But another prominent Muslim has visited the USA recently to speak in public. On September 18th Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic conference, gave a speech at Columbia University hosted by the School of International and Public Affairs. Prof. Ihsanoglu tends to be rather long-winded, so I’ll just post some excerpts below, accompanied by my ill-tempered commentary:
The subject of our gathering today is “The OIC’s new Charter, and its new visions and objectives, as well as its increasing role in international conflict resolution and prevention”. As many here might have faint information about the OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference), I thought that it will be useful to give a short introduction about this Organization and the reasons for its establishment. I also thought that it will be adequate to begin with a short glimpse on shedding light on the new Charter of the OIC which was adopted recently. I also find it irresistible to dwell on the phenomenon of the so-called Islamophobia which commands wide spread attention in the world especially and particularly in the West after the terrible and vicious crimes committed on 9/11 of 2001. Finally, I will discuss the OIC’s efforts in conflict resolution and preventive diplomacy.
Ah, “the so-called Islamophobia”. As if the term weren’t coined by the Muslims themselves (along with their allies on the Left) to transform a healthy fear of Islam into a designated mental illness in the DSM V, treatable with medication and directive therapy.
The term “Islamophobia” pre-empts any prudent, sensible, and sane aversions to Islam. Don’t like Mohammedans? Into the loony bin with you! We can help you, provided you want to be cured…
So what does Prof. Ihsanoglu have to tell us about Islamophobia? Phobia later; Islam first:
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Though the OIC is not a religious organization, we feel compelled on many occasions to clarify that Islam is the religion of moderation and compassion, a religion that celebrates diversity, pluralism, and recognition of the other. It recognizes and acknowledges both Christianity and Judaism and a host of other religions. Moderation in Islam: has, for millennia on end, found its expression in diverse shape and manifold meanings that have become the distinctive trait of Islamic civilizations and its particular trademark.
The religion of moderation and compassion. The same religion in whose name 11,934 deadly terrorist attacks have been launched since 9-11. The religion of amputated hands, severed heads, and women wearing tents. The religion that practices clitoridectomy and marries off its nine-year-old daughters. That religion.
I’m sure that Prof. Ihsanoglu would tell us that all those hideous acts are not carried out by true Muslims. Islam is a religion of peace, and real Muslims would never do such things.
Must be a lot of fake Muslims around.
…Islam is built on the premise that relations between humans can only be governed by virtue of the balanced principles of strict equality (first in the history of humanity), and justice and fairness which abhors fanaticism and extremism. It should be pointed out that Islam is no stranger to America. It is, today, an integral part of the American religious landscape, and a visible part of the fabric of the American society.
Strict equality of what? Men and women? Muslim and non-Muslim? What do the sharia experts at Al-Azhar University have to say about that?
Today 1.58 billion souls around the world embrace Islam, and at least seven millions of them reside in the United States. Islam is reckoned to be the fastest growing religion in the world.
That’s what you always tell us. And I notice the grand total has ratcheted up again: three months ago it was 1.4 billion. That’s an increase of 180 million, or an average of about two million Muslims added every day. How much of that comes through conversions, and how much from Islamic fecundity?
And how much of it comes from making numbers up out of whole cloth?
Islam with its 14 centuries of existence had a radiant history of success. It was a remarkable turning point in the history of civilization that brought about considerable changes in the domain of human endeavour. I would like, in this context, to quote Prince Charles of England who enumerated in a speech at Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies some of the Islamic heritage rendered to the human civilization…
I’m not going to repeat the nauseating words of Prince Dhimmi; suffice it to say he praised the wonderful achievements of Islam in the fields of art, science, architecture, mathematics, and genital mutilation. All right; I admit it: I added that last one myself.
The Muslim Ummah, means the “community of the faithful”. It is a unique bond that has no similar example under any other political or religious system in the world. It is a belonging to ideals which bring Muslims together in an eternal brotherhood lock which transcends all other consideration of allegiance or loyalties or barriers of nationhood, ethnicity, geography or language. [emphasis added]
You’ll never see it stated more plainly than that: Islam transcends any loyalties of nationhood. Muslims carry no obligation save to the Ummah; anything else is a temporary strategy, to be discarded as soon as it is expedient to do so.
Over almost the last fourteen centuries, Muslims, the world over, had a “symbolic” central authority which exercised mainly loose temporal authority and considered a focal point of Muslim unity. Under these circumstances, Islam and Muslims lived their golden age with abundant prosperity, wealth and a vibrant civilization in a society that ennobled knowledge, cherished sciences, and offered a very rich legacy to human civilization.
