The Real Agenda Behind the Push for “Islamophobia”

by Raheel Raza:

Islamists have been successful in building the Islamophobia industry: it diverts attention from activities they would probably prefer not be noticed, such as promoting sharia law in the West, stealth jihad, and a push to implement a global Islamic caliphate, among many others.

What is ironic and hypocritical about the Islamophobia hype from members of the OIC is their double-standards when it comes to minorities in their own lands. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sudan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, the Palestinian Authority and Iran are among OIC members that have appalling human rights violations against minorities.

Islamophobia has almost become a fad for a certain group of academics and Muslims across North America. 2013 was a bumper year for Islamophobia conferences in America and abroad.

  • “Islam, Political Islam, and Islamophobia: an International Conference” was held at Indiana University, Bloomington on March 29-30, 2013.
  • Islam, Politics and Islamophobia,” an international conference of the Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Chair, took place at the Indiana Memorial Union Faculty.
  • International Conference on Islamophobia: Law & Media“, hosted in Istanbul, was organized by the Directorate General of Press and Information, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and under the auspices of Mr. Bulent Arinc, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, and took place in September, 2013. The website starts off by stating “Islamophobia, which is a term used to express the groundless fear and intolerance of Islam and Muslims, has swept the world, becoming detrimental to international peace especially in recent years.”
  • The IWIC’s 2013 conference on “Women in Islam,” in Atlanta, Georgia from November 22 to 24, used the theme, “Eradicating Islamophobia.”

One would think that four conferences in one year would be enough for the International group of speakers to discuss, debate and hash out that, in their view, there is an epidemic of Muslim-bashing taking place in North America.

However it seems that these are not enough to complete the agenda of the Islamists. Therefore this year the University of California, Berkeley is hosting its fifth annual International conference on the study of Islamophobia, from April 14 to 19, 2014.

It is frightening to realize that this is their fifth such conference; the website states, “the obsessive pre-occupation of everything related to Islam and Muslims, congressional and parliamentary hearings criminalizing Muslims and violations of their civil liberties and rights, domestic and international surveillance programs exclusively on Muslims and Arabs, extra-judicial use of force on Muslims and Arabs, interventions, military campaigns, and policies rationalizing its exercise, are, in essence, what we see and bear witness in the Muslim world. These are the direct effects of latent Islamophobia.”

University of California, Berkeley is home to Professor Hatem Bazian, who directs the school’s “Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project,” and teaches a course titled, “Asian American Studies 132AC: Islamophobia.”

Seriously? A course on Islamophobia? Recently, Professor Bazian told 100 students in his class to tweet about Islamophobia – all being done to promote an agenda of “victimhood.”

 

UC-Berkeley Professor Hatem Bazian speaks on “Promoting Islamophobia” at the Occupy AIPAC Summit in 2012. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Obviously the Islamophobia conferences, the courses and the tweeting professor must find support for their self-serving propaganda somewhere. Part of this support comes from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an international organization consisting of 57 Arab and Muslim member states, including the entity of the Palestinian Authority. The organization states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.” The term “Muslim world” is offensive: no one speaks for all Muslims, and for the OIC to consider itself the “voice of the Muslim world” is dictatorial in the extreme.

No surprise, then, that on their website they have an Islamophobia Observatory, where they mention their support of Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, adopted in 2011, on “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief”.

What is ironic and hypocritical about all the Islamophobia hype by members of the OIC is their double standards when it comes to minorities in their own lands. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sudan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, the Palestinian Authority and Iran are among OIC members that have appalling human rights violations against minorities, and are routinely ignored under UNHRC Resolution 16/18.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Also see:

Free Speech Alert: Islam Rips Ever Deeper Into Europe

dont-speakBy :

As a wild beast would pull its prey closer to guard it from other predators, Islam is sinking its barbed paws ever deeper into the heart of the European Union (EU). Right under the radar of the EU, the European Parliament is considering a proposal that requires the direct surveillance of any EU citizen suspected of being “intolerant.”

