Insights from Quadrant

Badthink,
banned think

Eleven years ago, back in 2008, the blog Creeping Sharia was launched on the WordPress platform, the same publishing system used by Quadrant Online. On Sunday, May 12, an item was published that went entirely unreported by the Australian press and received only fleeting attention from mainstream US media: FBI agents had raided and made arrests at a compound in backwoods Alabama allegedly being used as a training centre by an Islamist cell said to have been planning to use small children as human bombs.

It would be the last item ever published on that site, as the following day its operators were informed by WordPress that permission to continue using the blogging platform had been withdrawn for good. Creeping Sharia had earlier been alerted by both Twitter and WordPress that its recent reproduction of a Charlie Hebdo cartoon “violated Pakistan’s laws”. Yes, the laws of Pakistan, where a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, spent ten years with a death sentence hanging over her head after her Muslim neighbours accused her of “insulting the Prophet”. Now safe in Canada, the Toronto Sun reports an imam has vowed to track her down and deliver the Prophet’s brand of summary justice.

And that was it for Creeping Sharia.

Instantly and without right of appeal, the blog was put out of business. The announcement atop this post is now all that remains of a site that for more than a decade collected and collated accounts of Islamist attacks and outrages around the world. Now it is gone, flushed down the memory hole with a speed and efficiency that put the Ministry of Truth to shame.

Facebook and Twitter have been pulling the same tricks for some time, most recently scratching the right to publish on their platforms of Milo Yiannopolous (who is so little known at the Canberra Times his name was misspelled in its headline), Info Wars’ Alex Jones, Laura Loomer and Paul Joseph Watson, one of whose videos on Islam and the West can be viewed here.

These are dangerous times, and weird-bearded Islamist terrorists are only one of the hazards.

Speaking out of politically correct turn, even if only to reproduce reports collected from elsewhere, is now a red rag to corporations who have taken it upon themselves to decide what can and cannot be published, what can and cannot be read. Apparently in the case of social media outfits, the yardstick for the West is what Pakistan regards as acceptable speech. Did you ever think you would live to see such a thing?

For all who value free speech, this is the Age of Peril.

While Creeping Sharia no longer exists at its old web address, many recent years’ posts have been preserved by the Wayback Machine web archive and can be viewed via this link.

— roger franklin

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