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The Organization of Islamic Cooperation: Free Speech Implications of a Proposed Ban on “Islamophobia”

“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.

http://www.hudson.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=hudson_upcoming_events&id=1057

Tests for Defining the “Moderate” Muslim

IS THE MUSLIM in question an orthodox Muslim or a heterodox Muslim? And which teachings does the Muslim reject? These are vital questions for Muslims who wish to live in a non-Muslim country, and these are vital questions to know for non-Muslim countries when deciding who to allow to immigrate, to build mosques within our borders, to get jobs in government security, to join the military, etc.

How can non-Muslims discriminate between those who follow Islam’s prime directive, and those who have rejected it?

An organization called Former Muslims United has come up with one good possibility: A Muslim can sign the Freedom Pledge.

The 878-word Freedom Pledge outlines the principles of Islamic law under which apostates from Islam are subject to the death penalty. It notes that the four schools of Sunni Islam — Hanafi, Miliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali — “unanimously agree that a former Muslim male, also known as an apostate, must be executed” and that a woman, at best must be “imprisoned or beaten five times a day until she repents or dies” and at worst, like men executed outright. It then goes on to cite 1978 and 1989 religious rulings — from the Fatwa Council at Al Azhar University, the closest Muslim equivalent to the Vatican, and the Mufti of Lebanon, each, respectively consigning a renegade Muslim to death if they “do not repent.” Perhaps “a misunderstanding on his part may have taken place, and there would thus be an opportunity to rectify it,” intones the Mufti. But he must do so within three days, or die.

By signing the Freedom Pledge, a Muslim promises to “renounce, repudiate and oppose any physical intimidation, or worldly and corporal punishment, of apostates from Islam, in whatever way that punishment may be determined or carried out by myself or any other Muslim including the family of the apostate, community, Mosque leaders, Shariah court or judge, and Muslim government or regime.”

Only two of the 111 Muslim leaders in 50 U.S. Muslim organizations to whom FMU sent the Freedom Pledge actually signed it. Those two heroes are Zuhdi Jasser (American Islamic Forum for Democracy) and Dr. Ali Alyami (Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia).

The results of the FMU Freedom Pledge — to date sent to 163 American Muslim leaders at 50 organizations — show that less than 1.3% of American Muslim leaders are actually moderate.

Read the rest at http://dttj.blogspot.com/2010/07/way-to-tell-who-is-practicing-muslim.html

The OIC “Organizes” for Censorship

by EDWARD CLINE

….According Robert Spencer and David Horowitz’s 2011 publication, Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future:

 …A front group – the International Institute for Islamic Thought – invented the term “Islamophobia.

Abdur-Rahman Muhammad is a former member of the International Institute for Islamic Thought.  He was present when the word “Islamophobia” was created, but now characterizes the concept of Islamophobia this way: “This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliché conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.” In short, in its very origins, “Islamophobia” was a term designed as a weapon to advance a totalitarian cause by stigmatizing critics and silencing them.

The term occurs in the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” which details the means and ends of introducing Islam in the U.S. with the long-term end of colonizing it with immigrant Muslims and gradually and stealthily transforming it into an Islamic state. Kern quotes from the OIC report:

Islam and Muslims have increasingly been portrayed as representing violence and terror that seek to threaten and destroy the values of Western civilization and that the Muslim way of life is incompatible with Western values of human rights and fundamental freedoms. For Muslims, Islamophobia is a deliberate scheme to distort the teachings and principles of peace and moderation engrained in Islam. As part and result of this scheme, Muslims tend to be collectively accused for any violence that erupts in society and are seen as ipso facto potential suspects well ahead of any investigation. This negative stereotype causes Muslims to be subjected to indignity, racial discrimination and denial of basic human rights. (p. 11, OIC report)

Islam and Muslims are justifiably associated with violence and terror and as a threat to Western civilization. That is, after all, an article of faith expressed in the Muslim Brotherhood memorandum of 1991.

The Ikhwan [the Brothers] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.