The proposal is called, “European Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance”, and it intends to compel the governments of all 28 EU member states to create “special administrative units” to monitor individuals or groups expressing views that these self-styled sentinels of European multiculturalism assess to be “intolerant”… an unprecedented threat to free speech in Europe. European citizens are already habitually punished for expressing the “wrong” views, specifically concerning Islam.

Remember, it’s all those citizens “Suspected” of being “intolerant”…I guess it depends on who looks through Allah’s microscope…

For those of us who have our coffee every morning, this was predictable. First we had the establishing of an OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) office in Brussels in June 2013. This placed the influential 57 Muslim country bloc (actually, 56 sovereign states, plus the Palestinian Authority [given State status in the OIC]) at an in-your-face position to the European Parliament.

This is a doubling down of their efforts to control free speech in Europe…and the West. Something the OIC has been working arduously to accomplish at the UN. Since 1999 the OIC has attempted to have the issue of religious defamation included in UN Human Rights Council resolutions. And they’ve been making progress with elitists and fools (as if there’s a difference).

What the Sharia machine of the OIC fails to realize is…the Leftist World media/leaders, the little Islamic helper monkeys walking around with eyes wide shut…are not the only kafir out here. There is a growing number of infidels with eyes wide OPEN, who know what they’ve swept under their magic prayer rugs: Sharia Islamic Law forbids questions or criticism of Islam (including the Quran & Muhammed) of any kind. The idea of “questions or criticism” is intentionally vague and is subjective to the offended Mohammedan. It’s considered blasphemy whether it be committed by a Muslim OR non-Muslim. Sharia also calls for severe punishment, even death, for the offense.

Read more at Clash Daily

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

The U.K. aims to become the “unrivaled center for Islamic Finance” in the West.

sukukBy Jerry Gordon:

Word came from UK Prime Minister David Cameron of a plan to float a 200 Million Sterling ($324 Million) Sukuk issue next year. This would be the first Shariah compliant sovereign debt issued by a Western government. The Financial Times noted the comments of Chancellor of Exchequer Osborne who trumpeted the announcement as making the City of London the “unrivaled center for Islamic Finance”. The Wall Street Journal, in an article, “U.K. Considers Islamic Bond Sale” reported:

Treasury officials are working on details for a potential offering of Sukuk – bond-like instruments that comply with Shariah law –that could be launched early next year. The issue would raise about 200 million Sterling ($324 million) according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office.

‘This government wants Britain to become the first Western sovereign to issue an Islamic bond, “Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to say in a speech at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London on Tuesday.

Turkey issued its first $1.5 billion Sukuk in September 2012 [at the urging of the Islamic Development Bank, of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation]. Tesco PLC and HSBC Holdings PLC have issued Sukuk bonds through subsidiaries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Some $27 Billion Sukuk have been issued globally so far in 2013,  less than the  $40 billion in 2012.

The London Stock Exchange is also planning to launch an Islamic market index that will enable investors to identify companies that comply with Islamic business practices, the prime minister’s office said.

Islamic financial principles prohibit lenders from receiving interest. Sukuk offer fixed payments based on the profit generated by an underlying asset, but include no interest. The concept behind the Sukuk was explained in this Guardian article,“Could principles of Islamic finance feed into a sustainable economic system?”

*******

The U.K. announced plans five years ago to become the first Western government to issue bonds compliant with Islamic law only to disband the initiative in 2011 when the Debt Management Office said the securities don’t “provide value for money.” Shariah Finance Watch in a March 2013 post identified the growing use of Sukuk flotations as a means of forcing Shariah compliance in international financial markets. It noted:

1. Islamic issuers increasingly issue Sukuk rather than conventional debt instruments. Therefore, creditors who want to invest in the credit markets are compelled to invest their money in a Shariah-compliant way.

