A proper edit of the OSCE meeting on security and free speech from May 2015

woman-silenced.preview

Update: Gates of Vienna has the background information on the OSCE session:

The OSCE Wants to Enforce the OIC Narrative

A few days ago we posted video excerpts from one of the OSCE sessions in Vienna last month. Since then Vlad has been working on a slightly longer version using the same material. The video below includes additional comments made by the panelists, and more detailed annotations.

These excerpts were recorded at the OSCE Security Days at the Hofburg, Vienna, on May 21, 2015. The event was the Night Owl Session: “How can the media help prevent violent radicalization that leads to terrorism?” It was an official OSCE forum, with opening and closing remarks by OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier.

The BPE/ICLA team at OSCE included Henrik Ræder Clausen, Stephen Coughlin, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, and Renya Matti.

The panelists, from left to right, were:

  • Victor Khroul, a correspondent for Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency and Associate Professor at Moscow State University. Rossiya Segodnya is wholly owned by the Russian government, as is MSU.
  • Leila Ghandi, a Moroccan presenter for 2M TV. She is “an award winning TV host journalist, producer, commentator, book author, speaker, photographer and civil society activist.” 68% of 2M TV is owned by the Moroccan government, with the Moroccan royal family owning 20.7%
  • Randa Habib, the director of the bureau of Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Amman, Jordan.
  • Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, from Bosnia
  • Simon Haselock, Albany Associates

So the panel consisted of a Russian, a Moroccan, a Jordanian, a Bosnian, and a Briton. No Poles. No Danes. No Czechs. No Italians. No one from a sensible European country.

It seems reasonable to assume that the Russian gentleman represents the Russian government. The three women hail from three Muslim countries that do not enforce the wearing of hijab. But are they otherwise representing the interests of the Ummah? Based on the contributions of Ms. Ghandi and Ms. Habib to the discussion about truth vs. “hate speech”, it is at least plausible that they are.

Simon Haselock is a promoter of “global governance”, UN-style. He is described as a “pioneer in media intervention in post-conflict countries” — that is, he helps the United Nations manage the news flow in areas where the “international community” has discovered a compelling interest.

Take, for example this article from 2003 discussing his role in Bosnia:

In Sarajevo, [Simon] Haselock served as media spokesman for the Office of the High Representative, the European agency governing the Bosnians in the aftermath of the Dayton Agreement. In Kosovo, he became media commissioner.

The problem, in a nutshell: He’s British, and holds to a European view of how media should work, in terms of public responsibility, free expression, libel law, and similar issues. Haselock and others like him attempted to impose a European media regime on the Bosnian and Kosovar journalists, and there is every indication the same effort will be made in Iraq.

Put simply, this means that a governmental body will supervise media. It has already been reported that Haselock has written a proposal for control of broadcast and print media, including the establishment of state electronic media and the appointment of a board that will handle “complaints about media excesses” and levy fines for misconduct. These are exactly, down to the boilerplate vocabulary, the policies that were tried in Sarajevo and Prishtina. They failed miserably, and sometimes grotesquely.

IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA, the stated mission of foreign media administrators embodied pure political correctness: It was to separate media from nationalist self-expression and political parties. This meant that although Bosnian Muslims felt they had survived a deliberate attempt at genocide, and while Serbs and Croats felt they had legitimate communal demands to put forward, their journalists were forbidden from dealing with these topics. The argument of the “internationals,” as the foreigners in the Balkans love to style themselves, was that any such commentary would constitute hate speech and would incite further violence.

Same shtick, different decade.

In his remarks, Mr. Haselock references non-Islamic terror groups that sprang from European roots. What he does not mention is that we were allowed to call them by the names they called themselves. We called them the “Red Brigades”, the “Bader-Meinhof Group” [Red Army Faction], and the “Irish Republican Army”, and we identified their ideology at the same time — which is what allowed us to counter them.

The rules are different for any group that has “Islam” and “Muslim” in its name. In such cases we are told not use the name that the group uses for itself. We must instead identify it by a pseudonym invented by Simon Haselock or some other “media administrator”. And we must never, ever talk about Islamic ideology or sharia.

Mr. Haselock refers to “the narrative we are offering”. But whose universal values does such a narrative enforce? And against whom? And who decides?

In essence, the UN establishes narratives that are to be enforced against national identities as a requirement. Everyone on the OSCE panel supports these narratives and their enforcement.

By Vlad Tepes, June 26, 2015:

This is the third edit of this video although the second one was only published for an hour or so, and deleted.

The reason for so much effort on it, is that two things make it very important that needed to be underlined in the video.

1. That this meeting and these panelists matter. They affect our lives

2. That their reasoning ranges from what appears to be a dedicated pursuance of an Alinksy narrative for the destruction of nation states world wide, to simple political correct naiveté at best.

I had the opportunity to sit down and go over it with one of the participants fully and this is the result. I hope you will all feel it is worth ploughing through for a second (and for a few of you, a third) time

Entire session:

 

OSCE Conference in Vienna: Don’t Mention the “I” Word

Tundra Tabloids, May 31, 2015:

ISLAM.

Winston Churchill whispers to FDR:

”Don’t say German National Socialism, for in doing so it gives the impression that being German motivates people to war, terrorism and other crimes.”

Also read: OSCE in Free Fall

Gates of Vienna:

The Word That Wasn’t There

Yesterday, upon the air,
I heard a word that wasn’t there.
It wasn’t there again today,
I wish that it would go away…

(With apologies to Hughes Mearns)

In his report yesterday on the latest OSCE conference, Henrik Ræder Clausen included this summary of a dominant meme among ideological leaders in the West:

Panel members stressed the importance of not calling the Islamic State the “Islamic State”, for doing so could give the impression that Islam motivates people to war, terrorism and other crimes.

The avoidance of the I-word seems to have become a fixation in the revolving-door world of NGOs and state functionaries, particularly in Europe. It’s as if all the participants have been mysteriously hypnotized, and now wander around glassy-eyed, muttering the phrase “nothing to do with Islam” over and over again, their repetitive chant forming a background susurrus at every international function where important people assemble to hand down momentous policy decisions.

A notable example of the mindset may be found this handout from the OSCE Viennameeting:

The four terrorist outfits shown in the chart are composed of different ethnic groups, operate in geographically separate areas, represent disparate cultures, and speak a variety of languages. The only thing these groups have in common is the word that wasn’t there.

