Monday, December 16, 2013

The OIC "Organizes" for Censorship

I begin this column with a quotation from Soren Kern's Gatestone article of December 11th, "OIC Blames Free Speech for 'Islamophobia' in West":
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an influential bloc of 57 Muslim countries, has released the latest edition of its annual "Islamophobia" report.
The "Sixth OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia: October 2012-September 2013" is a 94-page document purporting to "offer a comprehensive picture of Islamophobia, as it exists mainly in contemporary Western societies."
But the primary objective of the OIC-headquartered in Saudi Arabia and funded by dozens of Muslim countries that systematically persecute Christians and Jews-has long been to pressure Western countries into passing laws that would ban "negative stereotyping of Islam."
I've written in the past about the OIC's continuing campaign to insulate Islam from serious and satirical criticism here, here, and here in its call for international censorship. In this column I will discuss some angles Kern does not emphasize or discuss in his column.
The OIC report is unique in that it is illustrated and features photographs of individuals the OIC has found guilty of "Islamophobia," images of "offensive" newspaper headlines and photographs, and even of "defamatory" FaceBook pages and "tweets" that identify the alleged criminals. These can be found between pages 10 to 83, which constitute the bulk of the report and represent a "catalogue of crimes."
Kern writes, in reference to the OIC report:
But the common thread that binds the entire document together is the OIC's repeated insistence that the main culprit responsible for "the institutionalization of Islamophobia" in Western countries is freedom of speech, which the OIC claims has "contributed enormously to snowball Islamophobia and manipulate the mindset of ordinary Western people to develop a 'phobia' of Islam and Muslims."

