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Old 03-12-2008, 09:50 PM   #1
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Fight Islamophobia - Lock Up Unbelievers!

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The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) called on Europe and America to take stronger measures against 'Islamophobia' in a report prepared for a summit of the group's 57 members in Dakar on Thursday and Friday.

The report by a special OIC monitoring group said the organisation was struggling to get the West to understand that Islamophobia "has dangerous implications on global peace and security" and to convince western powers to do more.

Islamic leaders have long warned that perceptions linking Muslims to terrorism, especially since the September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States, would make Muslims more radical.

The West must understand that "the war against terror cannot be successful without the support of Muslim countries," said the report.

OIC leaders have expressed renewed concern following events such as the publication in Denmark of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed and a plan by the Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders to release a film calling the Koran "fascist".

The OIC said Islam had faced constant attacks since it was created "but in recent years the phenomenon has assumed alarming proportions and has become a major cause of concern for the Muslim world."

The monitoring group called on Europe and North America to do more, through laws and social action, to protect Muslims from threats and discrimination and prevent insults against Islam's religious symbols.

"Many Muslim countries are themselves victims of terror and active partners of the international community in combating terror and extremism."

The report added that Muslims in many parts of the world, in the West in particular, are being stereotyped, profiled and subjected to various forms of discriminatory treatment.

"The most sacred symbols of Islam, in particular the sacred image of of the Prophet Mohammed is being defiled and denigrated in the most insulting, offensive and contemptuous manner to incite hatred and unrest in society."

In a veiled reference to the Danish cartoons and Wilders' film, the OIC said: "The Islamophobes remain free to carry on their assaults due to the absence of legal measures necessary against the misusing or abusing (of) the right to freedom of expression."

It called on OIC member states to "step up their counter-measures by keeping the pressure on the international community at multilateral and bilateral forums."

The OIC said the Muslim world must launch a campaign to show that it is a "moderate, peaceful and tolerant" religion, closely monitor and the raise the alert over anti-Islamic incidents and organise more inter-faith initiatives.

"Victims of Islamophobia must be encouraged and given necessary help to file complaints," said the report.
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Thankfully there was an a response to that gaggle of theocratic states and the ongoing effort to silence dissent against dark age superstition
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Islamic states are bidding to use the United Nations to limit freedom of expression and belief around the world, the global humanist body IHEU told the U.N.'s Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

n a statement submitted to the 48-nation Council, the IHEU said the 57 members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) were also aiming to undermine the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"The Islamic states see human rights exclusively in Islamic terms, and by sheer weight of numbers this view is becoming dominant within the U.N. system. The implications for the universality of human rights are ominous," it said.

The statement from the IHEU, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, was issued as the U.N.'s special investigator on freedom of opinion and expression argued in a report that religions had no special protection under human rights law.

Ambeyi Ligabo, a Kenyan jurist, said in a report to the Council limitations on freedom of expression in international rights pacts "are not designed to protect belief systems from external or internal criticism."

MOUNTING SUCCESS

But this argument is rejected by Islamic states, who say outright criticism -- and especially lampooning -- of religion violates the rights of believers to enjoy respect.

The IHEU statement and Ligabo's report came against the background of mounting success by the OIC, currently holding a summit in Dakar, in achieving passage of U.N. resolutions against "defamation of religions."

Although several such resolutions have been adopted by the two-year-old Council and its predecessor since 1999, in December the U.N.'s General Assembly easily passed a similar one for the first time over mainly Western and Latin American opposition.

The OIC -- backed by allies in Africa and by Russia and Cuba -- has been pushing for stronger resolutions on "defamation" since a global controversy arose two years ago over cartoons in a Danish newspaper which Muslims say insult their religion.

The "defamation" issue has become especially sensitive this year as the U.N. prepares to celebrate in the autumn the 50th anniversary of the 1948 Universal Declaration, long seen as the bedrock of international human rights law and practice.

The OIC has been actively promoting its own 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, which it argues is complementary to the Universal Declaration but which critics like the IHEU say negate it in many areas.

Humanists, who include believers of many faiths supporting separation of religion and state as well as atheists and agnostics, say the "defamation" drive is part of an effort to extend the Cairo declaration to the international sphere.

The IHEU statement argued the December General Assembly resolution means states "may now legislate against any show of disrespect for religion, however they may choose to define 'disrespect'."
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The undercutting of free speech rights in the name of respect is rather vile; coupling demands for censorship all over the world with the lingering threat of faith based violence should only make free states reject those demands more.
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:29 PM   #2
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Re: Fight Islamophobia - Lock Up Unbelievers!