When required to identify a common ideology, Western bien-pensants prefer to discuss “extremism” or “radicalization” — modifiers with no substantive objects. If cornered, they may refer to “Islamism” or “radical Islam”, but never plain old unmodified ISLAM.

It seems that a prerequisite for receiving funding from any government agency or charitable foundation is the absolute refusal to consider Islamic political ideology as an explanation for anything bad that happens in the world.

You can’t say that, old chap. It just isn’t done.

Hate Speech Laws Revisited

Via Gates of Vienna:

Dave Petteys is a member of the Colorado chapter of ACT! For America. He is one of the hard-working members of the anti-sharia group that made such a difference at the OSCE conferences in Warsaw in 2012 and 2013. Below is his take on the continuing controversy over “hate speech” laws.

burningjanhusHate Speech Laws Revisited

by David Petteys

ACT! For America, 5280 Coalition

Hate speech laws originated during debates in the United Nations immediately after World War Two. At the time, it was the Soviet Bloc versus Western Europe and the United States. The Soviets wanted “hate speech laws” to suppress the criticism of their totalitarian system as well as the calls for greater democracy. Their excuse was: “We cannot allow fascists to speak lest it lead to violence “. The same language is being used today.

Although the Communist totalitarian governments have disappeared, (at least we used to think so), the legacy of the notion that it is up to government to regulate speech remains.

Initially, “Hate Speech” laws addressed anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. But now the reach of these laws has steadily expanded to include any issue, provided its supporters have the political clout to influence legislatures.

Global warming advocates, homosexuals and Muslims are all demanding laws to protect them from “insult” and criticism. Priests and pastors have been arrested and prosecuted for preaching Christian doctrine that” hurts the feelings” of homosexuals[1]. Global warming skeptics are silenced.[2]

The Muslims are a particular case in point. They know they can’t confront our First Amendment directly. So what they are doing is drilling down into the definitions of words inside the laws: specifically, the definition of “incitement”.

Traditionally “incitement” resided in the content of speech or writing. The Muslims are working to refocus “incitement” from content to consequence. If I were a Ku Klux Klan leader addressing my followers, and I advocated that they march to another section of town and burn down houses, that would comprise speech with content that directly advocated violence.

But the Muslim strategy is more insidious.

Let us now move to the definition of “Hate Speech” in Forums such as “The Rabat Plan of Action”[3] (RPA). This was a document produced at a workshop put on by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that met in Rabat, Morocco in October of 2012. The UN appears to have convened the Conference at the behest of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), mindful of its funding and its large voting bloc of 56 states plus the Palestinian Authority.

The subtitle of the document (“Conclusions and recommendations emanating from the four regional expert workshops organised by OHCHR, in 2011, and adopted by experts in Rabat, Morocco on 5 October 2012”) refers to the plan as adopted by “experts” without any disclosure of who these “experts” are. Within this document there is a six part “threshold test” to give “guidance” to law enforcement. The final test is “Likelihood, including imminence”. To quote:

“The action advocated through incitement speech does not have to be committed for that speech to amount to a crime. Nevertheless some degree of risk of resulting harm must be identified.”[4]

Thus, speech that “might” hurt someone’s feelings, or “might” lead to “discrimination or intolerance” becomes a criminal offense! Yet the argument that such speech “might lead to violence” has not been substantiated.[5]

Next, the Muslims claim the right to violence against anyone who “insults” the Prophet or Islam:

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”[6]

Therefore, Muslims hold that any speech that they deem an “insult” is illegal “hate speech” because it would trigger the violence that they themselves threaten and guarantee! It makes no difference that we have the constitutional right to say what we want to say, including criticism of Islam.

Islam is mostly a political movement, and not separate from religion, as the Muslims themselves assert. Yet they hold:

  • That since it is a “religion” it is beyond criticism and off the table. Any criticism is “insulting Islam”
  • And we guarantee any such criticism will trigger violence. Therefore, under the guidelines of the RPA the “likelihood and imminence of harm” renders the speech illegal!

This neatly finesses the First Amendment. Sadly, Western authorities are buying into this! It codifies into law the “battered wife syndrome” with its “blame the victim” premise.

Read more at Gates of Vienna

Freedom Fighters at the 2013 OSCE Human Rights Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Poland

Gates of Vienna:

The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) convened in Warsaw last week. A team of liberty-loving people from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, the UK, and the USA was in attendance. They represented the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA), Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE-Austria and -Germany), ACT! for America, ACT! for Canada, the Center for Security Policy, the Stresemann Foundation, and Women for Freedom.

A group photo of the core team is below:

oscewarsawteam2013

Back row:

  • Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff (Austria), Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE-Germany)
  • Polish representative, International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA)
  • UK representative, International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA)
  • Alain Wagner (France) , International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA)
  • David Erzet (Belgium), International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA)
  • Henrik Ræder Clausen (Denmark), International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA)
  • Chris Knowles (UK), International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA)
  • Felix Strüning (Germany), Stresemann Foundation — A Lobby for Freedom

Front row:

  • Ned May (USA), International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA)
  • Stephen Coughlin (USA), Center for Security Policy
  • Valerie Price (Canada), ACT! for Canada
  • Marie-Luise Hoffmann-Polzoni (Germany), Women for Freedom
  • Liz Schmidt (Germany), Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE-Austria)
  • Dave Petteys (USA), ACT! for America 5280 Coalition

The team worked with tireless dedication all week.

******

Henrik R Clausen describes the OSCE as follows:

OSCE, the Organisation for Security and Coorperation in Europe, is an organisation created to follow up on the Helsinki Accords and ensure their full implementation in Europe and related countries. This is a noble purpose, but since organisations like this have an inherent risk to become narrow worlds of professionals, a watchful eye from the public may be useful to uphold the ideals…. OSCE is one of those great, classical organisations that listeners to news know about quite well. Statements and recommendations from OSCE weigh in heavily in political decision-making and it is thus quite an influential organisation. Participants are 56 countries, which includes Europe, Central Asia and North America, as well as large and small NGO’s from the area.

via ICLA:

Elisabeth Sabaditch-Wolff, Liz Schmidt, Ned May, and Stephen Coughlin attended the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw this week. They took some time out to appear on Secure Freedom Radio.  The International Civil Liberties Alliance was represented by Ned May.

The radio interviews can be found HERE and are well worth listening to.

Reference was made to the ODIHR side event at which the OSCE’s controversial booklet Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through Education was discussed.  It was noted that this booklet used the word “Islapmophobia” including in its subtitle, but some of those who had put the booklet together were unable to come up with a coherent definition of the term.  As many will realise, the lack of a precise definition will inevitably result in abuse by state authorities and will be used to undermine the basic human rights of those who voice concerns about sharia law.

