The Left might have previously disdained fears of increasingly radicalized Islam as "Islamophobia," but now that one of their favorite totems - Gay Rights icon Lady Gaga - has been threatened, that "phobia" might not seem so unreasonable anymore.
Some background: GaGa had, until recently, planned to headline a concert in the otherwise moderate Muslim country of Indonesia. That was before sectors the native Muslim population decided to radicalize and carry out violent attacks against anyone who culturally offended them, and that includes fellow Muslims. In fact, the most high profile victim of this radicalized group is none other than lesbian Canadian Muslim author Irshad Manji, who was attacked at a discussion of her book "Allah, Liberty and Love" by mobs of angry Muslim men wielding iron bars.
Manji, who says she was shielded by other female participants at the event, mercifully came out of it with nothing but a bruised wrist. The rest of the venue was not so lucky. The mob reportedly smashed windows, crockery and computers, and tore up copies of Manji's book, screaming "Where is Manji" all the while. Hardly the sort of behavior expected of civilized human beings.
And according to their leaders, they're just getting started. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
The Majelis Mujahidin Council claimed responsibility and other extremists including the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Muslim Defenders Team have turned their attention to Lady Gaga.
The head of the front, Habib Rizieq Syihab, said the performer wanted to ''establish the evil Lucifer empire in Indonesia''. He threatened to stop her at Jakarta airport or mobilise 30,000 members to attack her June 3 stadium concert.[...]
Radical groups act with impunity from police, who, rather than enforce Indonesia's constitutional right of freedom of speech, prefer to cite ''community opposition'' and ''security'', and then shut down controversial events. National police spokesman Saud Nasution said Lady Gaga's concert had so far been denied a permit, on the recommendation of police, even though 40,000 tickets have been sold.
Given that the same radicals involved in this story have called for assassinations of liberal Muslims as a form of "freedom of expression," and blocked Christian churches from being built using violence and/or outright defiance of the law, the fact that they are targeting a performer as openly progressive and secular as Gaga should be no surprise whatsoever.
However, despite the pop star's often highly self-indulgent and sometimes offensive behavior, this is one case where her inclination to offend and push boundaries could be badly needed. So for the sake of Indonesians' freedom of expression, we hope she shows this particular radical temper tantrum a Poker Face and keeps going.