Islamic nations are fighting to legally and internationally ban anything they consider blasphemous, Associated Press reports. And while they cynically try to paint it as an effort to ensure everyone’s human rights, all one has to do to know better is listen closely to what they themselves say.
The 56 member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference have mounted a campaign for an international treaty “to protect religious symbols and beliefs from mockery,” with Algeria and Pakistan leading the charge, A.P. reports.
A simple majority is needed in the General Assembly to pass such a treaty, which, A.P. notes in a study in understatement, “would face great resistance in Western nations that enshrine freedom of expression as a fundamental right.”
I certainly hope so.
I wonder if calls by Islamists to murder “the infidels” would be considered blasphemy by the infidels in question. Who gets to decide what constitutes mockery?
I’m sure that somehow a “legal” exception would be found for disparaging images and remarks about Jews or Israelis, for example.
A.P. notes that the Islamist fight for a blasphemy ban puts them “on a collision course with the West.” I say we’ve been on that course. This just helps bring into sharper focus for those willing to see it.
The A.P. story also suggests this could “revive fears of a ‘clash of civilizations,’” which may be a good thing – reviving awareness, that is, because the clash of civilizations has been underway for some while, now. The Islamists know it. We in the West are the only ones who don’t.
The story notes the eruption of Muslim violence following a Danish newspaper printing cartoons depicting Muhammad wearing a lighted bomb as a turban, and the countermove undertaken by several European newspapers to reprint the images – a courageous move, considering that the slightest perceived provocation can easily trigger a “fatwa,” or Islamic worldwide contract on the lives of anyone even peripherally connected to the perceived slight.
This incident helped spark the treaty campaign, A.P. reports.
The story says that were the treaty approved, any of the U.N.’s 192 member states that ratified it would be bound by its provisions and other countries could face criticism for refusing to join.
Western experts, while downplaying the seriousness of the situation, nevertheless, hint at it.
“Behind the scenes (the United States) has been lobbying hard to quash the proposal, dispatching a senior U.S. diplomat to Geneva last month for talks described as akin to trench warfare,” according to A.P.
“From a legal point of view, the whole exercise is dangerous from A-Z because it’s a departure from the practice and concept of human rights,” a representative of the U.N.’s International Commission of Jurists said. “It adds only restrictions.”
In another clear attempt to use the West’s own culture against it, the Islamists say they “believe that the attack on sacredly held beliefs and the defamation of religions, religious symbols, personalities and dogmas impinge on the enjoyment of human rights of followers of those religions,” according to a letter a group sent to a special U.N. committee. As though Islamic nations give a rat’s tushy about human rights. And in a separate submission, Pakistan proposed extending the treaty against racism to require signatories to “prohibit by law the uttering of matters that are grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion,” A.P. reports.
It’s not clear who would decide what is considered grossly abusive, but each country’s criminal courts would likely have initial jurisdiction over that decision, A.P. reports.
So, what this would logically mean is that, since Islamist “sensibilities” are so easily injured, no one would be able to say anything whatsoever about Islam or Islamists. On the other hand, almost nothing would be found off-limits in Western countries’ courts, where freedom of speech trumps almost anyone’s sensibilities. This would effectively make the treaty apply only to Islam, plunging the world into even more serious trouble than its in now.
A.P. reports that one American expert with more than 20 years experience in the U.N. human rights system said, in another study in understatement, that the treaty “could have far-reaching implications.”
A.P. quotes a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom which recently issued a report warning that existing blasphemy laws, “often have resulted in gross human rights violations,” and a Swedish expert noted that “introducing laws to protect religions from criticism would weaken the whole notion of human rights.”
“Religions as such do not have rights – it’s people who have rights,” he said.
Read “The Scarlet Letter” – a cautionary tale of a time before much of the West had outgrown its need to man-handle people into a particular belief system.
But A.P. reports that, remaining true to form, the Muslim chairman of that particular U.N. committee pooh-poohed concerns over the treaty stifling free speech, adding that “Failure to agree on a treaty would boost extremists in the Arab world.”
And, in case someone failed to catch the hint, he added, “If we keep hitting this glass wall and say there’s nothing you can do about Islamophobia – you can do something about anti-Semitism but Islamophobia is out of bounds – you give an ideal platform for recruitment of suicide bombers.”
I’m not sure what been done about anti-Semitism, but that’s another issue.
Besides the not-so-veiled threat implicit in the remark, we must all recognize that despite the lip service given to applying to all religions equally, this treaty is all about furthering the cause of Islamizing the world.
This is a shot across Western civilization’s bow, and we must effectively respond or risk appearing willing to throw our hands up and be boarded.
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