*********

According to The Center For Security Policy these OSCE meetings “are heavily influenced by Soros funded groups on the one hand and OIC influenced entities on another”. To ensure monitoring of basic rights and freedoms, and to register concerns, “interventions” were formally given on 4 subjects.

The interventions by Stephen Coughlin representing CSP are below. For full coverage and more videos go to Gates Of Vienna and International Civil Liberties Alliance.

———————————————————

OSCE Human Rights Dimension Implementation Meeting

Working Session 1

Tolerance and Non-Discrimination

Warsaw, 23 September 2013

Thank you Mister Moderator,

This intervention concerns the Annotated Agenda that makes generous use of the term “aggressive nationalism”.

CSP would like a clarification of the term “aggressive nationalism.”  Is there such a thing as “non-aggressive nationalism?”  Is any assertion of national identity per se aggressive?

In addition, words such as “racism”, “xenophobia”, “intolerance”, and “discrimination” are biased terms that are not adequately defined.  CSP is of the opinion that their purpose is to shut down debate by stigmatizing, marginalizing, and intimidating people who hold certain opinions.  These words should be avoided unless they can be defined in such a manner that enjoys the consensus of all participants regardless of their political, social and cultural views.

Recommendation to ODIHR and Participating States: To refrain from using these terms until they are precisely and officially defined and accepted by the consensus of all participating groups holding diverse views.

###

Working Session 2

Tolerance and Non-Discrimination

Warsaw, 24 September 2013

Thank you Madam Moderator,

While we appreciate the width and the severity of topics discussed here, the Center for Security Policy sees a need to object to the use of terms, which are undefined, ill defined, or defined by non-OSCE entities and whose purpose is to stigmatize, marginalize, and intimidate those holding dissenting opinions.

Examples include, but are not limited to; “intolerance”, “discrimination”, “racism”, “hate”, “xenophobia”, and “Islamophobia” without reference to any underlying claims or facts.

The use of controversial undefined terms to attack citizens has been a notorious strategy employed by oppressive and totalitarian political regimes seeking to silence dissent.

CSP Recomends that the OSCE and ODIHR suspend this practice until a published definition of terms is provided that meets EU Human Rights and U.S. Civil Rights scrutiny.

Thank you for your time and attention.

 ###

 

Working Session 6

Freedom of Religion or Belief

Warsaw, 26 September 2013

Thank you Madam Moderator,

Center for Security Policy is concerned with how emerging definitions of “incitement” can be open to permissive interpretations that include claims of being incited by the free and open exercise of one’s faith both individually and as a group.  Increasingly, there is a trend to associate incitement with the harsh responses of others that have the effect of blaming the victim for the hostile responses of the abuser.  This cannot be allowed to establish itself as an international legal standard.

Related concerns are expressed with regard to the emerging use of terms like “intolerance” and “discrimination” when applied to the free exercise of one’s faith.

CSP Recommends that the ODIHR ensure that terms like “incitement” not be allowed to have open-ended definitions that can be foreseeably used to cause a chilling effect on what would otherwise be protected speech and faith.

Thank you for your time and attention.

 ###

Working Session 8

Freedom of Assembly & Association

Warsaw, 27 September 2013

Thank you Madam Moderator,

Center for Security Policy

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Please note that the right is to assemble peaceably.  I would submit that this was the gold standard when implemented in 1791 and remains so today.  The right to peaceably assemble was put at parity with the other rights enumerated in the First Amendment.

The right to associate includes the right not to associate or not to be compelled to do so.  This simply recognizes that association is itself a form of expression.  Where the state can compel association, it undermines the right.

Rights granted by the state are no rights at all.  Basic rights are capable of being expressed in basic terms.  When the expression of basic rights are recast in tortured language that can only be comprehended by individuals credentialed by elite organizations operating in elite forums, the very nature of what it means to be a basic right loses meaning.  When the citizen loses the ability to maintain subject matter awareness of the very meaning of those basic rights, they are diminished and made subject to those who have the power to influence rarified narratives.  This comes at the cost of those basic rights’ very meaning.  Citizens are becoming increasingly dispossessed of their rights by the very process of making them incomprehensible.

One way of demonstrating the efficacy of “new understandings” of “cutting edge” work being done by “experts” on basic rights such as freedom of expression is that they make reference to a myriad number of forums producing numerous “cutting edge” theories requiring a full-time commitment to monitoring them just to remain aware.

There was a time when basic rights could be expressed in as basic terms as this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It is as basic as that.  In more ways than one, it was the gold standard then and remains so today.  Simplicity is inherent in the expression of a basic right.  An indicator that basic rights are at risk is that they have been made subject to such “cutting edge” analysis.  New is not always better.  Cutting edge legal analysis can be used as much to deconstruct one’s rights as to build them up.

CSP Recommends that the ODIHR ensures that the treatment of the expression of basic rights not lose sight of their basic meaning by expressing them in commonly understood language using commonly defined terms.  This includes the right to peaceably assemble.

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

International “Islamophobia Conference” Promotes Sharia Agenda

bangladesh-protest-reutersby ANDREW E. HARROD AND SAM NUNBERG:

Objective observers should be rightfully concerned by the “International Conference on Islamophobia: Law & Media” held by the Turkish government’s Directorate General of Press and Information (DGPI or BYGEM in Turkish) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) this past September 12-13 in Istanbul’s Grand Tarabya Hotel. Conference participants substantiated all too many threats emanating from various Muslims and their allies, calling into question their respect for free speech and freedom of expression.

The conference website defined “Islamophobia” according to the Greek suffix phobia as a “groundless fear and intolerance of Islam and Muslims.” By “culminating in hate speech and attitudes towards Muslims,” this phobia is “detrimental to international peace.” There should be “recognition of Islamophobia as a hate crime and Islamophobic attitudes as human rights violations.”

In Istanbul, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated his well-known meme (see here and here) that “Islamophobia” as a “kind of racism” is a “crime against humanity.” “No monotheistic religion,” Erdoğan elaborated, “adopts, supports, permits or leads terror.”

“If Christianity and Judaism cannot be mentioned with terrorism,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç seconded in his remarks, “then our noble religion Islam cannot be defamed this way either.” Arinç discerned the main cause of “Islamophobia” in the belief that “Islam and democracy are not compatible,” yet “Muslims are democrats in essence.”

