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By Ben Shapiro
Jewish Journal 

Denounce Sharia everywhere


This week, the Hollywood left finally discovered something it had apparently been missing for the last few decades: Countries that impose Islamic law, known as Sharia, brutally violate human rights.

This shocking realization came after the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, who owns the Beverly Hills Hotel, announced on May 1 that Brunei, a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, will implement Sharia, which dictates that homosexuality and extramarital sex be punished with penalties including stoning and amputation. Hollywood reacted with morally righteous indignation, staging protests outside the pink hotel where the preening elite sheltered during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

Over the past week, industry groups have relocated events away from the hotel, thanks to Ellen DeGeneres, the Motion Picture & Television Fund and other celebrities’ spasmodic interest in Islam’s violation of human rights.

Welcome to the party, gang. Wish you could have shown up to fight against folks who labeled the war on terror “Islamophobic” and Sharia law worries as racist, while simultaneously labeling domestic conservatives the “American Taliban” and whining about lack of taxpayer-funded birth control pills. Oh, wait. That was you.

Where were you when Tom Hanks was blathering that the war on terror was based on racism and xenophobia? When Woody Harrelson said that the Bush administration pursued “perpetual war” based on racism? When the Council on American-Islamic Relations—an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism case—forced Fox to run disclaimers about the wonders of Islam during “24”? When Michael Moore lamented the Bush era as an “ugly chapter” of Islamophobia in American history?

It turns out that Hollywood’s fresh moral clarity only extends as far as the penthouse suite over at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Countries all over the world practice Sharia, discriminating against women, homosexuals, Christians and Jews. Many of those countries currently fund Hollywood’s biggest stars, work with groups to whom Hollywood kowtows, or own Hollywood’s favorite hotspots.

Matt Damon, for example, took cash from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to make his 2012 box office dud “Promised Land,” a diatribe against fracking. (Naturally, the UAE opposes fracking, given that it could undercut the moneymaking capacity of oil-rich dictatorships.) The UAE operates under Sharia law, which includes death as a punishment for homosexual activity—but that didn’t seem to trouble Damon.

Speaking of the UAE, the Dubai Film Festival draws the best and brightest of Hollywood to that emirate each year, including human rights activists George Clooney, Richard Gere, Ben Affleck and Oliver Stone. Another emirate, Abu Dhabi, has inked rich deals with Warner Bros., Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures. Where’s the outrage?

If the Hollywood set really wants to get serious, perhaps they’ll take a look at separating from Al Gore, who reportedly earned $70 million when the government of Qatar bought Current TV for $500 million. Sodomy is currently punishable by jail time in Qatar. Or, perhaps Hollywoodites will turn their attention to major universities such as Harvard, Columbia and University of California at Berkeley, all of which have accepted major money from the government of Saudi Arabia, a country that punishes homosexuality with death and lashings, whose infamous treatment of females has been common knowledge for years.

No doubt, Hollywood has all of these targets lined up for boycott. Or perhaps they’re too busy targeting Donald Sterling, the 80-year-old owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, who was caught on tape making racist statements. Sure, Hollywood could have targeted Sterling years ago, based on his alleged racist tendencies toward tenants. Now, they’re the finger-wagging thought police, even as they give awards to Woody Allen and Roman Polanski.

Or maybe they’re too busy promoting the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter, in the wake of Islamic terror group Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 276 teenage girls in Nigeria last month. Sure, they could have spoken out years ago, placing a spotlight on the rise of a monstrous terror group responsible for tens of thousands of murders. But at the time, they were too busy campaigning for President Barack Obama’s re-election, on the slogan that Osama bin Laden was dead and Detroit was alive. Now, they’re tweeting at a group of terrorists who couldn’t care less what’s trending.

If those causes don’t suffice, there are certainly other exercises in useless self-esteem building by the masters of unearned moral superiority. Because that’s what Hollywood does.

Make no mistake: Hollywood has tremendous power in the public mind. Hollywood singlehandedly shifted American opinions on same-sex marriage, as Vice President Joe Biden rightly pointed out. (It also shifted American opinions on single motherhood, as former Vice President Dan Quayle was excoriated for rightly pointing out.) When Hollywood speaks, people listen. That’s why the Sultan of Brunei reportedly has hired crisis strategist Mark Fabiani, a former Clinton administration insider, to spin the boycott.

The problem is that Hollywood’s selective sense of justice is just that—selective. It’s always geared toward cocktail circuit popularity, not toward consistent moral standards. That’s fine when they’re targeting the right people, but let’s hold them to a higher standard—the standard of common decency. Which means they should apologize to all those they slandered as Islamophobes for opposing Sharia law, and start calling their travel agents and accountants to cut ties with Sharia law supporters. 

This opinion piece ran in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles on May 14.


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