The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s “Islamophobia” Campaign against Freedom

Dr. Mark Durie

Dr. Mark Durie

By Andrew E. Harrod:

The “quite formidable” Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) “has really escaped the notice of a lot of foreign policy observers,” religious freedom scholar Nina Shea noted at a January 17, 2014, Hudson Institute panel.  To correct this deficiency, Shea moderated an important presentation on the OIC’s stealth jihad against freedom by her “old friend” Mark Durie, an Anglican theologian and human rights activist.

As Durie’s PowerPoint presentation available online noted, the 1969-founded OIC headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, contains 57 mostly Muslim-majority states (including “Palestine”).  The second largest international organization after the United Nations (UN), the OIC is a “major global voting block” at the UN and unique in being the “only such organization devoted to advancing a religion.”  The OIC is “largely funded by Saudi Arabia,” Shea noted, having contributed $30 million to the 2008 budget, far greater than the next largest contribution of $3 million from Kuwait.

Ominously, the OIC has been “lobbying assiduously” since about 2000 against “Islamophobia,” Shea observed.  “Islamophobia” was analogous to “homophobia,” Durie’s PowerPoint elaborated, an analogy previously noted by Islamic sharia law expert Stephen Coughlin and analyzed by this author.  A “[n]arrow reading” of this “deep-seated and irrational fear about Islam or Muslims” would encompass only prejudices such as the “xenophobic aversion to Muslims” of some.

A “[b]road reading” by the OIC and others, though, condemns “all expressions of opposition to or disapproval of Islam” as “irrational and manifestations of prejudice.”  “Islamophobia is a deliberate scheme to distort the teachings and principles of peace and moderation engrained in Islam,” the PowerPoint quoted from the OIC’s 2013 Sixth OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia.  “9/11 came as a long awaited opportunity,” the report specifies, “for the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim elements in the West to set in motion their well orchestrated plan to slander Islam and target Muslims by equating terror with Islam and Muslims.”  Such bigots were “just hanging out” and waiting for Al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks, Durie mocked.

The OIC and its recently retired Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu assume that the “Islamic religion is under attack,” thereby posing an “atmosphere of threat to the world,” Durie stated.  Yet American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) hate crime statistics in Durie’s PowerPoint belie this Islamic victimhood, with attacks upon Jews far outstripping those on Muslims in 2012 (674 to 130).  Western states in the past have also often aided their Muslim minorities and Muslim countries, such as when the British government donated land for the United Kingdom’s first mosque, London Central Mosque.

The “Islamophobia” campaign, moreover, manifests the distorted subordination of human rights to Islamic sharia law present throughout the OIC’s 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.  Therein rights such as free speech may not contradict the Koranic phrase “what is good” according to Islam.  Similar distorted sectarianism is evident in the juxtaposition of OIC documents on “Combating Islamophobia” internationally and OIC-supported UN resolutions such as 16/18 in the Human Rights Council advocating religious equality.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

Also see: Video: Mark Durie on the OIC and Free Speech Implications of a Proposed Ban on “Islamophobia (counterjihadreport.com)

Video: Mark Durie on the OIC and Free Speech Implications of a Proposed Ban on “Islamophobia

oic conferenceHudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom:

(Very good Q&A begins at 34:00)

“Islamophobia” is a widely used yet vague and controversial term referring to anti-Muslim bigotry. In recent years, identifying, monitoring, reporting on, and working to ban Islamophobia worldwide has been a major focus of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The OIC is an international body of 56 member states that is based in Saudi Arabia and active within the United Nations. While the United States has formally recognized its work in the past – US ambassadors have observed its sessions and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-chaired some of its meetings – American awareness of the organization remains scant.

In 2007, the OIC began issuing regular “observatory” reports on Islamophobia, and since 2009 has published monthly bulletins that cite primarily Western examples of Islamophobia.

Is Islamophobia a serious problem, or is the term itself an ideological cudgel designed to incite fear and criminalize dissent? Dr. Mark Durie discussed these and other basic questions related to the OIC’s efforts to ban Islamophobia. Click here for his PowerPoint.

Mark Durie is an Anglican pastor, theologian, author, and human rights activist. A fellow of the Australian Academy for the Humanities, he is a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at the Melbourne School of Theology, and the Director of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness.

