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Free Speech vs Shielding Islam from Critics

Free Speech vs Shielding Islam from Critics

The controversy over attempts to squelch “defamation of religions” is
heating up. Individuals and organizations are speaking out. One of my
Google Alerts  brought my attention to UN to consider anti-blasphemy laws proposed by the Organization of Islamic Conference, would make criticism of Islam illegal in America at Saynsumthn’s Blog.

The lead article, a press release from CFI,  is
followed by a year old video clip of Christopher Hitchens and Lou Dobbs discussing the recent
resolutions.  After that, we get down to business: a panel discussion on  the conflict between free speech and religious sensitivities.  The subject at hand is Islamic demands for legislation to shield their deen from criticism.  International PEN sponsored the event.

Several participants are not native speakers of English and some of the concepts under discussion are not easy to express, so much of the discussion is difficult to listen to.  Half of one exchange  has been covered by several blogs including Front Page Magazine.
Pakistan’s Ambassador let fly with some heated remarks and hauled tail when a Canadian human rights advocate responded forcefully.  In my view, the Ambassador’s rant deserves more scrutiny, which it will receive presently. [Superscripts in the text are linked to my comments.
Use your back button to return to the text.]

This video is huge. With a download speed of 52K,  it took a while to buffer and drained a
great deal of memory. I foolishly clicked a link before rewinding to
the interesting  part, and wound up repeating the process.

From the PEN American Center, United
Nations Side-session Panel Discussion with Dr. Agnes Callamard,
director, ARTICLE 19 (UK), Professor Tariq Ramadan (Switzerland), Mr.
Budhy M. Rahman, program officer, The Asia Foundation (Indonesia);
Moderated by Mr. John Ralston Saul, writer, president of International
PEN (Canada).


International PEN and its national centers are extremely
concerned about ongoing processes in the United Nations aimed at
combating defamation of religions. We are also concerned about an
initiative by the UN Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards,
established in 2007 by the Islamic Conference (OIC) and a group of
African countries, to draft a treaty that would ban religious
defamation. Human Rights protect individual human beings, not
institutions or religions. Criticism of religions and religious
practices must be allowed, in particular when religions are viewed from
a political point of view. As organizations representing writers,
artists, and journalists of all faiths and none, we warn against any
regulations prohibiting criticism of any religion or any set of ideas.

Against this background we have asked a group of high profile
scholars, writers, and human rights defenders to join us for a side
event in Geneva on the afternoon of September 16 in Room XXI of the UN

Each year for the last decade, the UN and its human rights
commission/council have debated and passed resolutions combating
defamation of Islam/religions.  Those resolutions give immoral
support to local blasphemy laws, which  facilitate oppression
& persecution of minorities  under Islamic  regimes.
The OIC wants them to be given the force of law so that critics
of Islam can be prosecuted in the West.  International PEN
mentioned the Ad Hoc Cmte. which is working on a binding protocol to
ICERD.  Not much is known about the cmte.’s work and most people
are unaware of it. My series of blog posts on the subject, including
quotes from and links to the available  documents, have been
compiled into pdf files which you can download for study at leisure.


Ambassador Zamir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN,
Geneva  says he needs more  than one minute.. two?
wanna limit my freedom of expression?  Plenty of opportunity
to talk in this building.  But not before this meeting, which
needs to hear from me because I speak not only for Pakistan but for the
Islamic countries here.  The President doubts it. Gets three
minutes; declares himself “coordinator of the OIC”.  ,…

think what you have started here is an unnecessary debate because we in
the Islamic world do not look at this as a debate between freedom of
expression and freedom of religion.1
We are not
opposed to freedom of expression, what we are opposed to is the abuse
of this freedom to insult a entire religious faith and
belief system  as well as the followers of the faith.2
Let me say that we–what we are seeking is equal treatment for
Muslims especially in  the West. And we believe that we are being
denied this equal treatment because of double standards which Mr.
Ramadan has also spoken about and we believe that this attitude on the
part of the West is a example of sanctimonious arrogance. 3

