- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 28, 2011

Islamists are targeting Western Muslim porn stars. This is how far the West has fallen: The porn star versus the Koran. Sila Sahin, a daytime TV soap-opera star, has sparked a public firestorm in Germany. The 25-year-old actress appears topless on the current cover of the German edition of Playboy. By Western standards, Ms. Sahin’s behavior is typical, even tame. She is an amoral celebrity hoping to cash in on her fame by baring it all. Been there, done that. Marilyn Monroe, Drew Barrymore, Daryl Hannah - the list goes on of celebrities who have posed for Playboy.

Yet Ms. Sahin is Muslim. Raised in Germany by conservative Turkish parents, she is casting her actions as a form of personal liberation, a brave rebellion against the strict moral standards and repressive sexual norms of her traditional religious upbringing.

“For years I subordinated myself to various societal constraints,” Ms. Sahin said in Britain’s Sun newspaper. “The Playboy photo shoot was a total act of liberation.”

She added: “What I want to say with these photos is, ‘Girls, we don’t have to live according to the rules imposed upon us.’ “


I am woman, watch me pose. Ms. Sahin is the new darling of European feminism, while she is despised by Germany’s burgeoning Islamic community. It is calling upon the country’s 3 million Muslims to boycott Ms. Sahin. She has been branded a “Western slut” and “whore.” Her father reportedly is ashamed and shocked by her behavior. Her mother is no longer speaking to her. Many Europeans are simply baffled: Why would any self-respecting parent object to their daughter being in Playboy? Isn’t that the goal of every young woman?

Her parents are rightly outraged by her shameless behavior. Ms. Sahin has not been the victim of some extreme fundamentalist upbringing. She was not forced to wear a burqa or denied the right to work or go to school. In fact, by all accounts, her parents supported her career aspirations and desire to be a TV actress. They just don’t want their daughter degrading her body. In other words, they value something most Europeans - and Americans - no longer do: chastity.

Ms. Sahin is a fool - and a shameless libertine. She is peddling the central myth of modern feminism: Women’s empowerment and sexual permissiveness go hand in hand. They do not: Usually licentiousness leads to brief moments of pleasure followed by long periods of loss, unhappiness and associations with those who are equally self-centered and debauched.

The greatest revolutionary of the 20th century was not Vladimir Lenin or Adolf Hitler, but Hugh Hefner. The founder of Playboy launched the sexual revolution of the 1960s. He championed the “Playboy Philosophy”: If it feels good do it. Over the past 40 years, the Playboy Philosophy has triumphed in the West, having replaced traditional Christian values.

Ms. Sahin is its latest victim and a symbol of the West’s decadence. Yet Germans are now waking up to another horror - that many of their fellow Muslims want the actress to be killed.

Islamic websites have posted threats. “She must pay,” one said. “She needs to be very careful,” another warned. German TV crews then asked some ordinary Muslims on the street what they thought of Ms. Sahin’s actions. To their shock, some openly espoused the right to honor killing. A kebab shop owner vowed that if she were his daughter, “I would kill her. I really mean that. That doesn’t fit with my culture.”

Honor killings are on the rise in Germany and throughout Europe. For numerous Muslims, public criticism and social ostracism is not enough; only violence can ensure that Shariah law is enforced. The contradiction of multiculturalism is that it seeks to accommodate simultaneously both radical Islam and contemporary liberalism: the crescent and the condom. The problem, however, is that they are locked in a mortal struggle - and only one side will emerge victorious.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Europe’s socialist upper class has argued that Islamic terrorism is essentially the result of American imperialism, especially in the Middle East. The real blowback, however, is not geopolitical - it is cultural. Pornography; drugs; abortion; homosexuality; family breakdown; our narcissistic obsession with celebrity, fame and sex - all of this is triggering profound revulsion across the Muslim world. More than our foreign policy, it is our decadence that inspires such hatred and contempt.

Western freedoms are therefore assaulted regularly by a more self-confident culture than ours: Burning Korans, publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, and now Muslim actresses posing nude - what we consider freedom of expression, many Muslims view as provocative and blasphemous. Our moral relativism, however, is no match for militant Islam. If this battle of civilizations comes down to a contest between Hugh Hefner and Osama bin Laden, I am putting my money on the latter to win. Only a confident civilization anchored in natural law and its Judeo-Christian roots can prevail over radical Islam. Our permissive porn culture cannot withstand the jihadists.

“I think what she did was either very brave or very stupid,” said a German police officer. “She will be double-locking her door at night for a long time to come.” Sadly, Ms. Sahin eventually may pay the ultimate price: her life. She will learn - tragically - that her fellow feminists, those applauding now, will not be there in her moment of need. In the West, no one is willing to die to defend a porn star. What Mr. Hefner doesn’t teach his proteges is once you bare it all, you already are yesterday’s news.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.