2. On the flipside, Islamic investors who invest in the credit markets are increasingly insisting on Shariah-compliance, thus compelling issuers/borrowers to issue Sukuk instead of conventional credit instruments, such as debentures. This is happening in the sovereign debt markets, as well as the corporate debt markets. The power wielded by oil-rich Islamic nations, institutional and individual investors makes this form of Islamic imperialism to impose Shariah-compliance globally potentially very powerful.

We wonder who are the Shariah experts that will advise the London Stock Exchange in developing the index of compliance with alleged Islamic business practice?  And how much of a split of the profits in these Sukuk issues goes to fund Zakat, Muslim charity, one purpose of which is to follow the way of Allah, Jihad?

Read more at New English Review

Saudi Arabia, the UN and the OIC

by Lawrence A. Franklin:

Saudi Arabia’s rejection of a term on the UN Security Council likely reflects its view of itself as helping to establish an alternate international order based on Sharia law. The 56-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation is already the largest international organization after the UN. For Islamists, the UN, like all secular international organizations, lacks legitimacy.

A stated Islamist goal, to replace Western civilization’s liberal democratic order with a Sharia-governed Ummah[community of Muslims], now seems to involve an effort to delegitimize Western international organizations, as seen this week by Saudi Arabia’s refusing a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Saudi Arabia’s refusal likely reflects its view of itself as helping to establish an alternative international order based on Sharia law. For Islamists, the United Nations, like all secular international organs, lacks legitimacy.

OIC vs. UN

The Islamic world threw down the gauntlet to the secular international order in 1990 when it drafted an alternative declaration of human rights, the Kairos Document, based on the Sharia law. The 56 countries of what was then called the Organization of Islamic Conference, since renamed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC], criticized the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as being insensitive to religious concepts of the non-Western world. In Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi’s October 13, 2013 statement, explaining the sudden and unprecedented rejection of a seat on the Security Council, he cites Saudi Arabia’s “historical responsibilities toward its people, Arab and Islamic nations as well as toward the peoples aspiring for peace and stability in the world.” The Saudi explanation continues by enumerating a litany of UN failures to solve problems in the Mideast. This statement underscores Saudi Arabia’s role as the capital of a shadow-caliphate alternative to the current liberal democratic international order.

 

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L), Secretary-General of the OIC Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu (2nd L), Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (3rd L) and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton (4th L) participate in the OIC conference on “Building on the Consensus” in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 15, 2011. (State Department photo)

Riyadh’s sentiment was preceded by last summer’s rebuttal — which revealed the global scope of Islamist objectives — by the Pakistani Taliban fugitive, Adnan Rashid[1], to the UN address by the heroic Pakistani Malala Yousafzai (then 15 years old), shot by the Taliban for having asked for women’s education. In a letter, Rashid denounced Malala’s naiveté for placing trust in an international organization that he claimed is a tool of the West with which to punish Islamic nations.

Rashid’s riposte, however, has an unwritten corollary. He and his fellow Islamists bear allegiance to an alternate network that exists in parallel with the institutions of the current international order, the most visible symbol of which is the OIC.[2] The OIC, which promotes Islamic social, economic, and political solidarity, is, in fact, already the second-largest international organization after the UN. It has not only attempted to negotiate disputes among Islamic factions in Muslim-majority countries, such as Iraq and Somalia, but has also helped to mediate disputes between non-Muslim-majority states and their Islamic minorities, as in the Philippines and Thailand. In adjudicating these disputes, the OIC has employed, as the legal frame of reference, the principles of Sharia law rather than international law.

One has only to examine the flag and the logo of the OIC to realize its ambition. A crescent moon encompasses the entire globe. The earth rests on a sea of green, the color of Islam, with the Kaa’ba in the center of the globe. The flag resembles the national banner of the al-Saud Kingdom (the only country among all the embassies in Washington D.C. that, on 9/11, did not lower its flag). The OIC, however, is just one of several all-Islamic multinational organs that parallel secular international community structures. There is also, for example, the International Association of Islamic Banks and several other organs for cooperation, such as the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Islamic States Broadcasting Organization.