And over all other ideologies, beliefs, and principles. There will be no arguing the point. Kern goes on about how that “grand jihad” is being carried out by calling for restrictions on speech that castigate or criticize Islam, and quotes from the report:

The chapter further underscores that increased hate speech and discrimination against Muslims is a major factor behind the rise of the phenomenon of Islamophobia. In this context, acceptance of various forms of intolerance, including hate speech and the propagation of negative stereotypes against Islam and Muslims in some western countries contribute towards proliferation of intolerant societies. This process is further supported by three main manifestations, namely: the exploitation of freedom of expression and perpetuation of an ideological context advocating an inescapable conflict of civilizations; the right wing parties have politicized Islamophobia and instrumentalized fear in the context of growing socio-economic instability as well as the erosion of human rights in the name of national security and the fight against terrorism. (p. 7, OIC report)

The report claims that the news media is largely responsible for contributing to the alleged environment of fear and trepidation experienced by Muslims….
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From 2008: Appeasing Islam

Germany: Art studio bans nude sketches “out of respect for Muslims”

By Robert Spencer

Nude studies have been part of Western art from time immemorial, and have no intrinsic or inherent connection with lewdness or pornography. But the example of Michelangelo and everyone else goes out the window when it comes to appeasing Muslims. The principle is absolute: in Muslim countries, non-Muslims must conform their behavior to Islamic sensibilities. In non-Muslim countries, non-Muslims must conform their behavior to Islamic sensibilities.

“Berlin: Artist not allowed to show nude sketches ‘out of respect for Muslims,'” by Cheradenine Zakalwe for Islam Versus Europe, November 10 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

In the invitation to the private art show the project sounded really good. It sounded as if something good was being done for artists. Marzahn-Hellersdorf Adult Education Centre is giving artists the opportunity to present their works to a wide public on the floors of the institution. Creatives are brought together with citizens and thus exposed to criticism much more directly than in a commercial gallery. This is how the municipality describes its art exhibition space programme. “Imaginative & colourful paintings and drawings” is the name of the current exhibition of the Berlin artist Susanne Schüffel.The show was supposed to open with a celebration on Friday evening. But the private show was not held; the artist had cancelled. She was allowed to show only some of her pictures. Six nude pictures had been removed a few days before. She is raging….

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Islamic Thugismo at Work

By DAVID SOLWAY

….Thus, such brawny Muslim organizations and their minions, initiating predatory  defamation suits, are able to flaunt their thugismo with almost total impunity. The same applies to Muslims acting as individuals, whether lawyers, imams or students, amplifying the nuisance factor until it reaches untenable proportions. A human rights suit filed against publisher and journalist Ezra Levant by Calgary imam Syed Soharwardy for reprinting the Danish cartoons in his newspaper, The Western Standard, cost Levant 900 days of litigation, over $100,000 — and The Western Standard. This despite the fact that Soharwardy ultimately withdrew his complaint.

Similarly, a suit lodged by one Mohamed Elmasry, an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo and president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, against Canada’s largest weekly, MacLean’s magazine, for publishing a book excerpt by Mark Steyn about the Islamic threat to the West, led to the predictable result. The suit cost the magazine $2 million despite an eventual acquittal. Nonetheless, it was mission accomplished for the Islamic machine: MacLean’s now steers clear of sensitive Islamic subjects. (See Levant’s Shakedown for an account of these travesties of justice.) Under the peculiar laws governing the status of Canada’s human rights commissions, neither of the plaintiffs had to cough up a cent, enjoying a free ride on the taxpayer’s dime.

Civil suits are adjudicated differently, but those without deep pockets — that is, most of us — have little incentive and less chance of carrying on the fight indefinitely against obscenely wealthy Islamic organizations or individual Muslims who go proxy for them. They are very sure of themselves, strutting about the halls of power and justice like milites gloriosi in pinstripes. Indeed, the legal profession is brindled with Muslim lawyers who know the law intimately and are comfortable deploying it against non-Muslims who offend them, offering their services to their co-religionist clients at a reduced rate or even pro bono. In consequence, the verdict is largely predetermined: win or lose, the defendant’s life is almost always ruined. In my friend’s case, the plaintiff demanded exorbitant punitive damages and legal fees, as well as an over-the-top, reputation-killing retraction. The option of rejecting so outrageous a settlement and pursuing the matter in court is both too costly and too risky for the defendant, since the juridical apparatus in this country is weighted against the dispensation of elementary justice. Welcome to the Great White North.