Laws in the West do protect religious beliefs and there are countries
that have blasphemy laws in the West itself. I can give you the names
of the countries that do have them: Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland,
Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland
and I can tell you each and every article in their constitutions which
gives them these laws on blasphemy.  The problem sir is also very
apparent in the way that the West treats Muslims and the views and
beliefs of Muslims and the way it treats for instance, antisemitism.
There are laws in Western countries that will put a person in
jail for antisemitic statements or denying the Holocaust.4

That is a treatment that is not extended to Muslims in this part of the
world.5 The facts speak
for themselves. We have before us the cartoon issue.6
We have before us the minaret–the ban on minarets in Switzerland.  The posters in this
ban campaign showed minarets designed as missiles.7 The linkage to
showing that Muslims are in a way people who resort to violence and are
dangerous persons.8 There is this film by Geert Wilders called
Fitna which equates our holy book the Qur’an with Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
Not a single verse from the Qur’an has been quoted to demonstrate that
Muslims or our Qur’an or our belief promotes violence by Mr. Wilders.9

The ban on the burqa10, the ban on the mosque in Manhattan11, and this ‘burn a
Qur’an day12‘– they are all manifestations of the same thing that is going on–that is taking place in the West13. Mr. Obama has taken a position against the burning of the
Qur’an.14 And what has he been labeled as?15 A Muslim and he himself is denying that he is a Muslim as if being a Muslim is a crime16. What if he is a Muslim?17 That is somehow–we feel that it is extremely offensive18.

There is racial profiling against Muslims19. Even if you are the most respectable
person you are separated and you are put into a different pew when you
are at an airport.  Everyone of your bags is opened; you are
stripped down to your –your clothes are stripped off your body; these
are the realities of treatment that is being extended to Muslims in the
West today20.

So it is not about the defamation of Islam, sir, it is about the victimization of Muslims that has to be addressed and that is what we are seeking here.21

We are being linked to terrorism whereas terrorism has no religion22;
there are examples of terrorists in every religious denomination.
The IRA were not Muslims, they were Catholics.  So — and there
are several other examples of terrorism that are [unintelligible] .
Instead of promoting your view and other Western views; instead of
promoting a dialog between Islam and other religious denominations os
actually serving the cause of those who want to use religion and want
to use this disinformation against Islam23 to promote greater
victimization of Muslims.  There is a failure and actually a
refusal to try and understand what we are trying to say. [1:11:01
Interrupted by Raheel Raza]


you very much. I am a Canadian of Pakistani heritage and I would like
to totally rebut what the honorable Ambassador here has said. I
have lived in the West for over 25 years, I don’t know where he’s
been living, but I think Muslims have more freedom in the West than
they ever have in many Muslim lands. When you talk about inter-faith
dialog there is absolutely no intra-faith dialog going on between the
Muslim communities and dialog is a two way street.  Mr.
Ambassador, sir, I’m responding to what you said, so it is rude of you
to get up and leave. However, I will say this for the rest of the
audience here, that this is  absolutely unacceptable; I mean
freedom of speech is the most important human right we have and I
totally support freedom of expression even if it is against my faith.
When he speaks of  Geert Wilders, Geert Wilders has the
absolute freedom to say what he wants; it doesn’t affect me personally,
and neither does it harm my faith.  The Western world, the
Canadian Prime Minister and the American President were the first ones
to condemn the burning of the Qur’an by the American Pastor Terry
Jones. I would never have the freedom to stand up and speak as I do
here in my own country of birth.  So certainly, when we are
talking about equal treatment of Muslims in the West.  And also I
would like to comment about Professor Ramadan spoke at length about
western values–the western world; this is not a debate between
Muslims and the West and unfortunately that is what it comes down
to that is being divisible  we are speaking here about human
rights that extend to all faiths. And lets get over this victim
ideology that we are Muslims and we are being persecuted and lets talk
about the freedom of everyone in the room here today and lets get to
the point of freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression.

Professor Ramadan answers some proceeding questions.  I am not
able to transcribe his remarks, his mind and mouth are not in synch.\
and I can’t type fast enough.  It is an important statement, which
needs to be considered carefully and deliberately. Watch the gestures
and expressions as you listen to his answer. He has  a recent op ed piece that may help to clarify matters.