Jihadi terrorists, as a matter of targeting policy, strike at representative symbols of the existing international order. One of the initial targets of Iraq-based al-Qaeda terrorists was the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq.[3] Pakistani and Nigerian Muslim terrorists have routinely assassinated international volunteers, even those working to eradicate deadly diseases such as polio. The most extreme assassinations have occurred in Sharia-governed northern Nigeria and Pushtun tribal areas in northwestern Pakistan, where, in both places, the murders closely followed sermons that vociferously denounced ongoing inoculation campaigns. Any form of assistance from international organizations is rejected by Muslim extremists as part of a Western conspiracy to influence Muslims to abandon their faith. Inoculations against polio, for instance, have been described by Islamic extremists as a plot to sterilize Muslim children.[4] It is more likely, however, that the radical clerics who urge believers to renounce such aid efforts are more concerned about losing control of their constituency.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

 

It’s Freedom of Speech Day!

fosACT! for America:

On September 25, 1789, Congress passed the Bill of Rights, anchored by the very important First Amendment. Today, our cherished right of freedom of speech is under assault. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) wants to criminalize speech that “denigrates” Islam. Muslim Brotherhood connected organizations and their politically correct enablers regularly engage in name calling and character assassination to silence those who dare speak out about the threat of radical Islam.

This is why, on September 25, 2013, 224 years after the passage of the Bill of Rights, patriots across America will host events and educate the public about how freedom of speech is under attack – and what we all can do to protect it.

Visit CJR’s page on The Threat to Free Speech for more.

U.S. Praises Sharia Censorship

2012-634807128700938005-93By Deborah Weiss:

The United States is silent as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) passes its most recent UN Resolution that unravels global consensus to support freedom of speech.

From 1999-2010, the OIC succeeded in passing its “defamations of religions” resolutions, which ostensibly would protect Islam from all criticism, including true statements of fact.  Though the name of the resolutions indicated that it would pertain to all religions equally, in the OIC’s interpretation, it applied to Islam only.

Realizing the clash that this concept holds with that of free expression, the US State Department urged the OIC to produce an alternative resolution which would address the OIC’s concerns about “Islamophobia” and still protect free speech.

Accordingly, in March 2011, the OIC introduced the now infamous Resolution 16/18 to combat intolerance based on religion or belief, purportedly proposed as a replacement for the defamation of religions resolution.  It garnered wide-spread support and Western states touted it as a victory for free speech.  They believed that its focus marked a landmark shift from suppression of speech critical of religions to combating discrimination and violence against individuals based on their religious beliefs.

Over time it became clear that the OIC retained its long term goal to protect Islam from “defamation” and indeed to criminalize all speech that shed a negative light on Islam or Muslims.  Resolution 16/18 turned out to be a tactical move by the OIC to bring the West one step closer toward realizing its goal of achieving global blasphemy laws, by using language more palatable to the West, and open to interpretation.

Against this backdrop the US held the first conference to “implement” Resolution 16/18, the process now known as the “Istanbul Process.”

Unfortunately, America’s concern for the protection of free speech seems to have gotten lost as its focus moved closer to the OIC’s positions, and an emphasis was placed on protecting Muslims in the West from “Islamophobia.”

Some circles including free speech advocates, national security experts, and those concerned about the Persecuted Church, have beaten the drum against Resolution 16/18 and the continuation of the Istanbul Process.  Their efforts have been to no avail as the Istanbul Process continues.

However, while awareness of the perils of Resolution 16/18 is on the increase, news on Resolution A/HRC/22/L.40 has gone virtually unreported.  It retains the same title as Resolution 16/18, but has glaringly dangerous amendments.

