EU countries oppose Muslim views on racism meeting
GENEVA — European Union countries Tuesday stepped up their opposition to Muslim attempts to shield Islam from criticism and attack Israel through a U.N. conference on racism.
EU members were unusually outspoken in appearances before the U.N. Human Rights Council, saying they were worried about preparations for a global racism conference to be held next month because attention was being diverted from the real problems of racial discrimination.
Islamic countries, still angry over cartoons and films attacking Muslims, have been campaigning for wording that would equate criticism of a religious faith with a violation of human rights. The informal negotiations have proven difficult with many issues that marred the first U.N. conference on racism in 2001 re-emerging _ such as criticism of Israel.
The April 20-25 meeting is designed to review progress in fighting racism since the global body’s first such conference eight years ago in Durban, South Africa. That 2001 meeting was dominated by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery, and particularly marred by attacks on Israel and anti-Israel demonstrations at a parallel conference of non-governmental organizations.
The U.S. and Israel walked out midway through the 2001 conference over a draft resolution that singled out Israel for criticism and likened Zionism _ the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish state _ to racism. The European Union also refused to accept demands by Arab states to criticize Israel for its “racist practices.”
A U.N. resolution seeks to criminalize opinions that differ with the Islamic faith.
The Muslim religion makes unusually large claims for itself. All religions do this, of course, in that they claim to know and to be able to interpret the wishes of a supreme being. But Islam affirms itself as the last and final revelation of God’s word, the consummation of all the mere glimpses of the truth vouchsafed to all the foregoing faiths, available by way of the unimprovable, immaculate text of “the recitation,” or Quran.
If there sometimes seems to be something implicitly absolutist or even totalitarian in such a claim, it may result not from a fundamentalist reading of the holy book but from the religion itself. And it is the so-called mainstream Muslims, grouped in the Organization of the Islamic Conference, who are now demanding through the agency of the United Nations that Islam not only be allowed to make absolutist claims but that it also be officially shielded from any criticism of itself.
Though it is written tongue-in-cheek in the language of human rights and of opposition to discrimination, the nonbinding U.N. Resolution 62/154, on “Combating defamation of religions,” actually seeks to extend protection not to humans but to opinions and to ideas, granting only the latter immunity from being “offended.”
Rather than attempt to put its own house in order or to confront such other grave questions as the mass murder of Shiite Muslims by Sunni Muslims (and vice versa), or the desecration of Muslim holy sites by Muslim gangsters, or the discrimination against Ahmadi Muslims by other Muslims, the U.N. resolution seeks to extend the whole area of denial from its existing homeland in the Islamic world into the heartland of post-Enlightenment democracy where it is still individuals who have rights, not religions.
See where the language of Paragraph 10 of the resolution is taking us. Having briefly offered lip service to the rights of free expression, it goes on to say that “the exercise of these rights carries with it special duties and responsibilities and may therefore be subject to limitations as are provided for by law and are necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, public health or morals and respect for religions and beliefs.”
The thought buried in this awful, wooden prose is as ugly as the language in which it is expressed: Watch what you say, because our declared intention is to criminalize opinions that differ with the one true faith. Let nobody say that they have not been warned.
From March, 2008:
UN rights council passes Islamic resolution on religious defamation
GENEVA: The top U.N. rights body on Thursday passed a resolution proposed by Islamic countries saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it.
The European Union said the text was one-sided because it primarily focused on Islam.
The U.N. Human Rights Council, which is dominated by Arab and other Muslim countries, adopted the resolution on a 21-10 vote over the opposition of Europe and Canada.
EU countries, including France, Germany and Britain, voted against. Previously EU diplomats had said they wanted to stop the growing worldwide trend of using religious anti-defamation laws to limit free speech.
The document, which was put forward by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, “expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations.”
Although the text refers frequently to protecting all religions, the only religion specified as being attacked is Islam, to which eight paragraphs refer.
The resolution “notes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.”
The EU said, “International human rights law protects primarily individuals in their exercise of their freedom of religion or belief, not religions or beliefs as such.”
The pressure to protect religions from defamation has been growing ever since a Danish magazine published caricatures of Muhammad, provoking riots across the Islamic world in 2006 in which dozens of people were killed. The publication of a different caricature in a Swedish newspaper last year again led to protests from Muslims.
Islamic tradition forbids pictures of Muhammad, and Muslims claimed the caricatures were intended to insult their faith.
The resolution expresses “grave concern at the serious recent instances of deliberate stereotyping of religions, their adherents and sacred persons in the media.”
In other words: Islamic leaders want civilized countries throughout the world to become more like Islamic countries — where the largely barbaric Sharia Islamic law keeps people stuck in the dark ages.
Everyone is entitled to follow the religion of his choice (or to have no religion at all), but no one may use his religion to force others into bowing down to its principles.
Speaking of princples, we note that in the name of Islam countless extremist Muslims use any and every opportunity to stage violent protests, issue death threaths, destroy property, murder, and commit other acts of Islam-inspired terrorism. They go nuts (yes, nuts) over cartoons and teddy bears, while they generally keep quiet over acts of terrorism and other human rights violations commited by fellow members of their so-called ‘religion of peace.’
Our view is that
a) Islam as practiced and promoted by Islamists is largely incompatible with the principles and values of free, democractic countries.
b) With all due respect for those Muslims who interpret their religion to be a ‘religion of peace’– and practice it accordingly, the daily news clearly shows that Islam as practiced and promoted by Islamists is a danger to civilized individuals and countries alike.
In our opinion, acts of terrorism performed by extremist Muslims in the name of Islam are far more defamatory to Islam than any cartoon or film can ever be.
So, by the way, is the way Muslim fanatics use their right to free speech in civilized countries. We have all seen the pictures and videos of Muslims marching through the streets with placards and signs sporting such hate-filled phrases as, “Massacre those who insult Islam,” “To hell with your freedom,” or “Be prepared for the real holocaust.”
It is vitally important that civilized people retain the freedom to criticize a religion that inspires such evil behavior.
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