Michael Dennin of Amnesty International USA explores the human rights community’s strange silence on jihad activity:
On January 28, 2005 Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom released its report “Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques,” revealing materials propagated by official Saudi government and religious institutions advocating the murder of apostates and homosexuals, hatred against non-Muslims on account of their religious beliefs and the subjugation of women. These materials were collected and translated by Muslims and other experts who expressed concern regarding the presence of these xenophobic, hate-filled publications in Islamic institutions and their negative impact on religious life in the United States.
While the sheer audacity of our Saudi “allies” to propagate these morally repugnant publications on American soil may have come as a shock to some, no less disconcerting was the failure of the US offices of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to join Freedom House Chairman of the Board R. James Woolsey in condemning the Saudi Arabian authorities for advocating and propagating an ideology of hatred that has “no place in a nation founded on religious freedom and toleration.” Given that any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence is prohibited under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the unwillingness of HRW and AIUSA to respond to these human rights violations appears to be yet another consequence of the increasing politicization and ideological drift that is undermining the effectiveness, reliability and credibility of these organizations, as well as the defense and promotion of human rights here in the United States. Nowhere is this more obvious than the failure of these NGOs to address the issue of Terrorism, which is arguably the American public’s most pressing human rights concern since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 (a recent National Election Studies report reveals that American voters think that Terrorism has been the most important issue facing the United States over the last four years). Despite the catastrophic loss of life and the continuing threat terrorists and their support networks pose to the human rights of US citizens, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty USA still refuse to consider the American people’s chief concern an issue worthy of their prioritization. On the other hand, HRW considers “Opportunism Watch: Repression in the Name of Anti-Terrorism” a Global Issue, and Amnesty USA includes “The “War on Terror– on its Topics list. The priorities of these organizations sends a clear message to the perpetrators and victims of terrorist violence – the responses to Terrorism are a major human rights issue, but Terrorism is not. Certainly, the terrorists and their supporters must be delighted with this arrangement – despite their absolute contempt and disregard for human rights, terrorist networks have unwittingly become the beneficiaries of a de facto alliance between themselves and human rights establishments that waste no opportunity to anathematize US security initiatives while conversely ignoring, for all intensive purposes, the words and deeds of terrorists and the people who incite and finance their hatred and violence.
Despite the concerns that have been raised for years regarding the transformation of these human rights organizations into Leftist political action groups, both HRW and AIUSA appear to be moving towards increasing, not decreasing, politicization and ideological drift. Furthermore, there appears to be no inclination on the parts of these organizations to address the disconnect between their agendas and the concerns of the American people. While it may be a bit much to expect the ideologues at Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA to disabuse themselves of their own particular certitudes and blindness to bias, it should not be asking too much of them to respond to the needs of the people whose interests they claim to defend.