Representing the OIC’s 57 Muslim-majority states (including “Palestine”), a fellow Turk, OIC Secretary General Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, reprised themes from the OIC’slongstanding attempts to restrict criticism of Islam. Ihsanoglu decried the “exploitation….of freedom of speech.”

The conference’s first session featured internationally renowned Islam scholar and regular Islamist apologist John Esposito. Esposito cited “irrational fear” being behind “anti-Sharia legislations” in the United States. Turning toward Egypt, Esposito criticized those who “think it is legitimate to overthrow a democratically elected government.”

Read more at Breitbart

Torpedoing “Islamophobia”

iclawarsawbannerGates of Vienna, by Ned May:

For the International Civil Liberties Alliance, the theme for this week’s OSCE in Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw was “Bad Definitions”. As readers have undoubtedly noticed, the most prominent bad definition is the word “Islamophobia”. There are plenty of other words than can be targeted as ill-defined, and those have been discussed here in earlier posts, and in the ICLA paper “The Problematic Definition of ‘Islamophobia’”. However, to make matters simpler, the ICLA team concentrated this week on “Islamophobia”.

On Tuesday night the ODIHR Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department convened a side event, “Educational initiatives and approaches for addressing anti-Semitism and intolerance against Muslims”. This sounded like a worthwhile opportunity, and a large contingent of people from ICLA, Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa, the Center for Security Policy (CSP), the Stresemann Foundation, and other anti-Shariah NGOs decided to look in on it.

It was a good thing we did. It turned out that the side event was convened to highlight “Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through Education”, which was published jointly [pdf] by OSCE/ODIHR, the Council of Europe, and UNESCO in 2011. This document — which contains 49 instances of the word “Islamophobia” — was discussed in the ICLA paper, and was part of the focus of our research.

The first forty minutes or so featured presentation by the panelists, including some of the authors of the “Guidelines”. One of them was a British gentleman named Robin Richardson, who is associated with the Runnymede Trust. Among other things, Mr. Richardson told the audience: “We all know that nations are not capable of solving the world’s problems.” Only global institutions were capable of doing so.

His assertion was the last straw. Since the panelists had repeatedly mentioned “Islamophobia” — ICLA’s topic for the week — I decided to speak up. After comments by one other member of the audience, I had my say, and a lengthy discussion ensued, capped by devastating remarks made by Major Stephen Coughlin of CSP.

Below are relevant excerpts from the audio of the occasion. Many thanks to Henrik Ræder Clausen for making the recording, to CSP for the transcript, and to Vlad Tepes for editing the audio to produce this video:

The full audio of the final 48 minutes is available here, and a complete transcript of that audio is at Gates of Vienna.

***********

via Human Rights Activists Attending OSCE Meeting In Warsaw Appear On Secure Freedom Radio:

Elisabeth Sabaditch-Wolff, Liz Schmidt, Ned May, and Stephen Coughlin attended the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw this week. They took some time out to appear on Secure Freedom Radio.  The International Civil Liberties Alliance was represented by Ned May.

The radio interviews can be found HERE and are well worth listening to.

Reference was made to the ODIHR side event at which the OSCE’s controversial booklet Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through Education was discussed.  It was noted that this booklet used the word “Islapmophobia” including in its subtitle, but some of those who had put the booklet together were unable to come up with a coherent definition of the term.  As many will realise, the lack of a precise definition will inevitably result in abuse by state authorities and will be used to undermine the basic human rights of those who voice concerns about sharia law.

Undaunted: Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s Fight for Free Speech

elisabeth-sabaditsch-wolff-2-450x343By :

The self-proclaimed Austrian “anti-jihad”  and “anti-sharia activist” Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff appeared on June 21, 2013 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, at an event co-sponsored by the Center for Security Policy (CSP) and the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).  In introducing the event, CSP’s Christine Brim called people like Sabaditsch-Wolff the “defenders of freedom” in a “struggle…to preserve free speech” and “equality under the law.” Sabaditsch-Wolff’s subsequent presentation of her courageous struggles in no way belied Brim’s introduction.

Sabaditsch-Wolff discussed her own well-publicized ordeals and subsequent activism stemming from criticizing Islam, a faith described by her as a “religion of peace” that “is not really peaceful to those who speak the truth.” Daughter of a diplomat, she had already developed reservations about Islam during her childhood stay in Iran right before the 1978-1979 revolution.  During her diplomatic tenure, postings to Kuwait encompassing the 1990 Iraq invasion and to Libya where she saw her landlord on September 11, 2001, blame the Jews for Al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks that day only increased these concerns.

The controversy surrounding Sabaditsch-Wolff began with her comments before an October 2009 Vienna seminar of the rightwing Austrian Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs or FPÖ).  Discussing canonical accounts of Islam’s mid-50s prophet Muhammad consummating a marriage with a nine-year old Aisha, Sabaditsch-Wolff asked “what do you call” this “if not pedophilia?”  Subsequently, Sabaditsch-Wolff received hate speech charges under Section 283 of the Austrian Criminal Code.

The trial found insufficient evidence for the Section 283 charge. Yet the judge’s initiative brought a Section 188 charge against the denigration of recognized religions, resulting in a 480 Euro fine on February 15, 2011, later upheld.  Thus Sabaditsch-Wolff concluded that under Europe’s various speech restrictions “you may not call a spade a spade” with respect to Islam.

This ordeal made Sabaditsch-Wolff devote herself to opposing Islamic totalitarianism, with her main “playground” the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  This 1975-founded non-treaty organization “many people have never heard of” contains 57 states, including the United States and Canada, formulating various legally non-binding agreements in the areas of security, economics, and human rights. Here Sabaditsch-Wolff focuses on the OSCE’s Human Dimension covering human rights, in particular the Warsaw-based Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

Sabaditsch-Wolff described the OSCE as a “significant source” for developing hate speech laws in OSCE countries and the world. Thus Sabaditsch-Wolff proclaimed that “we don’t want to forfeit this game” at ODIHR against “Islamists” and “far left institutions…directly opposed to free speech.”  To suppress criticism of Islam, these groups condemn “Islamophobia,” a “term not legally defined.”

Speaking of her own experience, Sabaditsch-Wolff declared, “How dare someone accuse me of a concept that does not exist.”  In this respect Sabaditsch-Wolff showed a video of her Belgian colleague David Erzet calling at ODIHR for an OSCE prohibition of “Islamophobia’s” use, given that a “phobia is a mental illness.” Erzet noted that the “practice of suppressing freedom of expression by characterizing it as mental illness is reminiscent” of the Soviet Union.  Sabaditsch-Wolff, meanwhile, cited Islamic anti-Semitism as a “huge problem in Europe.”

