fact that its theocratic core assumptions together undermine a genuine democratic pluralism as understood by a proper construal of “separation of church and state” (which, for Islamists, is blasphemous);
  • attack and vilify all who take seriously the protection of the common good and who would adopt realistic policies aimed at countering the violent tendencies of Islamism;
  • prevent insults—which includes critique—of Islam; and
  • silence critics of Islam—especially Muslim reformers—in both Islamic and Western nations.

Concluding Reflections

In 2006, the organization Al-Munasirun le Rasul al Allah (“Supporters of God’s Messenger”) released a list of prominent, moderate Muslims—individuals we would consider religious and political reformers—and condemned them to death if they failed to renounce their views.[xxiii] These reformers were accused of having “departed from Islam,” of having “publicly supported leaders of unbelief, the worshipers of the cross, the Christians” and of fraternizing and cooperating with “the sons of pigs and monkeys [i.e., Jews].” For these crimes, they were given three days to “announce their repentance” and to publicly “disavow their writings in denial of the traditions of our prophet.”

We have to ask the basic questions: Who speaks for Allah? Who represents Islam? The 138 who called for mutuality between the word’s believers based on love of God and neighbor, or the monsters who threaten death to dissenters?

As the aspirations of the 138 suggest, the threat before us is not a Muslim threat, per se, but an Islamist one. Indeed, our Muslim brothers and sisters of goodwill are just as imperiled as anyone else, if not more, by those who coerce, kill, rape, maim, plunder, and destroy in the name of Islam. Those who too easily cry “Islamophobia!” and silence dissent or critique only run interference—however inadvertently—for the violent.

Recall Mill: “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is that it is robbing the human race, posterity as well the existing generation.” This applies both to “those who dissent from the opinion” and “those who hold it.” Mill was correct: to silence an opinion or dissent is itself an evil. Without the freedom to permit the clashing of truth and error, we are condemned to live in the land of totalitarians. In spite of the “post-everything” Zeitgeist that dominates the cultural climate of the West, we have reached a moment of truth. The ability to debate, disagree, reject, and yes, criticize is essential to a healthy society and to religious freedom. In truth, the great advances through the ages, whether cultural or theological, have been the results of “believers” and “unbelievers” disagreeing.

The essence of Benedict’s masterful address in Regensburg was that we in the West confront a crisis of the will. We must not fear offending others, for to fear what others think—be they Muslims or secularists, democrats or dictators—is to be paralyzed, and in the end, unable to speak and do the truth. Expressed in the reverse, our commitment to speak and do the truth, though unpopular and incurring the wrath of many in and outside our culture, must be greater than our fear of offending others. And if this is not the case, then civil society collapses, evil triumphs, and we commit cultural suicide.

In the end, we cannot avoid taking responsibility for wise social and foreign policy—policy which along the way inter alia will discriminate between Muslim moderates and Islamists.[xxiv] The tragic global situation, in which egregious human rights and religious freedom violations are widespread, is only worsened by the inaction and indifference of our own nation’s leaders in promoting what is humanity’s greatest gift: religious freedom, rooted in the sacred rights of conscience. It is surely true, as Thomas Farr, the first director of the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom and a contributing editor for Providence, has argued, that American social and foreign policy has been ill-prepared to address matters of religion, religion and the public square, and religious freedom.[xxv] The very premises and habits of thought in our general orientation toward international affairs prove this true. Political realism has been loath to make moral judgments based on religious conviction. But we need some facility in discerning the manner in which religious views inform political expression. Will those views build or destroy the common good? Do they embody justice, or do they produce inhumanity?

When religion and politics are intertwined, honest debate is essential, and such is acutely the case particularly as it informs issues such as “blasphemy” and “insulting” Islam.[xxvi] Where there is no debate and critique, there is no politics. And where there is no politics, society collapses. Thus, people of goodwill and moral fiber will need to decide whether the fear of offending others or the fear of denying the truth is ultimate. Our future depends on that determination.

J. Daryl Charles is a 2018 Affiliated Scholar of the Acton Institute, a contributing editor to Providence and the journal Touchstone, and an affiliated scholar of the John Jay Institute. He has authored, co-authored, or edited fifteen books, including most recently (with Mark David Hall) America’s Wars: A Just War Perspective (University of Notre Dame Press, forthcoming) and (with Mark Larson and Timothy J. Demy) The Reformers on War, Peace, and Justice (Wipf & Stock, forthcoming).