  1. The
    debate is crucial because the OIC is demanding international and
    national legislation to criminalize all questioning & criticism of
    Islam. Islamic law expressly forbids all negative expression about
    Islam, its deity, Profit & scripture. Violation is punishable by
    execution. In essence, they want that law extended to and imposed upon
    us.  The journalists seek to preserve the right of free
    expression, which is essential to the maintenance of cemocracy &
    liberty. Liberty can not be preserved if we can not issue warnings of
    threats to it. If we can’t reveal the truth about Islam, we can’t issue
    those warnings.

    1. Acts entailing apostasy.
    2. Penalty.: scroll up to 613.
      1. Application  to Non-Muslims:
        1. o11.10 -5- or mentions
          something impermissible
          Allah, the Prophet
          (Allah bless him and give him peace), or Islam.
        2. o11.11 When a subject’s agreement
          with the state has been violated
          , the caliph chooses between the
          four alternatives
          mentioned above in connection with prisoners of war (o9.14).
        3. o9.14
          When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph (def: 025) considers
          the interests (0: of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the
          prisoner’s death, slavery, release without paying anything, or
          ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy.
    3. Defamation of Religions UNHRC March 25 ’10
      03/26/10  Details of the resolution and graph of the vote
      trend showing declining support.
    4. 4U.N. Bans Criticism of Islam: Pretext
      & Context