To focus on just one, it asserts that “terrorism…cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.”  This is obviously problematic.  The lumping together of these categories implies a false equation of immutable characteristics such as nationality and ethnicity with those that are subject to choice such as religion or belief.

Religions and belief systems come in all stripes.  To preclude the possibility that any of them might be ideologically associated with terrorism leads to a position based on an unexplored assumption rather than a conclusion based on fact.  Indeed, the assertion condemns the mere exploration of the facts a priori, a notion which is not only illogical but dangerous.

Read more at Front Page

 

OIC Seeks Global Watchdog on Free Speech

Rashad Hussain,

Rashad Hussain,

By Clare Lopez:The 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) met in Cairo, Egypt February 6-7, 2013 with a full agenda of issues to address.

The U.S. Special Envoy to the OIC, Rashad Hussain, attended. One of the key takeaways from the two-day Heads of State Summit appears to be a renewed commitment to the Istanbul Process, the OIC-initiative to criminalize criticism of Islam globally.

According to Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, director of cultural affairs at the OIC general secretariat and spokesman for the OIC secretary general, the next session of the Istanbul Process will be held sometime in the spring of 2013 and will focus anew on getting individual nation states to draft laws that would criminally sanction “denigration of religions.”

Read more at Radical Islam

International pro-freedom organizations champion individual liberty and human rights at key European conference

Center for Security Policy

By Adam Savit

The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was convened last week in Warsaw and is continuing into this week.  In recent years the agenda of the OSCE, meant to bolster pro-human rights policies in European governments and NGO’s, has been hijacked by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and other Muslim groups committed to imposing blasphemy laws and other aspects of shariah in Europe.

A contingent of pro-liberty citizens, governments and organizations from the United States and across Europe has been in attendance to counteract the OIC, among them:

A small sample of the efforts of these organizations is chronicled in the following videos, provided by the Media Research Council (MRC-TV) [CLICK ON IMAGES FOR VIDEO CONTENT]:

 

Kamal Fahmi, a Christian activist from Sudan representing the Set My People Free NGO, makes a presentation to the plenary session in Warsaw

 

Bashy Quraishy is an Indian-born migrant to Denmark who holds the office of Coordinator for the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion (EMISCO), an organization pushing the “Islamophobia” meme.  The plenary speech below includes veiled threats, warning that “provocations” such as the recent American-made film about Mohammed “will threaten the world peace.”

 

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a veteran campaigner for free speech representing the NGO Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa, offered a response to Qurashy’s speech.  Sabaditsch-Wolff has been persecuted in her native Austria for “denigrating religious teachings” over her comments about Mohammed.

 

Alain Wagner is a French anti-shariah activist representing ICLA in Warsaw.  In his statement below he offers a robust critique of the “Cairo Declaration” of 1990, a document created by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to replace the Western concept of universal human rights with a universal submission to shariah law.

Check back tomorrow for a compendium of important documents submitted to the OSCE Warsaw conference by the NGO’s listed above.

U.S., E.U. Spearhead Islamic Bid To Criminalize Free Speech

By Soeren Kern at Stonegate Institute:
The European Union has offered to host the next meeting of the so-called Istanbul Process, an aggressive effort by Muslim countries to make it an international crime to criticize Islam.

The announcement comes less than one month after the United States hosted its own Istanbul Process conference in Washington, DC.

The Istanbul Process – its explicit aim is to enshrine in international law a global ban on all critical scrutiny of Islam and/or Islamic Sharia law – is being spearheaded by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a bloc of 57 Muslim countries.

Based in Saudi Arabia, the OIC has long pressed the European Union and the United States to impose limits on free speech and expression about Islam.

But the OIC has now redoubled its efforts and is engaged in a determined diplomatic offensive to persuade Western democracies to implement United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 16/18, which calls on all countries to combat “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of … religion and belief.” (Analysis of the OIC’s war on free speech can be found here and here.)

