The European essayist Fjordman elucidates recent Islamic initiatives to end free speech in the West, and shows what's at stake:
[...] The 57 Muslim nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference are trying to impose Islamic blasphemy law -- which includes the death penalty for those who "blaspheme" the Muslim prophet Muhammad -- as the universal standard across the world.
These sentiments of the OIC were reiterated more brazenly by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. During a sermon in response to the Danish Muhammad cartoons which aired February 3, 2006, Qaradawi demanded action from the United Nations in accordance with sharia-based conceptions of blasphemy: "...the governments [of the world] must be pressured to demand that the U.N. adopt a clear resolution or law that categorically prohibits affronts to prophets--to the prophets of the Lord and his Messengers, to His holy books, and to the religious holy places."
As German journalist Henryk Broder noted back then: "Objectively speaking, the cartoon controversy was a tempest in a teacup. But subjectively it was a show of strength and, in the context of the 'clash of civilizations,' a dress rehearsal for the real thing. The Muslims demonstrated how quickly and effectively they can mobilize the masses, and the free West showed that it has nothing to counter the offensive -- nothing but fear, cowardice and an overriding concern about the balance of trade. Now the Islamists know that they are dealing with a paper tiger whose roar is nothing but a tape recording."
In the aftermath of the Cartoon Jihad, in Norway in June 2007 members of dozens of newspapers, TV stations and organizations participated in an international conference on how to "report diversity" in a non-offensive manner, with Arab News from Saudi Arabia as a moderator. Keynote speaker at the conference, Dr. Doudou Diène, the United Nations Special Envoy for racism, xenophobia and intolerance, urged the media to actively participate in the creation of a Multicultural society, and expressed concerns that the democratic process could lead to immigration-restrictive parties gaining influence in Western nations.
Diène said that it is a dangerous development when increasing numbers of intellectuals in the West believe that some cultures are better than others, and stated that "The media must transform diversity, which is a fact of life, into pluralism, which is a set of values." Getting diversity accepted is the role of the education system, and acceptance is the role of the law. "Promoting and defending diversity is the task of the media." Societies must recognize, accept and promote diversity, which always seems to mean sharia. Mr. Diène represents Senegal, an African Muslim country which is a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the largest voting bloc at the United Nations, sponsored by Arab oil money.
There were already signs that large portions of the mainstream media have been working according to similar ideas long before his conference. In Britain, leading figures of the BBC have proudly announced that they actively promote Multiculturalism. In Denmark in 2008, while their country was threatened by Muslims across the world, public broadcaster Danmarks Radio, the local equivalent of the BBC and with the same left-wing bias, decided to hold a "Miss Headscarf" beauty contest for women with the only requirement being that they are over 15 and wear a headscarf or veil, the way proper Muslim women are supposed to do.
In March 2008, the United Nation's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Dutch MP Wilder's movie Fitna as "offensively anti-Islamic," and said that "There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence." Does that mean that the UN is now going to ban the Koran? Earlier in March, the U.N. Human Rights Council, which is dominated by Muslim countries, passed a resolution saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it. The only religion specified was Islam. The document was put forward by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
I have been saying for a long time that trying to export "democracy" to Islamic countries is pointless. Islam can be compatible with "democracy" in the limited sense of voting rights and majority rule, but this has never automatically implied individual liberty. (See my online booklet Is Islam Compatible With Democracy?)
It's a sick joke that American soldiers are bleeding literally and American taxpayers financially to export "democracy" to Iraq while Muslims are exporting sharia to us. Freedom is free speech, that's the simplest definition of it. Muslims are using the UN to limit criticism of Islam globally, which basically means putting the entire world under Islamic rule.
My view of the United Nations is quite clear: It is at best irrelevant. At best. Increasingly, it is turning into an outright enemy, an enemy funded by us but used to attack us. I'm tired of sponsoring enemies, at home and abroad. I'm all for boycotting the UN and making it truly irrelevant by bleeding it dry for funds and ultimately withdrawing from it.