Photo Credit: Coptic Egyptian Christians moments before they are beheaded by ISIS militants in Libya.

[i] See, among others, Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea, Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013); John L. Allen, Jr., The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution (New York: Image, 2013); and Rupert Shortt, Christianophobia: A Faith under Attack (Grand Rapids and Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans, 2012)

[ii] Paul Marshall, “Why Religious Freedom Must Be a Top Priority,” Cardus (November 24, 2011),

[iii] Cited in Daniel O’Gorman, “Rushdie’s Non-Fiction,” in Robert Eaglestone and Martin McQuillan, eds., Salman Rushdie (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 102-3.

[iv] Rushdie, Step Across This Line, 238.

[v] Ibid., citing Mill. See John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, ann. Steven M. Cahn (Lanham and Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), 42.

[vi] Her books include The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam (2006), Infidel (2007), Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations (2010), and Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now (2015).

[vii] See: J. Daryl Charles, “Regensburg Left Behind,” Touchstone (September/October 2009),

[viii] Benedict’s Regensburg address can be found at the Vatican website:

[ix] Emphasis added.

[x] Benedict is here citing the 14th-century emperor Manuel II, in debate with an educated Persian interlocutor, on the importance of a reasoned faith. His source is Karl Förstel, ed., “Manuel II. Palaiologus, Dialoge mit einem Muslim,” in Corpus Islamico-ChristianumVol. 1 (Series Graeca, ed. A. T. Khoury and R. Glei; 3 vols.; Würzburg-Altenberge: Echter Verlag, 1993-1996), 142-143 and 240-241. In an endnote to his text, Benedict writes: “In quoting the text of the Emperor Manuel II, I intended solely to draw out the essential relationship between faith and reason. On this point I am in agreement with Manuel II, but without endorsing his polemic.”

[xi] These leaders included Bartholomew I, the Orthodox Church’s Patriarch of Constantinople, and the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.


[xiii] Few have pressed this tragic reality more forcefully than Shortt, Christianophobia (see n. 1), esp. ix-xxii.

[xiv] And they should be taken seriously, which means engaged in honest dialogue. In “Regensburg Left Behind” (see n. 9), I offer a theological critique of the vacuous “Christian response” offered by Christian signatories to “A Common Word.” The response, drafted by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, would have done better to follow the lead of the Vatican, whose own official response to “A Common Word” was more critically discerning and theologically nuanced, yet without closing doors to dialogue. The Vatican response can be accessed at

[xv] As I write, I read that the BBC has taken umbrage at Carol Monaghan, a Parliamentarian, practicing Catholic, and member of the Scottish National Party, for coming to work on Ash Wednesday with a cross on her forehead to commemorate the beginning of Lent. On its “Politics” Facebook page, the BBC has a picture of Monaghan accompanied by the question “Was it appropriate for this MP to go to work with a cross on her forehead?”[xv] It would be inconceivable that a Muslim Parliamentarian would be questioned or mocked for having observed Ramadan.

[xvi] Here I am distinguishing between Islam and Islamism. The problem is with the latter, which inspires most of the human rights and religious freedom violations around the world.

[xvii] Algernon Austin, America Is Not Post-Racial: Xenophobia, Islamophobia, Racism, and the 44th President (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2015), vii.

[xviii] Nathan Lean, The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims (London: Pluto Press, 2012).

[xix] Chris Allen, Islamophobia (London and New York: Routledge, 2016 [originally published by Ashgate, 2010]), 35.

[xx] Leah Shafer, “Dismantling Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim bullying is different from other types of harassment. Here’s how schools can work against it,” Usable Knowledge (November 23, 2106),


[xxii] Ibid.

[xxiii] I am relying on the website of the Center for Islamic Pluralism ( The CIP includes the entire text of the actual death threat, the list of 30-plus reformers who are the subject of the threat, as well as various Arabic-language websites on which the death threat appeared. Also included on the hit list were several non-Muslim intellectuals.

[xxiv] Moderate Muslims, if they are permitted to exist, alone represent the answer to the Islamist plague.

[xxv] See, for example, his essay “Religious Freedom and National Security,” in Paul A. Marshall, ed., Religious Freedom in the World (Lanham and Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), 17-22; see also Thomas F. Farr, World of Faith and Freedom: Why Religious Freedom Is Vital to American National Security in the 21st Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).

[xxvi] Marshall, “Why Religious Freedom Must Be a Top Priority” (see n. 2).