Read more at Front Page

The Alliance of Civilization Jihad

unaoc5 by , February 27, 2013:

As reported here early this morning, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations met today in Vienna to… well, to do whatever it is alliances of civilizations do.

Actually, the goal of this Alliance is quite clear, even if it is not stated explicitly: to impose the will of the United Nations on all Western countries, especially those that have not yet implemented laws against “defamation of religions” as demanded by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

We are approaching endgame in the OIC’s long march through the major international institutions of Western culture. It began with the announcement in 2005 of the ten-year plan to end Islamophobia in the West, and the establishment of the Islamophobia Observatory shortly thereafter. These were obviously not enough to meet the Ummah’s needs, so it shifted its focus to other institutions. The OSCE must have also proved disappointing, as it is not high-profile and offers no prominent global platform.

The OIC has had better success with the General Assembly of the United Nations, taking virtual control of the organization by means of the votes of its 56 member states (57 if you count “Palestine”). However, this too is insufficient from the point of view of the embryonic World Caliphate. To establish full control, a permanent seat on the Security Council is an absolute necessity. The would-be Caliph — Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who obviously aspires to an office higher than prime minister of Turkey — has made it clear that Islam must be granted such a seat.

The process now unfolding before us on the international scene mirrors the “Civilization Jihad” launched long ago by the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. With the installation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, the Ikhwan has now positioned all its American pieces on the board in preparation for the final takedown of Israel. To secure their international geopolitical position, the Brothers and the OIC need to complete their takeover of the United Nations.

Today it seems they are very close to achieving success in — what shall we call their operation?

Perhaps the “Alliance of Civilization Jihad” would be most fitting.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Henrik Ræder Clausen and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff were in Vienna to attend and report on today’s event, the 5th Global Forum — UN Alliance of Civilizations.

Read Elisabeth’s account at Gates of Vienna

aoclogo0

via Is The Alliance Of Civilizations A Pro Sharia Front? (libertiesalliance.org)

The 5th Global Forum of The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations takes place in Vienna today.  In our experience most UN initiatives these days have a pro-sharia twist.  The UNHRC for instance spends a lot of time criticising Israel but does not seem to adequately confront the human rights abuses elsewhere (1). Perhaps the UNHRCs work is corrupted because it gives membership to countries who are human rights abusers.  It produces UNHRC Resolution 16/18 but apparently does nothing to ensure that the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) permit the religious freedom, a freedom that it purports to uphold.  In effect UNHRC Resolution 16/18 has become a pro-sharia document designed specifically to expand the reach of sharia.

We expect that the Alliance of Civilizations will be no different and will prove to be yet another mechanism to demonise sharia critics and facilitate the expansion of the zone of sharia compliance that already causes immeasurable misery around the world.  We will be watching the 5th Global Forum with great interest.

See Tundra Tabloids for updates.  Updates will also be posted below:

(1) Israel right to say ‘Enough!’ to grotesquely biased UNHRC inquiry (Haaretz)

Updates:

We are told from people on the ground at the event that the person who introduced the event suggested that they expected more harmony from this forum.  Below is a gist of what specific individuals talked about:

UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon

Suggested that anti-Muslim sentiment was commonplace. That Muslims are being vilified instead of being embraced.  That leaders need to speak the language of tolerance.  That the three most important issues that needed to be addressed by all speakers were:

1) The impasse between Israelis and Palestinians

2) The situation in Mali

3) The situation in Syria

Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Suggested that racist attacks are on the rise.  That the magnitude of the threat is threefold:

1) lack of information

2) Intolerance

3) Prejudice – he believes that we can eliminate the threat posed by prejudice.  He

mentioned that there are many good examples of people living in harmony and such societies are more successful – however he did not name any of these countries or societies.

He suggested that we witness harsh and insulting behaviour towards Muslims and that this is an unconscionable act.  Also that we need to act on prejudices and need to consider Islamophobia as a crime against humanity. He suggested that no religion would ever endorse violence, that Islam is a religion of peace and that the word ‘Islam’ means peace.

On behalf of turkey he asked whether the UN Security Council represented the whole world and he concluded that it did not. He asked whether it represented all religious groups.  He suggested that the fundamental problem is that the Alliance of Civilizations needs to establish and alliance with the Security Council.

ICLA Comment: Our prediction of that the Alliance of Civilizations is a pro-sharia front seems to be coming true based on much of what has been reported above.  The focus seems very focused on issues that are seen as important to Islamic countries.  Nothing has been said about the persecution of non-Muslims in the Islamic world.  It seems from what Mr Erdoğan was saying about the Security Council that there should be permanent Islamic representation on that body.  This perhaps is an indication that Islam has political objectives.  It must be remembered that the Security Council is not a religious assembly.

We have a further update.  It appears that human rights issues have not been raised at this event though the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was mentioned twice.  Much has been said with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the plight of the Palestinian.  There was a round of applause when Palestine’s receipt of UNESCO status was mentioned.

Outgoing High Representative of the Alliance of Civilisations, Jorge Sampaio

He emphasized that we should not be talking but doing.  He raised the issue of successes and achievements of the Alliance of Civilizations but did not mention a single one.  He suggested that we need common ground and minimum standards of behivaiour, though he never mentioned what this might mean in practice.  He spoke about his desire for a world conference hosted by the Alliance of Civilizations with goal being to address the need to go back to zero with a bold vision and measurable goals.

Incoming High Representative of the Alliance of Civilisations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

He referred to the prevalence of intolerance and xenophobia.  He emphasised the importance of the role of the Alliance of Civilizations to enhance international cooperation to advance a vision and ensure responsible leadership and good decision making.

ICLA Comment: It is clear that the Alliance of Civilizations is nothing more than a tool for totalitarian tyrants to impose their will on the rest of the world.  Dictatorships just want to impose their tyrannical rules on the rest of the world. When the free world says that it will not tolerate despotic rule, these dictatorships say that it is an insult to their culture. 

105,000 Christians martyred yearly, says European official

imagesCAI6HG7TCWN: Every year 105,000 Christians are killed because of their faith.

This shocking figure was disclosed by Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne, representative of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, at the “International Conference on Inter-religious dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims,” sponsored the Hungarian presidency of the European Union (EU) in Gödöllo, near Budapest.

“Every five minutes”, Introvigne said in his speech, “a Christian is killed for his faith.” The figure does not include the victims of civil wars, or wars between nations, but only the people put to death because they are Christians.

