The great Charles Malik (leaderu.com)
Joseph Loconte of the Heritage Foundation has written an essay that is remarkable for having been published in the New York Times. (Thanks to Jerry Gordon.) He dares to point out that “the Commission on Human Rights no longer can be counted on to ‘name and shame’ even the most egregious violators” “” and to count Islamic states that enforce the Sharia to varying degrees among these.
In 1948 the United Nations approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the commission’s sparsely written manifesto of political and social guarantees. For 60 years, it has served as the Magna Carta of the modern human rights movement.
The commission’s accomplishment, at the start of the cold war, would have been inconceivable without the moral prestige of its leadership. A key figure was Rene Cassin, the French legal scholar, who lost family members in Hitler’s death camps and fought in the French resistance. The hallmark of modern tyrannies, he argued, is their denial of a common human nature, a negation that leads to all the barbarous acts that have “outraged the conscience of mankind.”
The other decisive voice was that of Charles Malik, the Lebanese ambassador, philosopher and outspoken Arab Christian. Malik insisted that the declaration include Article 18: the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the right to change one’s religious beliefs. Unless the proposed bill “can create conditions which will allow man to develop ultimate loyalties . . . over and above his loyalty to the State,” he warned, “we shall have legislated not for man’s freedom but for his virtual enslavement.”
Back then, Muslim delegates balked at Article 18 “” just as they ignore it today. But the serpentine connections between terrorism and faith-based dictatorships cannot be wished away. The prospect of democracy in states like Afghanistan is bound up with their willingness to endorse religious freedom. Saudi Arabia, home of most of the 9/11 hijackers, allows virtually no freedom of religion. Nigeria, increasingly devoted to Sharia, or Islamic law, supports extrajudicial killings. As long as states like these are allowed on the commission “” at least 18 members are themselves considered repressive “” its proceedings will remain a politicized sham.