Hudson Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Religious Freedom Nina Shea moderated this discussion.

For more videos of Mark Durie go here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL56A31DB2DE8D692D and http://vimeo.com/search?q=mark+durie

Victims of Sharia on International #HumanRightsDay

VOSAN7-23010 December 2013, Basel, Switzerland: Today – on United Nations Human Rights Day 2013 – the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA) launched a new program: Victims of Sharia Action Network.  The program will highlight the problem of sharia-inspired human rights abuses around to world to mobilize public opinion and action on behalf of the victims of sharia.

Program Director Chris Knowles said:

“Victims of sharia have suffered in silence for long enough.  The International Civil Liberties Alliance will give them a voice . The legal, political and frequently barbaric doctrines of Sharia result in human rights abuses and flagrant disregard for civil liberties in violation of international norms and national legal codes. ”

ICLA now has a form on its website to enable victims of sharia, their family members, lawyers, or community activists to submit details of specific sharia-based human rights abuses.  This form may be accessed at http://www.libertiesalliance.org/victims-sharia-action-network/vosan/.

For many years the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been trying to extend the reach of sharia by demanding a global blasphemy law.  At the same time terms such as “Islamophobia” have been put into circulation to blame the victims of sharia abuse rather than its perpetrators. Meanwhile, within OIC countries like Pakistan, sharia is being used as an instrument to terrorize religious minorities.  VOSAN will take a two-pronged approach.  The program will expose and confront human rights abuses caused by sharia within Muslim-majority OIC member countries, as well as abuses of civil liberties and human rights caused by accommodation to sharia doctrine in Western democracies.

VOSAN will focus public attention on cases of sharia-based doctrinal violations of human rights and norms of civil liberties, including: undermining freedom of expression, institutionalizing inequality before the law, encouraging cruel and unusual punishments, providing justification for gender-based inequality, promoting homophobia, persecuting apostates, and inciting the expansion of this systematic discrimination and violence to all countries, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

In 2014, Victims of Sharia Action Network will expose, confront and advocate against sharia abuses, always with a focus on specific cases to engage public interest and advocacy:

• Highlighting specific sharia-related human rights abuses and engaging in public education on representative cases, generating “Top Ten” lists for priority public action;

• Opposing the enforcement of Islamic blasphemy laws to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

• Campaigning for an end to sharia-based human rights abuses in OIC member states and other countries with a significant Islamic population.

• Raising the issue of sharia abuses of human rights and denial of civil liberties in international forums such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the European Parliament.

• Encouraging Muslim reformers to partner with the VOSAN programme on specific cases, to free sharia’s victims.

• Lobbying national governments to make combatting sharia human rights abuses a priority of their foreign policy.

• Supporting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by campaigning for the non-recognition of the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam on the grounds that it withholds basic human rights from both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

VOSA is an implementation of the Brussels Declaration launched by ICLA in the European Parliament in July 2012.  The Brussels Declaration http://www.libertiesalliance.org/brusselsconference/2012-brussels-declaration/ aims to preserve free speech, civil liberties, human rights and democracy, against all efforts to injure and usurp those universal principles.

More information may be found at: http://www.libertiesalliance.org/victims-sharia-action-network/vosan/

Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the Defensive Over Shariah in America

20110225_Shariah4Americaby CLARE M. LOPEZ

For all who’ve been working hard to educate Americans on the facts about  Islamic Law (shariah), there are some encouraging signals. The Organization  of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and its affiliated network, including the  Muslim Brotherhood in America, would seem to be in full-on defensive mode about  shariah if a recent Brotherhood conference and a couple of new reports are  indicative.

At the Muslim American Society (MAS)-Islamic  Circle of North America (ICNA) conference in Chicago, Illinois 21-25  December 2012, a few thousand mostly Arabic speaking Muslims circled the wagons  for a five-day program aimed at rousing them to defense of Islam. The Islamic  Circle of North America (ICNA), acknowledged in the Brotherhood’s 1991 “Explanatory  Memorandum” as one of its organizations, and the Muslim American Society  (MAS) co-sponsored the 11th Annual MAS-ICNA  Convention. The Convention speakers roster featured Tariq  Ramadan, scion of the Brotherhood’s al-Banna founding family; Nihad  Awad, the Executive Director of HAMAS’  U.S. branch, CAIR  (Council on American Islamic Relations); Siraj  Wahhaj, Imam of the al-Taqwa Mosque in Brooklyn, NY and included on a list  of unindicted  co-conspirators from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial;  and  Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA),  the largest Muslim  Brotherhood front group in the U.S.