“If these figures are not cried out to the world, if this massacre is not stopped,” Introvigne continued; “if it is not recognized that the persecution against Christians is the first worldwide emergency with regard to religious discrimination and violence, dialogue between religions will only produce wonderful symposia but no concrete results.”

Read more

Criticism Mounts Over State Envoy

BY: October 5, 2012 1:48 pm

Jewish leaders expressed outrage Friday over the State Department’s praise for, and defense of, a controversial Muslim leader who has defended terrorist groups and suggested that Israel may have been responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Salam al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was picked to represent the United States government at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) annual 10-day human rights conference, the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM).

Al-Marayati’s well-known anti-Israel bona fides prompted Jewish leaders and others to express outrage over the Obama administration’s selection.

“It is regrettable that someone with such distorted, conspiratorial views—even with a lackluster apology—is delegated by our government to represent our country abroad,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement to the Free Beacon.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, argued that the State Department is showing inconsistency by touting an individual who has defended the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas, both of which are designated by the U.S. as terrorist organizations.

“One would assume that individuals selected to represent the United States at an international human rights conclave would share our government’s longstanding policy that Hamas and Hezbollah are dangerous terrorist organizations,” Cooper told the Free Beacon. “But Mr. Salam al-Marayati and his organization are long-time advocates that these deadly terror groups be removed from the U.S. terrorist list.”

“With terrorism continuing to roil the Middle East,” Cooper added, “the question is why the U.S. State Department would say he is ‘highly credible’?”

Read more

See previous post: Anti-Israel Advocate Reps U.S. at Rights Conference

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.

Anti-Israel Advocate Reps U.S. at Rights Conference

Salam al-Marayati

BY:

A Muslim leader who said that Israel should have been added to the”suspect list” for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was recently selected to represent the United States government at a human rights conference sponsored by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Salam al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was chosen by the Obama administration to deliver remarks in Warsaw, Poland—home to one of the largest Jewish ghettos during the Holocaust—during the OSCE’s Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM), a 10-day gathering meant to foster the “promotion of tolerance,” according to the group’s website.

Al-Marayati was selected to participate in the confab by the U.S. delegation, which was led by Ambassador Avis Bohlen, a Georgetown University professor and former Clinton administration official, according to MPAC’s website.

The selection of al-Marayati, who has drawn criticism for defending terrorist acts and blaming Israel for 9/11, raised concerns among some observers, who deemed his presence at the human rights meetings offensive.

“It is inexplicable that a person who blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks and advocated for terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah—which has killed more Americans than any terrorist group in the world except al Qaeda—was chosen to represent the United States,” said Josh Block, a former Clinton administration official who now serves as CEO of The Israel Project, a pro-Israel educational group.

Al-Marayati drew widespread criticism from Jewish leaders and others when he said that the U.S. “should put the state of Israel on the suspect list,” according to the New York Times.

“If we’re going to look at suspects, we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what’s happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies,” al-Marayati told a radio host, according to the Times.

Al-Marayati has also defined attacks by the terrorist group Hezbollah as “legitimate resistance,” according to a report by the Investigate Project on Terrorism.

He was invited to participate in the conference as a “public member of the U.S. delegation,” according to MPAC.

“Al-Marayati was invited as a public member of the U.S. delegation to HDIM along with Professor Ethel Brooks of Rutgers University and Nida Gelazis of the Woodrow Wilson Institute,” MPAC said in a statement.

During his remarks before OSCE participants, al-Marayati said that “hate speech that intends to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence against someone based on religion is harmful,” according to a portion of his speech posted on MPAC’s website.

MPAC, the pro-Muslim advocacy group that al-Marayati helped found, has urged that the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas be removed from the list of U.S.-designated terrorist organizations, according to the Investigative Project’s report.

Among other topics, participants in the Warsaw conference discussed “freedom of religion and belief,” according to MPAC’s website.

“Al-Marayati, who has a long history of civic engagement and service to the U.S. and the Muslim community, was the only American Muslim invited to speak at the HDIM,” the statement said. “This honor and privilege of addressing the OSCE could not have been bestowed upon a better person who epitomizes working toward religious freedom and human rights protection.”

The U.S. Embassy in Poland also praised al-Marayati’s presence.

“The United States is proud to have Mr. Salam al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Professor Ethel Brooks of Rutgers University, and Ms. Nida Gelazis of the Woodrow Wilson Institute serving as public members in the USG delegation to HDIM,” the embassy said in a statement. “Their expertise will be invaluable in addressing these topics at the meeting.”

One official with a Jewish organization said the embassy’s statement was tone deaf, and demanded the Obama administration explain itself to the Jewish community.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

Switzerland Base for Jihadists

by: Soeren Kern

Radical Muslim groups are using Switzerland as a base from which to promote Islamic jihad in Europe and beyond.

Islamists in Switzerland are providing jihadists with logistical support, and also stepping up their use of Internet websites there to spread Islamic propaganda as well as to incite their supporters to commit acts of terrorism and violence.

Swiss authorities have identified at least 10 trips by Islamists from Switzerland to jihadi training camps overseas just during the past 12 months.

One finding of Swiss Federal Police Annual Report for 2011 (in German), published in Bern on June 21, is that although Switzerland was not a direct target of Islamic terrorism in 2011, the Swiss Federal Police Office, also known Fedpol, did investigate a Swiss convert to Islam who used the Internet to discuss a terrorist attack involving explosives against an American installation in Germany. Although the report does not provide further details about the investigation, it states that the suspect’s being Swiss proved that “not only people with immigrant backgrounds could be supporters of jihad.”

In response to the rising threat from radical Islam, Fedpol, recently launched a new specialist IT research department to intensify efforts to monitor jihadist websites and their operators. Fedpol also strengthened its cooperation with the Swiss Federal Intelligence Services.

In a related move, the Swiss Federal Justice Ministry on June 30 announced that Switzerland has refused to take back a Jordanian refugee who, after he was found to have links to Islamist rebels in Somalia, had been given asylum.

The refugee, 19-year-old Magd Najjar, had been caught in May and charged in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 6 for links to Islamist Al-Shabaab rebels affiliated with al-Qaeda, and who openly state that they want to impose Islamic Sharia law in Somalia.

“Clear evidence shows that he visited regions of Somalia where jihadist groups are involved in conflict (against the government). It also appears that he had contact with Islamist elements in Switzerland,” the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

Swiss law states that refugees can lose their asylum status if they threaten or compromise national or international security.

