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Just a couple of short months later, in response to the Chattanooga jihadi who slaughtered four Marines, one Navy officer said: “The War Has Just Begun. More to Come.”
He was right. Yet one year after jihadis attacked our Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in defense of free speech, the West is in full surrender mode. In the wake of the Garland jihad attacks, the world says: let the bullies silence you. Don’t draw Muhammad. Comply with their other demands.
Garland changed everything for my colleagues and me. Its personal toll has been enormous. It has affected our lives and our careers in innumerable ways, all of them negative. Our security costs are now astronomical. We cannot step outside without remembering that we are hunted, and at any time jihadis could strike at us.
We went into the event with our eyes open. We knew the risks. But we knew the risks were greater, for our children and our children’s children, if we allowed the freedom of speech to be destroyed by violent intimidation.
Yet still we were cast as the villains. An imam told Sean Hannity that I should be executed. Non-Muslim media and political figures agreed with him that in standing for free speech, I had provoked the jihadis. Fox News host Martha McCallum pleaded with me to respect Islam and constrain myself. Bill O’Reilly said I “spurred” the violence. Erin Burnett accused me of “relishing” being targeted for beheading.
Alisyn Camerota on CNN battled with me, trying to bully me into adhering to sharia law.