Muslims have lots of oil and lots of babies and lots of aggression, but that's all they have. Otherwise, they're a spectacular failure. We need them for very little. They need us for virtually everything. We should exploit that. We should separate ourselves from the Islamic world as much as possible. They will suffer far more from this than we will. We can start by boycotting the UN, which is now little more than a tool for global sharia, and the Arab Muslims of the West Bank and Gaza, who reinvented themselves as "Palestinians" and started whining at the UN after the Israelis kicked their collective behinds in 1967.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad called upon Muslims worldwide to boycott Dutch products, following the release of the Islam-critical movie Fitna by Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Personally, I'm all for boycotts of and by Muslims. The more, the merrier. Mr. Mahathir held the notorious speech at the OIC conference in 2003 where he said that the Jews rule the world by proxy and that Muslims must unite to achieve a final victory over them. Not everybody remembers that he also boasted about the age when "Europeans had to kneel at the feet of Muslim scholars in order to access their own scholastic heritage."
Somebody should remind him that the so-called "golden age" of Islam was a result of a still-large non-Muslim population. As soon as that declined, due to harassment and discrimination, the Islamic world never recovered. Malaysia is sometimes portrayed as an economically successful Muslim nation, but that is because it only recently became majority Muslim and still has a large Chinese, Indian and other non-Muslim minority. Since Islam is becoming more aggressive and Muslims increase discrimination of non-Muslims, infidels will leave, and Malaysia will gradually be reduced to just another failed sharia state.
In 2008, the current Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi warned his British counterpart, PM Brown, that Muslim extremism in Britain will grow unless the government and society learn to understand Islam and allow the country's Muslims to live under sharia law. What he didn't say is that sharia applies to all members of society, also non-Muslims, who should have their freedoms curtailed as well.
Historian David Littman is a representative to the United Nations of the Association for World Education. He has spent years tracking the rise of Islamic influence at the UN. According to him, "In recent years, representatives of some Muslim states have demanded, and often received, special treatment at the United Nations." As a result, "non-diplomatic terms such as 'blasphemy' and 'defamation of Islam' have seeped into the United Nations system, leading to a situation in which non-Muslim governments accept certain rules of conduct in conformity with Islamic law (the Shari'a) and acquiesce to a self-imposed silence regarding topics touching on Islam."
In May 2007, the foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) expressed "grave concern" at the rising tide of intolerance against Muslims, especially in Europe and North America. They described "Islamophobia" as a deliberate defamation of Islam, and pointed out that whenever the issue of Islamophobia was discussed in international forums, the Western bloc, particularly some members of the European Union, tried to avoid discussing the core issue and instead diverted the attention from their region to the situation of non-Muslims and human rights in the OIC member states.
In June 2008, the OIC announced its plan for fighting Islamophobia. Here's what Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, their Secretary General, had to say: "We are encouraged to see however, that an awareness of the dangers of Islamophobia is gradually setting in the West. The condemnation by many Western leaders and governments of Islamophobic acts such as the [Dutch movie] Fitna are positive confidence building measures that lead us to believe that all is not lost and that the gap can be closed in time. But mere condemnation or distancing from the acts of the perpetrators of Islamophobia will not resolve the issue as long as they remain free to carry on with their campaign of incitement and provocation on the plea of freedom of expression."
As Baron Bodissey of the Gates of Vienna blog commented, the phrase "as long as they remain free..." clearly reveals their agenda: "Obviously, the intention of the OIC is to do everything within its power to make sure that the citizens of the Western democracies do not remain free." Mr. Ihsanoglu unveiled a ten-point program that he proposed in order to meet the OIC's ambitious goals. The plan is all there, laid out in black and white for anyone to read. Unfortunately, not everybody understands its implications.
In Der Spiegel in June 2008, Dirk Kurbjuweit commented on the Irish popular rejection of the Lisbon Treaty/EU Constitution by concluding that "Europe's politicians are determined to avoid asking the people their opinion. And they are right to do so." According to him, "Again and again, they trick their populations into accepting the European Union. It's been going on for 50 years: politicians making policy against the people. The only time anyone ever notices is when the people -- one people, in this case -- are asked for their opinion. It happened in Ireland recently, when the Irish made it clear that they refuse to accept the politics of scoundrels."
Regarding German chancellor Angela Merkel, he speculates whether "she is in fact wholeheartedly behind a strengthening of the European Union, perhaps even knowingly against the wishes of German citizens." Dirk Kurbjuweit seems to approve of this strategy of denying citizens a say in the future of their countries and their children. He concludes:
"Perhaps the EU's secret strategy is called 'strategic boredom' -- attract no attention and make no waves, but continue to plod along, quietly and stubbornly, ignoring the murmurs of concern from all around. The scoundrels in Brussels have sold the European people a lot of things: a single market, the euro, the lifting of many border controls and, most recently, a binding global climate policy. These have all been good things, and they have helped make Europe an eminently livable continent. Despite the many dull moments and emotions that have been negative at best, the end result has been laudable. Most of these improvements would have been held up, if not outright prevented, by referendums. Democracy doesn't mean having unlimited confidence in citizens. Sometimes the big picture is in better hands when politicians are running it, and a big picture takes time."