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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
The undercutting of free speech rights in the name of respect is rather vile; coupling demands for censorship all over the world with the lingering threat of faith based violence should only make free states reject those demands more.
Of the 1.1-1.8 billion or so Muslims in the world, what %, roughly speaking, would you reckon are currently 'demanding censorship all over the world' and 'threatening faith based violence'?
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Old 03-12-2008, 11:11 PM   #3
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It isn't a direct threat by the OIC, it is the implied connection that by allowing an insult against Mohammed (or any depiction of him) to be published a country is making itself a target. Blasphemy has become a root cause that puts the burden of responsibility of violence upon the victim, Danish cartoons being published does not excuse somebody from plotting to blow up German commuters. A push for censorship be it by PR groups, interfaith groups or a coalition of concerned states that justifies it for those reasons should be viewed with suspicion.

Apathy is pretty universal to people, do most Muslims want to eliminate free speech on the other side of the world - I don't think they care one iota. Do their governments see it as an issue to get support and redirect anger - I think yes; the effective propaganda campaign that blew the initial cartoons out of all proportion across the kleptocracies of the Middle East and the passive approach towards the attacks on embassies served a valuable purpose in domestic politics. It also helps sure up that religious support that politicians the world over - irrespective of the faith - need to keep power.

Realistically whatever the OIC or UN does has little to no bearing on what is allowed to be said; but that doesn't stop religious belief being granted protection from criticism by well meaning western governments under the auspices of respect (and those laws protect Jews, Christians, Hindus etc. just as much and I think that is equally bad).
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:13 AM   #4
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Danish cartoons being published does not excuse somebody from plotting to blow up German commuters.
Didn't hear of that. That's a scary thought considering that many of my friends and family are "German commuters".
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:26 AM   #5
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http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/...estigation.php
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:29 AM   #6
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d'oh, totally forgot of that.
I thought it was some more recent newly discovered planned attack on German commuters into Denmark.

Thank you.
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:33 AM   #7
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24 hour news cycles are great, you can flush anything down the memory hole.
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:11 AM   #8
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So no one has anything to say about the other 95% of the piece about Islamophobes and people facing discrimination based on their religion in the West? So much attention given to a cartoon that wasn't particularly witty to begin with.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:56 PM   #9
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The Muslim world has created a battle plan to defend its religion from political cartoonists and bigots.

Concerned about what they see as a rise in the defamation of Islam, leaders of the world's Muslim nations are considering taking legal action against those that slight their religion or its sacred symbols. It was a key issue during a two-day summit that ended Friday in this western Africa capital.

The Muslim leaders are attempting to demand redress from nations like Denmark, which allowed the publication of cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 and again last month, to the fury of the Muslim world.

Though the legal measures being considered have not been spelled out, the idea pits many Muslims against principles of freedom of speech enshrined in the constitutions of numerous Western governments.

"I don't think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy," said Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. "There can be no freedom without limits."

Delegates were given a voluminous report by the OIC that recorded anti-Islamic speech and actions from around the world. The report concludes that Islam is under attack and that a defense must be mounted.

"Muslims are being targeted by a campaign of defamation, denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination," charged Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the group.

The report urges the creation of a "legal instrument" to crack down on defamation of Islam. Some delegates point to laws in Europe criminalizing the denial of the Holocaust and other anti-Semitic rhetoric. They also point to articles within various U.N. charters that condemn discrimination based on religion and argue that these should be ramped up.

"In our relation with the western world, we are going through a difficult time," Ihsanoglu told the summit's general assembly. "Islamophobia cannot be dealt with only through cultural activities but (through) a robust political engagement."

The International Humanist and Ethical Union in Geneva released a statement accusing the Islamic states of attempting to limit freedom of expression and of attempting to misuse the U.N.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that objectionable depictions of the Prophet Muhammad do not "give them the right under international human rights law to insist that others abide by their views."

Hemayet Uddin, the lead author of the OIC report and head of cultural affairs for the group said legal action is needed because "this Islamophobia that we see in the world has gone far beyond a phobia. It is now at the level of hatred, of xenophobia, and we need to act."

A new charter drafted by the OIC commits the Muslim body "to protect and defend the true image of Islam" and "to combat the defamation of Islam."

To protect the faith, Muslim nations have created an "observatory" that meets regularly to monitor Islamophobia. It examines lectures and workshops taking place around the world and prints a monthly record of offensive content.

But some of the summit's delegates said a legal approach would be over the top.

"My general view would be that the confrontational approach is one my country would avoid," said Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Iftekhar Chowdhruy. Bangladesh is 90 percent Muslim.

While the Muslim world worries about the image of Islam in the West, the U.S. envoy to the OIC attended the summit to try to tackle the thorny question of America's image among Muslim states.

Sada Cumber calls his campaign the "soft power" of the U.S. — an effort to find common ground with Muslim nations by championing universal values the U.S. holds dear like religious tolerance and freedom of speech.

"America has a deep respect for the religion of Islam," Cumber told The Associated Press. "The freedom of faith that we exercise, that we enjoy in America, that is also a very important aspect of the American core values. Anyone who wants to practice any faith is never stopped or discouraged."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080314/ap_on_re_af/islamic_summit_islamophobia

Blasphemy is the epitome of free speech and secularism, that it offends litigious bigots is a good thing.
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