      09/08/08  This post contains vital information about
      documents which serve as a basis for the treacherous resolutions passed
      by the General Assembly & Human Rights Council. It also has a
      to the prime source of UN resolutions.
    5. Ad Hoc Committee: New Resolutions
      03/20/10  Competing Nigerian & American drafts in
      pursuit of a binding protocol to ICERD for the purpose of
      outlawing these blog posts.
    6. Letter from OIC to Ad Hoc Committee
      11/13/09  This is about the drive to criminalize criticism of
    7. Ad Hoc Cmte: Non-Paper
      08/04/09  The cmte. President’s outline of the
      program of
    8. AdHoc Cmte: Pakistani Submission
      08/03/09  Detailed analysis of the OIC’s proposal to
      censor critics of Islam.
  2. Their
    scripture says that Jews “earned Allah’s wrath” and “Christians went
    astray”. It says that Allah, men and angels curse us. It describes us
    as the worst of living creatures. But we must not be allowed to reveal
    how their Profit married a six year old girl, murdered critics and was
    a terrorist.
  3. Is there a better example of hypocrisy?
  4. The U.S.A. does not have a blasphemy law, neither
    does it outlaw Holocaust denial.  We allow open debate.
  5. Criminalization
    of Holocaust denial is not a service to a religion, it is an
    exaggerated and mis-applied fear of a Nazi revival.  Holocaust
    denial is not analogous to factual & rational criticism of
  6. The Motoons,
    like most good comedy, include an element of exaggeration. They reflect
    the fact that Muhammad was, by his own admission, a terrorist. Here is
    what he said:: ” I have been made victorious with terror (cast in
    the hearts of the enemy),” and  “Allah made me
    victorious by awe
    , (by His frightening my enemies) for a
    distance of one month’s journey. ” The quotes come from Sahih Bukhari 4.52.220 & 1.7.331.
  7. See the image and relevant quote at Andrew Bostom’s  site. Erdogan said that the
    “Minarets are our swords”.
  8. To the extent that Muslims are believers; to the extent that they implement
    Allah’s imperatives they are
    dangerous and violent.
  9. Fitna
    several verses from the Qur’an which are documented here: Fitna: Supporting Documentation 03/27/08. Those verses prove
    clearly and beyond doubt  that Islam is intrinsically violent and
    aggressive, by design.
  10. The burqa ban combines a tangential swipe of the
    cat’s paw with a valid security interest. Anonymity can lead to
  11. There are valid reasons for objecting to the
    mosque of triumph at
    ground zero. Even Tariq Ramadan agrees that the Park 51 project is an
    unnecessary provocation and insult to the surviving victims of the
    attack.  If built, it will serve as a psychological boost to the
    proponents of terrorism.
  12. Besides being a tangetial attack on Islam, burn
    a Qur’an day
    served to raise public awareness of the content of that vile volume of
    lies & threats.  The books that were torn and burned were
    translations, not sacred books.  Only the Arabic text is
    considered sacred and authentic.
  13. Growing  public awareness of the threats
    posed by Islam,
    both militant, demographic and political, is bringing about increasing
    resistance & objection to the spread of the war cult.
  14. President Obama condemned burn a Qur’an
    day.  He has not
    condemned Bible burning with equal intensity.  Neither has he
    vociferously condemned burning Christians and churches. His bias
    is evident.
  15. President Obama was identified as a Muslim long
    before his condemnation of bun a Qur’an day. His
    Muslim father makes him Muslim by default. His expressed admiration for
    the Adhan is another marker.  His enrollment in primary schools as
    a Muslim  documents  the obvious.  His conmversion
    to  Christianity is an obvious political convenience.  His
    expressed “duty”  to protect Muslims from  negative
    stereotyping  stands outas clear evidence; it is not in his job
  16. Is membership in the Mafia a crime?  Should
    membership in an  organized crime syndiicate be a crime?
    Moe began his criminal career with raids on camel caravans returning
    from trade missions.  He graduated to invading local Jewish
    settlements, then to invading nearby kingoms.  He sent extortion
    letters to his intended victims.  He said that the “keys to the treasures of the world” had been given
    to him. He told his companions: By Allah, I am not afraid that
    you will be poor, but I fear that worldly wealth will be bestowed upon you as
    it was bestowed upon those who lived before you. So you will compete
    amongst yourselves for it, as they competed for it and
    it will destroy you as it did them.” He said” The spoils of war were not made lawful for any people
    before us
    , This is because Allah saw our weakness and
    humility and made them lawful for us.”.
  17. A Muslim President, when America is under attack
    and threat of attack by Islam, is an exemplar of treason, the
    equivalent of a Nazi President in WW2.
  18. Clarify that; the pronoun refers to:
    1. the ‘Muslim’ lable
    2. the denial
    3. the implication that Islam is criminal
      1. does the implication belong to President Obama ?
  19. Who hijacked those aircraft? Was it elderly
    Baptist widows? Who
    tried to blow up Times Square? Was it a middle aged Catholic?  Whp
    are the perpetrators of Islamic acts of terrorism?  When we hear
    hoofbeats, we look for horses, not unicorns.
  20. Subjecting all passengers to intrusive searches
    is  time & money wasting idiocy.  The simple solution:
    exclude Muslims from  mass transit.
  21. What is in the titles of the UN resolutions?
    “Combating defamation of Islam”…”combating defamation of religions”.
    If the issue is ‘victimization, why is that not reflected in the
  22. Examine what Allah

    1. We shall cast terror
    2. I will cast terror
    3. to strike terror
    4. Allâh brought them down from their forts and cast terror into their
      hearts, (so that) a group (of them) you killed, and a group (of them)
      you made captives.
    5. Verily, you (believers in the Oneness of Allâh –
      Islâmic Monotheism) are more awful as a fear
      in their (Jews of Banî An-Nadîr) breasts than Allâh.

      1. Examine what Muhammad said: “I have been made victorious with terror
      2. Examine what Brig. S.K. Malik wrote in “The Qur’anic Concept
        of War
        a training manual for the Army of Pakistan. “Terror struck into the
        hearts of the enemies is not only a means, it is the end in itself.
        Once a condition of terror into the opponens heart is obtained, hardly
        anything is left to be achieved. It is the point where the means and
        the end meet and merge. Terror is not a means of imposing decision upon

        the enemy; it is me decision we wish to impose upon him.”

  23. Does anyone perceive the cognitive dissonance in
    this sentence?  Inter-religious dialog is a weapon against Islam?

    1. use religion
    2. use disinformation against Islam
      1. to victimize Muslims

October 17, 2010 Posted by | Islam, Political Correctness | , , , , , | 1 Comment


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