Separately, leading Islamic groups in Switzerland say they want to establish a single national representative body that will enable all of the country’s Muslims to “speak with one voice.”

A mosque in Switzerland

The organizers say their new “parliament” will be called “Umma Schweiz” [The Islamic Nation in Switzerland”] and be based on the principles of Islamic Sharia law. The headquarters of the organization will be located in Basel with “representatives” in all 26 cantons (or “states”) of Switzerland. The first “test vote” of Umma Schweiz will be held in the fall of 2012; the group will be fully functional in 2013.

Ummah, an Arabic word that means “nation,” refers to the entire Muslim community throughout the world. In recent years, Muslims have stepped up efforts to unify the globally fragmented ummah in an effort to revive an Islamic Caliphate or empire. Many Muslim scholars view the political unification of the ummah as a prerequisite to the consolidation of global Muslim power and the subsequent establishment of an Islamic world order.

Swiss analysts say the initiative is an effort to establish a “parallel” legislative body in Switzerland that will be a mouthpiece for Islamic fundamentalists, who are seeking to impose Sharia law on the country, according to an exposé published by the newspaper Basler Zeitung.

“Umma Schweiz” is being spearheaded by two of the leading Muslim groups in Switzerland: the Coordination of Islamic Organizations of Switzerland (KIOS), led by an Iranian; and the Federation of Islamic Umbrella Organizations in Switzerland (FIDS), led by a Palestinian.

The effort to unify Muslims in Switzerland comes amid calls by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to establish an umbrella organization for all Swiss Muslims to counter discrimination.

The OSCE, which sent three observers to Switzerland in November 2011, warned that Muslims in the country are being exploited by “the extreme right and populist parties.” The OSCE also noted that Muslims in Switzerland are increasingly unifying around their religious identity, according to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. “Groups like Bosnians and Albanians, who were previously defined by their ethnicity, are now identified by their religion,” the OSCE report says.

Currently, there are more than 300 Muslim associations in Switzerland, and several umbrella organizations, but none is regarded as representative of Muslims as a whole.

The Muslim population in Switzerland has more than quintupled since 1980; it now numbers about 400,000, or roughly 5% of the population. Most Muslims living in Switzerland are of Turkish or Balkan origin, with a smaller minority from the Arab world. Many of them are second- and third-generation immigrants firmly establishing themselves in Switzerland.

The new Muslim demographic reality is raising tensions across large parts of Swiss society, especially as Muslims become more assertive in their demands for greater recognition of their Islamic faith.

In January 2012, another Swiss Muslim group, the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (IZRS), announced that it was trying to raise money from countries in the Persian Gulf to build a 20-million franc ($21 million) mega-mosque in Bern.

With three floors, the planned mosque would be the biggest in Switzerland. In addition to a prayer room for more than 500 worshippers, the building would have conference and training rooms, shops, underground parking and a garden.

Swiss citizens have been pushing back against the rise of Islam in their country. In November 2009, for example, Switzerland held referendum in which citizens approved an initiative to insert a new sentence in the Swiss constitution stipulating that “the construction of minarets is forbidden.”

Read more at Radical Islam

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

Muslims Plan “Parallel Parliament” In Switzerland

by Soeren Kern at Stonegate Institute:

 

A growing immigrant population determined to avoid assimilation.

Leading Islamic groups in Switzerland are seeking to establish a single national representative body that will enable all of the country’s Muslims to “speak with one voice.”

The organizers say their new “parliament” will be called “Umma Schweiz” and be based on the principles of Islamic Sharia law. The headquarters of the organization will be located in Basel with “representatives” in all 26 cantons (or “states”) of Switzerland. The first “test vote” of Umma Schweiz will be held in the fall of 2012; the group will be fully functional in 2013.

Ummah, an Arabic word that means “nation,” refers to the entire Muslim community throughout the world. In recent years, Muslims have stepped up efforts to unify the globally fragmented ummah in an effort to revive an Islamic Caliphate or empire. Many Muslim scholars view the political unification of the ummah as a prerequisite to the consolidation of global Muslim power and the subsequent establishment of an Islamic world order.

Swiss analysts say the initiative is an effort to establish a “parallel” legislative body in Switzerland that will be a mouthpiece for Islamic fundamentalists who are seeking to impose Sharia law on the country, according to an exposé published by the newspaper Basler Zeitung.

Umma Schweiz is being spearheaded by two of the leading Muslim groups in Switzerland: the Coordination of Islamic Organizations of Switzerland (KIOS), led by an Iranian; and the Federation of Islamic Umbrella Organizations in Switzerland (FIDS), led by a Palestinian.

The effort to unify Muslims in Switzerland comes amid calls by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to establish an umbrella organization for all Swiss Muslims to counter discrimination.

The OSCE, which sent three observers to Switzerland in November 2011, warned that Muslims in the country are being exploited by “the extreme right and populist parties.” The OSCE also noted that Muslims in Switzerland are increasingly unifying around their religious identity, according to an advance copy of the OSCE trip report, which has been seen by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. “Groups like Bosnians and Albanians, who were previously defined by their ethnicity, are now identified by their religion,” the OSCE report says.

Currently, there are more than 300 Muslim associations in Switzerland, and several umbrella organizations, but none is regarded as representative of Muslims as a whole.

The Muslim population in Switzerland has more than quintupled since 1980; it now numbers about 400,000, or roughly 5% of the population. Most Muslims living in Switzerland are of Turkish or Balkan origin, with a smaller minority from the Arab world. Many of them are second- and third-generation immigrants firmly establishing themselves in Switzerland.

The new Muslim demographic reality is raising tensions across large parts of Swiss society, especially as Muslims become more assertive in their demands for greater recognition of their Islamic faith.

In September 2011, for instance, an immigrant group based in Bern called for the emblematic white cross to be removed from the Swiss national flag because as a Christian symbol it “no longer corresponds to today’s multicultural Switzerland.”

The ensuing controversies are fuelling a debate over the role of Islam in Swiss society and how to reconcile Western values with a growing immigrant population determined to avoid assimilation.

Many of the disputes are ending up in Swiss courts, which have been packed with Islam-related cases in recent years. In one proceeding, for example, Muslim parents won a lawsuit demanding that they be allowed to dress their children in full-body bathing suits (aka “burkinis”) during co-ed swimming lessons. In another, a group of Swiss supermarkets created a stir by banning Muslim employees from wearing headscarves.

