United Nations Human Rights Commission hears complaints from Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Jihad Watch Advisory Board member Ibn Warraq. “Europe ‘weak on Islam rights,'” from Reuters, with thanks to Skeetstreet:
GENEVA – The main global humanist organisation and a group of former Muslims on Monday accused European countries of ignoring violations of human rights in their Islamic communities to preserve “multi-culturalism”.
In a presentation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and at a separate news conference and a seminar, they also argued that Muslim countries were trying to use the body to quash any discussion of their own rights record.
“Western society tends to turn a blind eye to the plight of European Muslim women and girls because ‘Muslim culture is different’,” Roy Brown, president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), told the 53-member Commission.
“Yet in Europe many women find themselves subject to domestic violence, undergo forced marriages or are even killed by family members because of some belief that they have tarnished the family honour,” Brown declared.
That view was echoed later by three ex-Muslims and self-described atheists — Somali-born Dutch member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Iranian exile rights activist Azam Kamguian and historian of Islam Ibn Warraq — and French sociologist Caroline Fourest.
Hirsi Ali, who fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage, told the news conference she condemned “the moral relativism in Europe whereby women from Third World countries do not enjoy the same freedoms as native European women enjoy.”
Many Muslim women and girls “are forced to marry, have their genitals mutilated, are taken by their parents to their countries of origin against their wishes, sometimes even killed,” she declared.
Liberal democratic governments did not interfere out of a concern to maintain a policy of “multi-culturalism” — encouraging immigrants from other parts of the world to maintain their traditions while integrating into their host society.
Kamguian, a former political prisoner and women’s activist in Iran, who now lives in London, said this “cultural relativism” in Europe and Canada “was upside-down racism” which denied the universality of human rights, especially for women.
The United Nations estimates as many as 5,000 women a year are killed worldwide in so-called “honour killings”.
London police said last year they were reviewing more than 100 deaths and disappearances of women in the last 10 years that could be related to “honour killings”. There have been a number of high-profile prosecutions in Europe over such cases.
Fourest, author of several books on religious extremism, told the seminar on the fringes of the commission that sexism and oppression of women “are the main values shared by fundamentalists of all three monotheist religions.”
Sure. That’s why you see so many honor killings in the Bible Belt.
She told the news conference a resolution from Islamic states on “defamation of religion” passed by the commission last week was in line with efforts by the Catholic Church and other faiths to protect religion from criticism.