The Convention theme of “Renaissance” was all about getting American Muslims  to experience a “double revolution in intellect and psychology,” as Ramadan put  it, so they’d be energized enough to stand up to an alleged atmosphere of   “Islamophobia” in the U.S. that has shariah in its sights. This theme, of  course, is straight out of the OIC’s “Islamophobia  Observatory” which hyperventilates about such things at Foreign Ministers  meetings and in regular reports posted to its website.

A 19 January 2013 report from the Brookings Institute’s Doha Center entitled,  “A  Rights Agenda For The Muslim World,” presents a full-throated apologia for  the OIC’s allegedly frustrated efforts to get its recalcitrant member states to  integrate shariah with modern international standards on human rights. The  problem seems to be that the OIC allows some of those countries with a “conservative  brand of Islam” too much leeway to cling to their  “emphasis  on national sovereignty,” which just wrecks the OIC Secretary General  Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu’s sincere efforts to implement more effective “supra-national  human rights mechanisms.”  Apparently, according to the report’s  author, Turan Kayaoglu, Ihsanoglu wants to make human rights the centerpiece of  the OIC agenda, which Turan says “shows  a gradual move away from emphasizing the centrality of shariah.” Supposedly,  Ihsanoglu increasingly is willing to “discuss  these issues in the context of international human rights rather than  exclusively within that of Islamic law and tradition.” A quick check of the  OIC website shows the “Islamophobia Observatory” is still up and the Human  Rights page features the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 (the one  about restricting free speech criticism of Islam) and other items about “combating intolerance,  negative stereotyping, and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to  violence and violence against persons, based on religion or  belief“-i.e., Islam.

Nothing much about international standards of human rights superseding  shariah anytime soon, but the OIC did establish an “Independent Permanent  Commission on Human Rights” (IPHRC) in 2011, the Brookings report says, that is  supposed to “promote  the civil social, and economic rights enshrined in the organization’s human  rights documents.” Of course, the 1990 Cairo  Declaration that abrogates the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human  Rights in favor of shariah is still posted in its usual spot on the OIC’s Human  Rights page, so maybe they just haven’t gotten around to updating that yet. But  in the meantime, the OIC wants everyone to know that its focus on shariah is  definitely on the wane. Really.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Islamic Scholars: American Muslims Must ‘Prosecute Those Who Offend Islam’

by: Dave Reaboi

The most prestigious group of Sunni Islamic scholars and jurists in the world called on American Muslims to “immediately start legal action to prosecute those who offend Islam” and called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to wage lawfare against those who insult Islam and its prophet.

The statement—issued in Arabic this past weekend on the website of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), and signed by the Arab world’s leading shariah authority, Yusuf al-Qaradawi—sheds light on the cause of riots around the Muslim world, and illustrates the importance of mainstream Islamic law as a cause of the rancor generated by the YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims.”

The IUMS’s statement, as well as Qaradawi’s influential imprimatur, is a significant escalation in the Islamic world’s offensive to institute shariah globally and criminalize criticism of Islam.

The Islamic governments of Egypt, and Iran—as well as Muslim clerics both abroad and in the United States—have since echoed the essence of the IUMS statement, and called for legal action against those responsible for the video which, “should be considered a violation of the rights of Muslims and an attack on Islamic symbols and holy sites.”

Understanding the Islamic legal reasoning on which this statement is based is essential. In the context of Islamic law, Innocence of Muslims constitutes an encroachment on shariah’s clear prohibition against blasphemy or slander against Islam, its prophet or on shariah itself. Furthermore, the phrase “violation of the rights of Muslims” is a 20th Century Islamic legal convention; according to the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (served at the UN in 1990), “human rights” is understood as shariah only. According to that definition, the video is a violation of “human rights.”

The statement also urges the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation—which has already taken steps to implement a Ten Year Programme to curtail speech considered blasphemous toward Islam through international law—to “adopt lawsuits” aimed at circumscribing free speech rights in non-Muslim countries.  Alarmingly, the Obama State Department has already indicated its willingness to participate in discussions along these lines, in a series of high-level meetings called the “Istanbul Process.”