The "big picture" which is being implemented by these same political elites does not only include political integration within Europe, it also includes European cultural, political and economic integration with the Arab-Islamic world, conducted largely without the approval of European citizens. Mr. Kurbjuweit didn't mention that part.
In March 2008, Terry Davis, a former politician for the British Labour Party and now the General Secretary of the Council of Europe, wrote a letter in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten denouncing the republishing of the Muhammad cartoons, stating that "freedom of speech should not be used as a freedom to insult." As Jyllands-Posten wrote in a response, "Freedom of expression is exactly the freedom to insult anyone within the framework of the law."
The Council of Europe (CoE) was founded in 1949, earlier than the European Community/European Union. It is still a separate organization but very much within the orbit of the EU's Eurabian networks and cooperates increasingly closer on "dialogue" with Islamic countries. For instance, the North-South Centre (for cooperation between Europe and the Arab world), officially named the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, is an EU/CoE partnership. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union from May 2007 outlines many areas of cooperation between the two organizations, including intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity, education and youth as well as the fight against discrimination, racism, xenophobia and intolerance (which includes "Islamophobia").
One of the websites linked to from the CoE's homepage is the organization "All different, all equal." Yes, it does sound like something out of George Orwell's classic novel Animal Farm. The organization champions many activities. One of them was when the Council of Europe's Directorate of Youth and Sport and the Directorate of External Relations and Co-operation of the Islamic Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (ISESCO) in 2007 organized an "intercultural course" on Arabic language and culture in Morocco, intended for members of European youth organizations between the ages of 18 and 30. It was intended to "develop their language skills, to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue, international understanding, and to combat prejudice and all forms of racism and xenophobia."
There are also networks Combating Social Exclusion and Discrimination, and several youth organizations linked to by "All different, all equal" participated in a "Rainbow Paper" with recommendations for making Intercultural Dialogue happen on the ground. 2008 is the official "European Year of Intercultural Dialogue," jointly coordinated by the Council of Europe and the European Union. This "dialogue" is an extension of the EU's long-term plans for Euro-Arab dialogue, and focuses mainly on Islam and why Europeans should learn to love Islamic culture.
In connection with this, the Council of Europe in 2008 published a White Paper (pdf) on Intercultural Dialogue entitled "Living Together As Equals in Dignity." It places particular emphasis on providing proper "Multicultural" education to European children: "Within the formal curriculum, the intercultural dimension straddles all subjects.
History, language education and the teaching of religious and convictional facts are perhaps among the most relevant." Concerted efforts should be made to "avoid prejudice," and "In 2007, the European Ministers of Education underlined the importance of measures to improve understanding between cultural and/or religious communities through school education."
The White Paper focuses on the young: "Youth and sport organisations, together with religious communities, are particularly well placed to advance intercultural dialogue in a non-formal education context." "Educators at all levels play an essential role in fostering intercultural dialogue and in preparing future generations for dialogue." "Kindergartens, schools, youth clubs and youth activities in general are key sites for intercultural learning and dialogue." Moreover, "The workplace should not be ignored as a site for intercultural dialogue."
Among recommendations, the paper says the following:
"Public debate has to be marked by respect for cultural diversity. Public displays of racism, xenophobia or any other form of intolerance must be rejected and condemned, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, irrespective of whether they originate with bearers of public office or in civil society. Every form of stigmatisation of persons belonging to minority and disadvantaged groups in public discourse needs to be ruled out. The media can make a positive contribution to the fight against intolerance, especially where they foster a culture of understanding between members of different ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious communities. Media professionals should reflect on the problem of intolerance in the increasingly multicultural and multi-ethnic environment of the member states and on the measures which they might take to promote tolerance, mutual understanding and respect. States should have robust legislation to outlaw 'hate speech' and racist, xenophobic, homophobic, antisemitic, islamophobic and antigypsy or other expressions, where this incites hatred or violence. Members of the criminal justice system should be well trained to implement and uphold such legislation. Independent national anti-discrimination bodies or similar structures should also be in place, to scrutinise the effectiveness of such legislation."