Ah, yes. The Golden Age of Islam.
What the Secretary-General doesn’t tell you is that all the ornate magnificence of Islam’s “Golden Age” was taken by force from the higher civilizations that Islam supplanted by force. The good life in Baghdad, Algiers, and Istanbul was made possible by the slave labor of millions, the taxes levied on the surviving dhimmis, and the baggage trains of booty that made their way from the devastated cities of the infidels to the palaces of the sultans.
Since I assuming [sic] my duties at the beginning of 2005 and particularly since March this year under the new vision of the Charter, I have directed the OIC towards a two-pronged direction: moderation and modernization. In this, the OIC stands firm in rejecting and condemning all forms of fanaticism, extremism, terrorism and bigotry. It emphasizes inter-civilizational and interfaith dialogues based on mutual respect and equality among interlocutors. The OIC also defends the respect of human rights, and endeavours to promote good governance, to widen political participation, respect of the rule of law, ensuring transparency and accountability, while combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and rejecting all attempts to justify this scourge.
Specifics, man, specifics! Where is all this happening? Which Islamic countries respect human rights? Which countries allow criticism of Islam, or disrespect towards the Prophet, or conversion out of Islam? Which countries allow women full equality with men under the law?
Despite the discomfort of those auditorium chairs, the audience has mostly dozed off by now. Which is too bad, because Prof. Ihsanoglu has finally reached the red meat of his speech: Islamophobia.
I would like to turn now to the phenomenon of Islamophobia.
Islamophobia is a new name to an old phenomenon. It is bent on demonizing Islam and its adherents, and on separating the world into rival civilizations.
So Islamophobia is the cause of the separation of rival civilizations? There’s nothing in the Koran and the hadith instructing the faithful to keep themselves apart from non-believers and to take no friends among the Jews and the Christians? Did I read that somewhere, or did I just imagine it?
The causes of Islamophobia are many and some of them are rooted in historical animosity. Reports of Western Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organizations indicate that Islamophobia in the West is so widespread that it may be more prevalent and dominant than racial abuse. Some Western media’s frequent portrayal and misrepresentations of Islam and Muslims have been one of the most persistent and virulent sources of prejudice against Muslims. It is now considered by the estimate of the Alliance of Civilizations as the prime dissemination of Islamophobia in the contemporary climate, and recognized as the most serious international threat to stability.
Besides Jyllands-Posten and maybe The Daily Mail, what media in the West have portrayed Islam in anything except the most fawning and favorable light? What newspapers is this guy reading? What channels does his satellite dish pick up? Has he looked at CNN International lately?
Some scholars are also constantly presenting their biased views against Islam under the guise of scholarly presentation in their bid to set a false paradigm of knowledge against Islam. What is more alarming in this climate is the fact that Islamophobia has become increasingly tolerated as if it had been given license to gain legitimacy, acceptance and momentum to the extent that some start to see themselves on a collision course with Muslims and Islam.
Scholars are setting up “false paradigms” and these are “tolerated”. So who is doing the tolerating? The governments of the West? And what should they do to correct the false paradigm and establish a true one?
I’ll give you three guesses:
A major bone of contention with the proponents of Islamophobia is the question of freedom of expression. Although all agree that any freedom is always linked to responsibility, such as respecting human rights, and avoiding any form of incitement to hatred on the basis of race or religious belief, we find that some circles tend to ignore this basic universal and moral value and accuse Muslim victims of this racial hatred, who are defending their human rights, nevertheless, of trying to stifle freedom of expression.
“All agree”. You, I, and everyone else agrees that freedom of speech does not include the right to insult someone else’s religion. Right?
He doesn’t mention them, but Prof. Ihsanoglu is surely thinking about the Motoons in this regard. We all support freedom of speech, and we all agree that it has limits, and drawing funny pictures of a guy with a bomb in his turban falls outside that limit. There isn’t a law, but there oughta be, and if Prof. Ihsanoglu has his way, there will be one.
The collective efforts of the OIC and the member states have made an impact on the international community and have contributed towards raising global awareness of the dangerous implications of the phenomenon.
Translation: “Our threats have had the desired effect. Almost no newspapers and magazines outside of Denmark dared to republish the Motoons, and some of those that did — such as the Western Standard in Canada — felt the hot breath of their own countries’ hate speech laws as a result. We did good.”
Political leaders and opinion makers including academics and civil society leaders of the western world have now started to speak out against Islamophobia. The Dutch Foreign Minister in his speech at the First AoC Annual forum in Madrid in January 2008 stated and I quote, “Those in my country who call for the Koran to be banned are undermining the central principle of universal human rights. I condemn such calls in the strongest possible terms.” Unquote.