Resolution 16/18, which was adopted at HRC headquarters in Geneva in March 2011, is widely viewed as a significant step forward in OIC efforts to advance the international legal concept of defaming Islam.

However, the HRC resolution – as well as the OIC-sponsored Resolution 66/167, which was quietly approved by the 193-member UN General Assembly on December 19, 2011 – remains ineffectual as long as it lacks strong support in the West.

The OIC therefore scored a diplomatic coup when the Obama Administration agreed to host a three-day Istanbul Process conference in Washington, DC on December 12-14, 2011. In doing so, the United States gave the OIC the political legitimacy it has been seeking to globalize its initiative to ban criticism of Islam.

Following the Obama Administration’s lead, the European Union now wants to get in on the action by hosting the next Istanbul Process summit, tentatively scheduled for July 2012.

Up until now, the European Union has kept the OIC initiative at arms-length. But Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the OIC, says the EU’s offer to host the meeting represents a “qualitative shift in action against the phenomenon of Islamophobia,” according to the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), the OIC’s official news/propaganda organ.

According to the IINA, “The phenomenon of Islamophobia is found in the West in general, but is growing in European countries in particular and in a manner different than that in the US, which had contributed to drafting Resolution 16/18. The new European position represents the beginning of the shift from their previous reserve over the years over the attempts by the OIC to counter ‘defamation of religions’ in the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The IINA report continues: “Officials in the Cultural Affairs Department of the OIC said that the European Union’s offer to host the third meeting (the first was in Istanbul in July and the second in Washington, DC in December) is considered a promising new possibility of solving this problem. The ‘Istanbul Process’ will have an added momentum by holding the meeting in Europe, which is more affected by the phenomenon of Islamophobia and hostility towards Islam.”

The OIC is especially angry over its inability to silence a growing number of democratically elected politicians in Europe who have voiced concerns over the refusal of Muslim immigrants to integrate into their host countries and the consequent establishment of parallel Islamic societies in many parts of Europe.

According to the IINA, “Ihsanoglu said that the growing role of the extreme right in politics in several European countries has become stronger than the capacity of the Organization [OIC], explaining that the extreme right, who [sic] hates Muslims, became leverage in the hands of politicians. He added that the rise of the extreme right through elections has become an issue that cannot be countered, considering the democratic way in which these extremists reach their positions. He pointed out to the referendum held in Switzerland, as an example, which resulted in suspending the construction of minarets there following a vote by the Swiss people.”

In other words, the OIC is now seeking the support of non-elected bureaucrats at the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels to enact pan-European hate speech legislation to limit by fiat what 500 million European citizens – including democratically elected politicians – can and cannot say about Islam.

To be sure, many individual European countries that lack First Amendment protections like those in the United States have already enacted hate speech laws that effectively serve as proxies for the all-encompassing blasphemy legislation the OIC is seeking to impose on the European Union as a whole.

In Austria, for example, an appellate court in December 2011 upheld the politically correct conviction of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese housewife and anti-Jihad activist, for “denigrating religious beliefs” after she gave a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam. The ruling showed that while Judaism and Christianity can be disparaged with impunity in postmodern multicultural Austria, speaking the truth about Islam is subject to swift and hefty legal penalties.

Also in Austria, Susanne Winter, an Austrian politician and Member of Parliament, was convicted in January 2009 for the “crime” of saying that “in today’s system” the Islamic prophet Mohammed would be considered a “child molester,” referring to his marriage to Aisha. Winter was also convicted of “incitement” for saying that Austria faces an “Islamic immigration tsunami.” Winters was ordered to pay a fine of €24,000 ($31,000), and received a suspended three-month prison sentence.

In Denmark, Lars Hedegaard, the president of the International Free Press Society, was found guilty by a Danish court in May 2011 of “hate speech” for saying in a taped interview that there was a high incidence of child rape and domestic violence in areas dominated by Muslim culture.