"Islamophobia" is repeatedly singled out as one of the forms of "discrimination and racism" that needs to be ruthlessly stamped out through indoctrination as well as legal means across the entire European continent, a policy which is being implemented at an accelerating pace.
In addition to forcing the education system to teach European children to love "Islamic culture," the media should do the same with the adults: "The Council of Europe, together with media professionals and journalism training institutions, is launching in 2008 a campaign against discrimination, bringing into focus the role of the media in a multicultural Europe. Journalism, promoted in a responsible manner through codes of ethics as advanced by the media industry itself and a culture-sensitive training of journalists, can help provide fora for intercultural dialogue."
Finally, the White Paper lists many institutions it should cooperate with, most of them Islamic organizations or organizations geared towards appeasing Muslims, for instance the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, which is one of the EU's most important instruments for Eurabian cooperation:
"The Council of Europe will promote and expand co-operation with other organisations active in intercultural dialogue, including UNESCO and the 'Alliance of Civilizations' initiative, the OSCE, the EU and the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, as well as other regional organisations, such as the League of Arab States and its educational, cultural and scientific organisation, ALECSO, representing a region with many ties to Europe and a distinct cultural tradition. The Council of Europe will also promote intercultural dialogue on the basis of its standards and values when cooperating in the context of specific projects with institutions such as the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA). The regional focus of this co-operation will be the interaction between Europe and its neighbouring regions, specifically the southern shores of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Central Asia."
Notice the cooperation with institutions dedicated to "Islamic history." Concerted efforts are underway to rewrite European school textbooks in order to promote Islam in a positive light. In the European Parliament, the German Christian Democrat Hans-Gert Pöttering stated that textbooks should be reviewed for intolerant depictions of Islam to ensure they don't propagate prejudice. He suggested that the EU could co-operate with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to create a textbook review committee. This is in line with the general policy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which desires to rewrite textbooks around the world to remove anything critical of Islam, silence mentioning of the victims of 1400 years of Islamic Jihad and glorify the achievements of "Islamic civilization."
In June 2008, the OIC stated that "We sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed." As Robert Spencer commented, "That sounds like the statement of a victor in a war, dictating terms to the vanquished." Muslims are happy with their "progress" in Europe and now concentrate their fire on North America:
"'We have established an OIC Group in Washington D.C.,' Ihsanoglu explained, 'with the aim of playing a more active role in engaging American policy makers.' This will involve agitating for laws restricting free speech: "And in confronting the Danish cartoons and the Dutch film 'Fitna,'' (which showed Muslims acting on violent passages in the Qur'an), Ihsanoglu continued, 'we sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed.' Ihsanoglu says it's already working: 'As we speak, the official West and its public opinion are all now well-aware of the sensitivities of these issues. They have also started to look seriously into the question of freedom of expression from the perspective of its inherent responsibility, which should not be overlooked.' In other words, 'irresponsible' speech -- which is defined as speech he disagrees with -- should be banned."
As Spencer warned, "Can honest discussion really be outlawed? You bet it can. As long as free people do nothing to stop it from happening. As the OIC presses American politicians to use anti-discrimination and hate speech laws to 'stem this illegal trend,' we need to stand up now with Mark Steyn and all the others who are on the front lines of this battle, and tell them that what they're doing to Steyn in Canada must never happen here. We must tell our elected officials to stop this outrage, resist OIC lobbying, and reaffirm in no uncertain terms our commitment to free speech -- particularly now, when so much depends on our being able to speak with honesty about the nature of the jihadist threat, and so many powerful entities want to make sure we do not do so. So much depends on this -- possibly even including our survival as a free people."
In the USA, the New York Times has suggested that the US should become more like Europe and Canada, abandon the silly protections of free speech enshrined in the First Amendment and ban "racism and hate speech." "It is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken," Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books, "when they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack."
The only "vicious attacks" today are those by Muslims against the free speech and liberty of non-Muslims around the world. The attacks by both individual Muslims and international organizations such as the OIC on criticism of Islam are part of a campaign to force the entire planet's population to accept sharia censorship and thus de facto Islamic rule, a scenario which will permanently end human freedom in any meaningful sense of the word. There can be no compromise with such an agenda. I do not always agree with American policies vis-à-vis Islam, and the US is far from free of Political Correctness and informal censorship, but when it comes to legal protection of free speech, the American approach is correct, and the European - and Canadian - one is dead wrong. We do not need more ideological censorship. On the contrary, we need to protect and expand the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.