Wednesday, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the OIC, pressed again for what would, in effect, be shariah anti-blasphemy laws, calling on the international community to “come out of hiding from behind the excuse of freedom of expression” and adopt  “an international code of conduct for media and social media to disallow the dissemination of incitement material.”

The 86-year-old Qaradawi, whose notorious exhortations to jihadist violence against Jews and Americans are widely available on YouTube, is an international Islamic phenomenon; he is known as the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief jurist and, as the host of al Jazeera’s “Shariah and Life,” his sermons reach an estimated 60 million viewers worldwide.

Read more at Breitbart

Islam’s OIC: The World’s Thought Police

by Mudar Zahran at Stonegate Institute:

On December 19, 2011, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the negative stereotyping and stigmatization of people based on their religion, and urged member states to take effective measures towards addressing and combating “such incidents.” This resolution, based on an initiative from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), was supported by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who hosted a closed-door three-day meeting – apparently one of many in a series called the “Istanbul Process”– in Washington D.C. with OIC representatives to discuss ways to implement the resolution.

What might sound like a step toward “tolerance,” however, is in reality an assault on freedom of speech: a UN-endorsed violation of human rights, co-sponsored by the US, and prompted by the OIC, an organization of 57 Muslim nations, most of which hold the world’s worst records on freedom of speech.

The OIC initiative for a UN resolution against “defamation of religion” is not new; the OIC has been promoting it for the last 13 years despite earlier opposition from Western countries. What changed recently was dropping the word “defamation of religion” and stressing “freedom of speech”– something about which Secretary of State Clinton seems to be enthusiastic.

What resulted, however, from this new “Resolution 16/18,” as it is called, is a US-endorsed UN proposal that urges the restriction of freedom of speech by using a vague terms, such as combating “religious profiling” – a term that can be interpreted by anyone any way he likes.

Placing such language into an international legal context forces people to have to think twice before practicing their constitutionally-secured right of free speech – in the US, at least — when it comes to discussing religion.

What is also alarming, even to me as a practicing Muslim, is the fact that the resolution seems to revolve around just one religion: Islam. But will the OIC countries implement any resolution for themselves, taking measures against their government-sponsored demonization of the Jewish faith and the systematic proliferation of anti-Semitism?

Does Resolution 16/18 mean that Muslims will still be free in their textbooks to call Jews the sons of swine and monkeys — perhaps on some trumped-up excuse that that a such a remark is not religious but “only” racial?

Will the Palestinians’ highest religious authority, the Mufti, Muhammad Hussein, still be able to say, as he did in early January at a Fatah (not Hamas) event to celebrate the 47th anniversary of its founding, that the destiny of Muslims is to kill Jews [sic], and, quoting a Hadith [a saying attributed to the prophet Mohammad] that “The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews… come and kill [them]” – and then have Palestinian TV repeat it?

Will the Egyptian police still run over unarmed Christians with armoured vehicles and burn down churches, as has happened in recent weeks? Or will Resolution 16/18 simply evolve as it has now in Egypt, where the Egyptian courts prosecute only Christians in “contempt of religion” cases, loosely based on Facebook or twitter postings of cartoons deemed to be “insulting to Islam” [AINA: Double Standard in Application of Egyptian Law], but constantly fail to prosecute members of the security services who mow down Christians with armored vehicles or torch churches?

Since the Jews have already been ethnically cleansed from most of these countries, the Christians are next in line. As they say in Arabic, “Saturday’s job first, then get to Sunday’s job.”

Will the Palestinian Authority, an OIC member, remove the signs banning Jews from entering areas under its control that are labeled “Type A-areas” and that read “Israelis [Jews] are not allowed”? Would Jordan stop banning the entry of “visible Jews” with “Jewish prayer items”?

Worse, the resolution, if implemented, would hinder the efforts of those seeking further to understand Islam, or even discuss it in an un-self-censoring way– including Muslims seeking to bring it out of its often brutal tribal roots. The values of Islam, for example, encourage the military conquest of non-Muslim nations. Although this value is within my religion, as a Muslim, I would like to see it being dropped—Now, is that a defamation of my own religion?

Is Obama’s, Clinton’s and the US’s current message that some religions are “more sacred” than others?

There is more here