Hedegaard’s comments, which called attention to the horrific living conditions of millions of Muslim women, violated Denmark’s infamous Article 266b of the penal code, a catch-all provision that Danish elites use to enforce politically correct speech codes. Hedegaard has appealed his conviction to the Danish Supreme Court, where the case is now pending.

Also in Denmark, Jesper Langballe, a Danish politician and Member of Parliament, was found guilty of hate speech in December 2010 for saying that honor killings and sexual abuse take place in Muslim families.

Langballe was denied the opportunity to prove his assertions because under Danish law it is immaterial whether a statement is true or false. All that is needed for a conviction is for someone to feel offended. Langballe was summarily sentenced to pay a fine of 5,000 Danish Kroner ($850) or spend ten days in jail.

In Finland, Jussi Kristian Halla-aho, a politician and well-known political commentator, was taken to court in March 2009 on charges of “incitement against an ethnic group” and “breach of the sanctity of religion” for saying that Islam is a religion of pedophilia. A Helsinki court later dropped the charges of blasphemy but ordered Halla-aho to pay a fine of €330 ($450) for disturbing religious worship. The Finnish public prosecutor, incensed at the court’s dismissal of the blasphemy charges, appealed the case to the Finnish Supreme Court, where it is now being reviewed.

In France, novelist Michel Houellebecq was taken to court by Islamic authorities in the French cities of Paris and Lyon for calling Islam “the stupidest religion” and for saying the Koran is “badly written.” In court, Houellebecq (pronounced Wellbeck) told the judges that although he had never despised Muslims, he did feel contempt for Islam. He was acquitted in October 2002.

Also in France, Brigitte Bardot, the legendary actress turned animal rights crusader, was convicted in June 2008 for “inciting racial hatred” after demanding that Muslims anaesthetize animals before slaughtering them.

In The Netherlands, Geert Wilders – the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party who had denounced the threat to Western values posed by unassimilated Muslim immigrants – was recently acquitted of five charges of inciting religious hatred against Muslims for comments he made that were critical of Islam. The landmark verdict brought to a close a highly-public, two-year legal odyssey.

Also in The Netherlands, Gregorius Nekschot, the pseudonym of a Dutch cartoonist who is a vocal critic of Islamic female circumcision and often mocks Dutch multiculturalism, was arrested at his home in Amsterdam in May 2008 for drawing cartoons deemed offensive to Muslims. Nekschot (which literally means “shot in the neck,” a method used, according to the cartoonist, by “fascists and communists to get rid of their opponents”) was released after 30 hours of interrogation by Dutch law enforcement officials.

Nekschot was charged for eight cartoons that “attribute negative qualities to certain groups of people,” and, as such, are insulting and constitute the crimes of discrimination and hate according to articles 137c and 137d of the Dutch Penal Code.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, Nekschot said it was the first time in 800 years in the history of satire in the Netherlands that an artist was put in jail. (That interview has since been removed from the newspaper’s website.) Although the case against Nekschot was dismissed in September 2010, he ended his career as a cartoonist on December 31, 2011.

In Italy, the late Oriana Fallaci, a journalist and author, was taken to court for writing that Islam “brings hate instead of love and slavery instead of freedom.” In November 2002, a judge in Switzerland, acting on a lawsuit brought by Islamic Center of Geneva, issued an arrest warrant for Fallaci for violations of Article 261 of the Swiss criminal code; the judge asked the Italian government either to prosecute or extradite her. The Italian Justice Ministry rejected this request on the grounds that the Italian Constitution protects freedom of speech.

But in May 2005, the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy (UCOII), linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, filed a lawsuit against Fallaci, charging that “some of the things she said in her book ‘The Force of Reason‘ are offensive to Islam.” An Italian judge ordered Fallaci to stand trial in Bergamo on charges of “defaming Islam.” Fallaci died of cancer in September 2006, just months after the start of her trial.

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.