According to the OIC, freedom of expression is shielding "the perpetrators of Islamophobia, who seek to propagate irrational fear and intolerance of Islam, [who] have time and again aroused unwarranted tension, suspicion and unrest in societies by slandering the Islamic faith through gross distortions and misrepresentations and by encroaching on and denigrating the religious sentiments of Muslims."
"Freedom of expression" occurs six times in the document, while "freedom of speech" occurs only once. Not that it makes a difference which term the document employs. (Hillary Clinton would agree.)  The term "hate speech" occurs fifteen times, while "hate crime" was used thirty-five times, most frequently in the "catalogue of crimes." The OIC demanded that Islam be "respected" seventeen times, and cited the importance of "interfaith dialogue" twenty-one times, even though such "dialogue" notoriously is set on Islamic terms and can go only one way, with concessions made by Christians and Jews, and none made by Muslims.
The term "toleration" and its variants, such as "intolerance," occur fifty-seven times in the document. What this means in practice is that Western societies must "tolerate" the depredations of Islam and "accommodate" Muslims at the price of Western civil liberties, while any resistance or criticism of Islam's ideology and practices, such as primitive Sharia law, can be designated as bigoted "intolerance."
Islamophobia, as Kern points out, is a "nebulous term" invented for the purpose of defaming the knowledge and certainty that Islam is primarily a political nemesis of totalitarian character and that Islam does not tolerate dissension from its tenets or the existence of other creeds.
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.
...the negative role played by major media outlets who not only propagate stereotypes and misperceptions about Islam, but also undermine and usually keep shadowed any meaningful instance of individuals or groups speaking out against intolerance, including advocacy of religious hatred and violence. This biased approach of the media has helped drawing an emphatically demonized, sometimes dehumanized, image of Muslims in the minds of a certain class of people which is predisposed to xenophobic feelings due to the increasingly dire economic situation, or the simply to the irrational fear of the other. (p. 15)
This is one of the most absurd claims of the report. The mainstream news media has not authored or perpetuated a "negative" stereotype of Islam and Muslims. Quite the contrary, it has instead largely white-washed Islam as a matter of editorial and journalistic policy, and denied that Islam has any causo-connection with Islamic terrorism, or has gone through evasive mental contortions to the same effect. If the news media has any "biased approach" to reporting news about Islam, it is in favor of Islam. One would need to search long and hard to find any major news media organization broadcasting any "negative" stereotypes or misperceptions about Islam.
Kern observes that:
The OIC concludes that "journalists and media organizations have a responsibility to avoid promoting rhetoric of hate by acting as a platform for its widespread dissemination." (p. 30)
One supposes that the OIC's model news platforms are Qatar-funded Al Jazeera and Russia's government-funded RT (Russia Today).
Kern quotes two key paragraphs from the OIC report.
According to the OIC, freedom of speech is to blame for the "perpetuation of Islamophobia," which:
"...has become increasingly widespread, which, in turn, has caused an increase in the actual number of hate crimes committed against Muslims. These crimes range from the usual verbal abuse and discrimination, particularly in the fields of education and employment, to other acts of violence and vandalism, including physical assaults, attacks on Islamic centers and the desecration of mosques and cemeteries." (p. 11)
"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... the exploitation of freedom of expression and perpetuation of an ideological context advocating an inescapable conflict of civilizations." (p. 7)
There is no mention in the report of the countless attacks on Christian churches or Jewish synagogues by Muslims. No mention in it of the countless physical attacks on Christians or Jews by Muslims. No mention of the murders committed by Muslims of non-Muslims. No mention of the countless rapes of non-Muslim women by Muslims in European countries. No mention of the nonstop, formulaic verbal abuse, libels, slanders, demonizations, and denigrations of Jews or Christians by Muslims in print or in person. No mention of the standard, stereotyping caricatures of Jews as drooling vampires by Muslims, or of the constant vilification of Jews as descendents of apes and pigs.
These are all "hate crimes" and instances of "hate speech" that go unpunished and unrecognized. But Islam is by definition the very "intolerant society" the OIC rails against with astonishingly arrogant verisimilitude, and in which, in Koranic theory and in practice, Muslims would be the only ones permitted "freedom of expression" in any way they chose with impunity.
Throughout the OIC report, Islam's "victimhood card" is as big as a highway billboard.
Kern also turns to the OIC's campaign in the United Nations to get its "tolerance" agenda approved and implemented.
Chapter 4 of the report, "OIC Initiatives and Activities to Counter Islamophobia," focused on the OIC's ongoing efforts to promote the so-called Istanbul Process, an aggressive effort by Muslim countries to make it an international crime to criticize Islam. The explicit aim of the Istanbul Process is to enshrine in international law a global ban on all critical scrutiny of Islam and Islamic Sharia law.
In recent years, the OIC has been engaged in a determined diplomatic offensive to persuade Western democracies to implement United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 16/18, which calls on all countries to combat "intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of... religion and belief." (Analysis of the OIC's war on free speech can be found here and here.)
And to prove that the U.N. knows and cares nothing about "human rights" (another "nebulous term"), look who was recently elected to be on its Human Rights Council:
The General Assembly today elected 14 countries to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for a period of three years beginning on 1 January 2014.
Algeria, China, Cuba, France Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Viet Nam, Russia, and United Kingdom, were elected by secret ballot today at UN Headquarters in New York.
When you grant formal recognition to governments and régimes that are little more than secular or religious tyrannies, hereditary monarchies, totalitarian behemoths, and tin pot dictatorships, this is the caliber of absurdity and insanity one should expect. It's called political "diversity."
Finally, Kern turns to the OIC report's chief ends:
Chapter 5 of the OIC report provides a set of conclusions and recommendations, which call on Western governments, international organizations and non-state actors to:
"Take all necessary measures within their power and legal/jurisdictional systems to ensure a safe environment free from Islamophobic harassment... by strictly enforcing applicable hate crime and discrimination laws;
"Create, whenever necessary, specialized bodies and initiatives in order to combat Islamophobia... based on internationally recognized human rights principles and standards;
"Combat Islamophobic hate crimes, which can be fuelled by Islamophobic hate speech in the media and on the Internet;
"Take all necessary measures to ensure that the media refrains from serving as a platform for the dissemination of hate speech... by associating extremism and terrorism to Islam and Muslims... and presents the true positive nature of Islam.
"Implement provisions of UNHRC Resolution 16/18 through the Istanbul Process mechanism as it offers a positive platform for debate, exchange of best practices and maintaining of a common and unified stance." (pp. 37-38)
There's little humor to be found in the OIC report. But, on one hand, just before it "condemns in the strongest possible terms the reprehensible release of the film 'The Innocence of Muslims' as a deliberate incitement to hatred that has deeply offended more than 1.5 billion Muslims and all the people of conscience in the world" (p. 90; actually, it was just a trailer for the film, and I was offended more by its sophomoric amateurishness than by its content), the report noted that a "Ministerial Brainstorming [was] held during the 39th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Djibouti in 2012..." On page 9, however, it was called a barnstorming session.
Kern ends his article with:
The report concludes with the transcript of a speech by OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, in which he thanks American and European political leaders for their help (here and here) in advancing his efforts to restrict free speech in the West.
"The Istanbul Process initiated with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton to build further on the consensus building that went into Resolution 16/18 must be carried forward. While the resolution forms a triumph of multilateralism, Istanbul Process must also be seen as a poster child of OIC-US-EU cooperation... I appreciate that this Process has come to be recognized as the way forward by all stakeholders... We need to build on it," Ihsanoglu said. (pp. 92-93)
Hillary Clinton, presidential hopeful, in December 2011 hosted an OIC "barn-or-brainstorming" session in Washington D.C. on how to curb freedom of speech without curbing freedom of speech. CNS observed that:
The Obama administration says a meeting in Washington next week seeks to make progress in combating religious intolerance, but critics say the U.S. is pandering to an ideological agenda aimed at restricting speech critical of Islam.
According to the State Department the aim is to find ways to combat religious hate without compromising freedom of expression. Detractors are skeptical that this can be done, and they suspect that free speech will end up the loser.
Hillary Clinton thinks that censorship is just halal when it comes to accommodating Islam and its 1.5 billion collect of brain-stultified manqués. She thinks that a semantic barnstorming stunt can be pulled off without actually censoring any and all criticism of Islam, serious or satirical.
However, remember what happened to the "Innocence of Muslims" fellow who she and Barack Obama blamed for the Benghazi attack during which four Americans were Muslims. Even those responsible for the attack denied any connection of it with the video. The attack was in the works long before the video was broadcast on YouTube.
But, to Hillary, what difference does that make?
 Are you Ready for Hillary in 2016? Prepared to shut your mouth and shut down your mind in the name of "tolerance"? She hopes Americans are ready to submit. She wants the White House very much.
She's "organized" her own brand of campaign taqiyya, but, the way things are going, that might not make a difference, either.
Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and suspense novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all available on Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security Matters, Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.    

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