“Suing over the back-and-forth of public discourse,” Steyn writes, “turns the entire citizenry into an enfeebled child.…To litigate every offence is to give a not especially distinguished judiciary the power to micro-regulate social relations.” Steyn knows whereof he speaks for he is once again being sued, not by a Muslim for a change, but by climate “warm-monger” and false Nobel laureate Michael Mann. Levant is also back in court, being sued by a former plaintiff in the MacLean’s burlesque, one Khurrum Awan, who is not a putative climate specialist but an actual Muslim. At least he is sticking to the standard plot line. Levant had called Awan “a liar,” an epithet corroborated by the fact that Awan, as Steyn comments, had been shown in the original proceeding to have “been guilty of telling an untruth about one of the central facts in the case.” Awan complained that as a result of Levant’s ostensible slur, he has been “shunned by his friends.” This palpably nonsensical, self-pitying and surely non-justiciable bleat may cost Levant another $100,000 in Canada’s superannuated justice system. “This is called lawfare,” Levant explains on his blog. “Muslim extremists who enjoy Canada’s free speech for themselves, seek to take it away from their Canadian critics. Using our own laws.” Once again, mission accomplished. Awan had boasted after the original trial: “We attained our strategic objective — to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material.”….

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Stealthy Moves against Freedom of Speech

by EDWARD CLINE

nofreespeech

….In its quest to criminalize speech that’s critical of all Islam-related topics, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)* endorsed the formation of a new Advisory Media Committee to address “Islamophobia.”

This past September, the OIC held “The First International Conference on Islamophobia: Law & Media.” The conference endorsed numerous recommendations which arose from prior workshops on Islamophobia from media, legal and political perspectives.  A main conclusion was the consensus to institutionalize the conference and create an Advisory Media Committee to meet under the newly established OIC Media Forum based in Istanbul Turkey.

Note that the conference was not held to discuss the criminalization of “Judeophobia” or “Christophobia” or even “Atheistiophobia.”

Supposedly, the purpose of the conference was to support an OIC campaign to “correct the image of Islam and Muslims in Europe and North America.”  By this, it means to whitewash the intolerant, violent and discriminatory aspects of Islam and Islamists.  The OIC has launched a campaign to provide disinformation to the public, delinking all Islam from these undesirable traits and attacks all who insist on these truths, as bigots, racists and Islamophobes….

Its present goal is the international criminalization of all speech that “defames” Islam, which the OIC defines as anything that sheds a negative light on Islam or Muslims, even when it’s true (wrote Clare Lopez in American Thinker in 2011).

Its target is the West and one of its tactics is to accuse those who criticize Islam or its various interpretations as “Islamophobic.” It is attempting to pass the equivalent of Islamic blasphemy codes in the West, using accusations of bigotry to silence anyone who speaks the truth about Islamic terrorism or Islamic persecution of religious minorities.

The OIC wants enforceable laws passed in Western nations that complement its wish to criminalize speech regarding Islam. In practice, this would mean that only Islamic clerics and spokesmen would be allowed to say anything about Islam. And Muslims, treated as “victimized” minorities in those nations, would be free to persecute, murder, rape, and terrorize Jews, Christians, atheists and other non-Muslims with impunity and indemnity everywhere and any time they wished. As they do now.

Can such Orwellian laws be passed in this country? The existence of “hate speech” and “hate crime” judicial decisions in American courts has prepared the ground for them here. It was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who invited OIC members to a conference in Washington to discuss how American law can conform to U.N. Resolution 16/18 and the OIC agenda. What difference can it make to her if Americans are gagged and threatened with prosecution for speaking out against Islam or drawing to the public’s attention the gruesome facts of Islam in practice and in action?

Just remember, and to paraphrase that Orwellian warning: “Hate speech” is “hate crime.” Just ask Audrey Hudson, the journalist whose home was raided by Federal and Maryland state law enforcement in search of evidence of her own “hate crime.”

And so began Hudson’s nightmare – held captive by armed agents of the U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland State Police and the Department of Homeland Security as they staged a pre-dawn raid in search of unregistered firearms and a “potato gun.”

“I think they found a great way to get into my house and get a hold of my confidential notes and go through every other file in my office.”  – Audrey Hudson, journalist

But instead of taking the potato gun, agents seized unrelated government documents and notes from the former Washington Times journalist.

Agents took Hudson’s records during a search for guns and related items owned by her husband, a civilian Coast Guard employee. They also confiscated her legally registered firearms, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The lesson here is that a search warrant no longer is a protection against the depredations of any government agency that has the power to expropriate one’s property, or to intimidate anyone who has been critical of government policies, gaffes, failures and tyrannical behavior. Search warrants are now just a pretext to violate one’s person and one’s rights.

The barbarians and totalitarians inside and outside our borders are ready to ambush the First Amendment and render us helpless against their onslaught.

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