In September 2010, the secretary of the Muslim Community of Basel was acquitted of publicly inciting crime and violence. The charges were pressed after the 33-year-old made comments in a Swiss television documentary saying that Islamic Sharia law should be introduced in Switzerland and that unruly wives should be beaten. The judge said the defendant was protected by freedom of expression.

In January 2011, a 66-year-old Turkish woman living in Bern was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for encouraging the father and brothers of her daughter-in-law to carry out an “honor crime” against her for her “risqué lifestyle.”

In August 2010, five Muslim families in Basel were fined 350 Swiss Francs ($420) each for refusing to send their daughters to mixed-sex swimming lessons. In August 2009, the Swiss basketball association told a Muslim player she could not wear a headscarf during league games.

Swiss voters have also been fighting back against the Islamization of their country by means of the ballot box.

In November 2009, Switzerland held a referendum in which citizens approved an initiative to ban the construction of minarets. The initiative was approved 57.5% to 42.5% by some 2.67 million voters. Only four cantons or states opposed the initiative, thereby granting the double approval that now makes the minaret ban part of the Swiss constitution.

In November 2010, Swiss voters approved tough new regulations on the deportation of non-Swiss immigrants convicted of serious crimes. The measure calls for the automatic expulsion of non-Swiss offenders convicted of crimes ranging from murder to breaking and entry and social security fraud.

Also in November, Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said the approval or extension of residency permits should be closely linked to the efforts immigrants make to integrate themselves. “Compulsory schooling must be respected. Children should attend all courses and exceptions made on religious or other grounds, for example in swimming classes, should no longer be possible,” Sommaruga said.

In December 2010, the Federal Commission on Women’s Issues called for Islamic burqas and niqabs to be banned in government offices and in public schools. The government-appointed committee said the move would prevent gender discrimination.

In May 2011, voters in canton Ticino, in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region, collected enough signatures to be able to launch a referendum that would ban burqas, niqabs and other Islamic head dresses. If the referendum goes ahead, it will be the first time in Switzerland that citizens have been asked to express an opinion on burqas.

On February 14, 2012, the far-right Swiss People’s Party, the country’s largest, filed a petition supporting a cap on immigration to Switzerland. The petition, which is the result of a months-long campaign to gather the required 100,000 signatures, is now being reviewed by Swiss authorities. If the proposals in the petition are deemed acceptable, it will then go to a popular referendum, in accordance with Switzerland’s unique system of direct democracy.

On February 27, the Swiss Parliament is scheduled to debate a series of proposals to crack down on Muslim forced marriages in Switzerland. There are an estimated 17,000 forced marriages in Switzerland; one-third of the victims are between the ages of 13 and 18, according to a ground-breaking study of the problem conducted in 2006.

The proposals being considered include: amending the Swiss Penal Code to make forced marriage a criminal offense; outlawing the marriages of minors; reviewing all future requests for marriage to ensure that no one is being married against her will; and mandating the deportation of any immigrants found to guilty of forcing someone to marry against her will.

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

The OSCE: Yet Another Avenue for Islamists to Control Speech

by Andrew E. Harrod and Adam Turner Feb 3, 2012 at the Legal Project:

Although more attention goes to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation‘s (OIC) prominent attempts to police speech in Western nations regarding Islam-related topics through the UN and the “Istanbul Process“, Muslim and Islamist desires to restrict critical speech concerning Islam-related topics and promote a positive image of their religion have also played a role in yet another international organization’s efforts to address the debate about Islam and Muslims. On October 28, 2011, a conference, titled: “Confronting Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims in Public Discourse,” was held at the Vienna headquarters of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE is an international grouping encompassing 56 states from North America (Canada and the United States), Europe, and the former Soviet Union. At this conference the Danish-Pakistani general-secretary of the Initiative of European Muslims for Social Cohesion (Die Initiative Europäischer Muslime für Sozialen Zusammenhalt or IEMSZ), Bashy Quraishi, called for “guidelines against Islamophobia in public discourse” and stated that “freedom of speech in Europe entails responsibility, something often forgotten by political leaders and journalists.” Also, General Quraishi as well as numerous other participants at the conference extolled the civilizational contributions of Islam – and Muslims – to humanity. Perhaps not too surprisingly in this politically correct world, in the end the OSCE seemingly acceded to Quraishi’s desire to protect Muslims from insulting speech and promote a positive view of Islam.

This fact is clearly visible in the resulting OSCE booklet titled – Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through Education (available online in PDF format). The OSCE’s booklet focuses heavily on fighting “Islamophobia,” a problem that even some surprising figures find clearly exaggerated. It claims that the “media” and “some political discourse” has “contributed” to a belief that Muslims are “extremists who threaten the security and well-being of others” and has resulted in a “range of discrimination.” The booklet also contains many politically correct, and sometimes undocumented, statements. In countering “recurring stereotypes in public discourse about Muslims” such as “their religion advocates violence” or their being “irrational and violent” and a “security threat,” the guidelines recommended a variety of “educational responses.” The booklet asserts that there is “much diversity within Islam” and that Muslims have a “great deal in common” with “people with different religious or cultural backgrounds.” It also says that “various religious or cultural communities, including Muslims, Christians, Jews and others, can and do have positive impacts on each other, and frequently work and live together in close co-operation and partnership.” Finally, it singles out “Islamic cultures and civilizations” for their oft-claimed, yet disputed, “substantial contributions over the centuries to science and technology, the arts and architecture, and law, ethics and philosophy.” Meanwhile, the booklet ignores, aside from general references to “radicalism and extremism,” the more unsavory issues of Islamist terrorist violence in its various forms and the imposition of radical Islamic norms, such as sharia, making many headlines today in reference to Islam.

Revealingly, the booklet references the OIC, in the section “Resources and Information Tools,” as just one institution among others concerned with human rights and freedom of speech. As followers of the LP know, the 57-member state (including, somewhat dubiously, Palestine) OIC has pursued a longstanding international agenda of attempting to legally curb criticism of Islam in general and Islamist groups in particular under the guises of “religious defamation” and “Islamophobia.” Further, the OIC contains no developed democracies with protections for human rights and free speech among its member states. Tellingly, OIC-headquarters host Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy that bans the proselytization and practice of non-Islamic faiths as well as “blasphemous” remarks against Islam or the Saudi monarchy, punishes homosexuals with death, and prevents women from voting or driving cars. (For specific examples of OIC member nations’ poor records of respecting human rights, please peruse the reports of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.) To place the OIC on an equal footing with international institutions committed to equality of all before the law is ridiculous, if not perverse.

Read the rest