Yes, the Dhimmi Dutch have fully capitulated, and will neutralize The Blond if they possibly can. We all know that. But…
The United States Government also showed its sensitivity to the concerns of the OIC by its decision to avoid anti Islamic terminology in their official memos and correspondences.
Yes, it did. The craven lickspittle minions of the Bush administration were jerked up short on their Saudi petrodollar chains and did exactly as instructed by their masters in Riyadh. Makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it?
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed resolution no. 1605 (2008) at its 13th sitting on 15th April 2008 which, inter alia, called on the member states of the Council of Europe to “act strongly against discrimination in all areas and condemn and combat Islamophobia and recommended development of ethical guidelines to combat Islamophobia in the media and in favour of cultural tolerance and understanding, in cooperation with appropriate media organizations”. These are without doubt encouraging developments but are not enough to effectively address the issue of Islamophobia.
So the EU’s obsequious submission is encouraging, but it’s not quite enough. Well, what would be enough? What’s the problem?
The problem is that the EU and its member states have been less than zealous in their implementation of “international law”:
It is clearly established that international law and in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966 forbids any incitement to religious hatred. Article 20 of this Covenant stipulates that “Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.” Despite this clear stipulation, the Attorney General of Denmark failed to see in the infamous Danish Cartoons issues on Prophet Mohamed, any incitement to hatred on bases of religion or belief. The same authority in the Netherlands did the same thing in the case of the film Fitna, produced by a Member of Dutch Parliament.
Yes, we always come back to the Motoons. The Eurabia train was rolling smoothly down the track until ol’ Turban Bomb dropped in front of it. And then Fitna came along to add insult to injury. Quoting the Koran! Playing the recorded sermons of imams in mosques! The nerve of that Geert Wilders!
Such negative or indifferent attitudes adopted by officials in certain Western countries which seem to condone acts of an Islamophobic nature, can only lead to legitimizing Islamophobia and enhancing discrimination against Muslims and exposing their well-being and safety to danger.
Is this projection, or what? All those free-thinking Muslim authors and cartoonists who have to go into hiding or live under police protection! All those Muslim film-makers who were shot and stabbed and left dead on the street by angry Christian zealots!
At this point I wish to touch upon the role of politicians in this issue. What is expected from them is particularly a moral stand against provocative incitements targeting a part of their population and harming social peace with implications beyond their countries. We are not calling for Government action to jeopardize or stifle freedom of speech, which we hail and uphold as a fundamental right. However, we believe that it is the prerogative of a government to identify and react when sheer incitement to hatred, supposedly banned by international law, creep into their society under the guise of freedom of speech.
Got that? We Muslims respect your infidel freedom of speech, provided that you understand that it does not give you the right to incite hatred towards Muslims. And we Muslims, of course, get to decide what inciting hatred consists of. So pay attention.
As for the role of the OIC in the difficult domain of conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict resolution, I would like to say that our Organization is doing its best to play an important role in this direction.
This is a reminder that the OIC runs a classic shakedown racket. The actions of Westerners, who abuse their freedom of speech to incite hatred, are generating anger among Muslims. This is regrettable, but understandable, given the depth of humiliation experienced by Muslims when their Prophet is insulted.
The OIC strives incessantly to attain a peaceful resolution of contentious issues, but really, what can they do when the anger of the Muslim street is so intense? Muslims would respond favorably towards a conciliatory gesture — the imprisonment of certain cartoonists, perhaps, or the closing down of a newspaper or two. And maybe a few billion more dollars in foreign aid.
Then Muslims might feel more well-disposed towards the infidel West, making a peaceful resolution possible.
There’s more — much more — in the Secretary-General’s speech, and you can read the whole thing at the OIC website. What it boils down to is this:
As has often been stated, the OIC has a ten-year plan for eliminating Islamophobia, and this plan is well underway. In order to achieve its goal, the OIC requires that Western nations submit to the dictates of international law, as passed by the UN General Assembly with the extensive advice and collaboration of — you guessed it — the OIC.
To be in full compliance with UN resolutions, we will have to surrender certain liberties. Nothing serious, mind you; nothing that we’ll really miss. Just some frivolous excesses of freedom of speech, which we’ve been abusing a little bit.
No more making fun of the Prophet. No more talk about Islamofascism. No disrespectful cartoons. No funny songs about Mohammed.
Then we can all live in peace, and the world will be as one.
Oh, and one more thing: no eating lunch in front of Muslims during Ramadan.
Hat tip: TB.