“Terrorism” is ultimately not much of a signifier. It refers to a tactic of war that has been used by different groups throughout history. The caveats that the OIC countries make here are telling enough, and in any case their condemnations of terrorism will be utterly void of meaning unless they specifically include Islamic jihad violence within them. But they will never do that. “Islamic Bloc Declines to Condemn All Terrorism,” by Patrick Goodenough for CNS News, September 12 (thanks to Wimpy):
(CNSNews.com) — In a statement marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the bloc of Islamic states on Sunday reiterated a stance that has stymied efforts at the United Nations for well over a decade to develop a global convention against terrorism — the insistence that any definition of terrorism should make an exception for “resistance” against foreign occupation.
As long as the loophole exists, critics say, it provides cover for violent attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, by jihadists fighting Indian control of part of disputed Kashmir, and by groups who portray the U.S. and coalition military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as “occupation.”
Some of the Islamic countries that have themselves suffered the most from terrorism, notably Pakistan, are among the most determined in refusing to back down on the “occupation” exception — even though that stance has since 1996 held up the drive to formulate an international, legally-binding terrorism convention.
On the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said in Australia on Friday he regretted the fact that the goal of a comprehensive convention has not been achieved, attributing the failure to “some disagreement among member states.”
In its 9/11 anniversary statement the 56-country Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said that it “joins the international community in remembering the horrendous and cowardly act of terrorism and the tragic loss of thousands of innocent human lives.”
“The OIC seizes this opportunity to reiterate its firm position of condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and to underscore that terrorism is a repugnant malady that seeks to destroy the fundamental ethos of humanity,” it said.
But the statement then added that the OIC”s position on terrorism is “clearly stated” in a document adopted in 2005, the OIC Ten Year Program of Action.
That document states that the OIC members condemn “terrorism in all its forms, and reject any justification or rationalization for it,” but then adds that they “distinguish it from the legitimate resistance to foreign occupation, which does not sanction the killing of innocent civilians.”
The OIC’s 9/11 statement also drew attention to another initiative, the OIC Convention on Combating Terrorism, approved in 1999.
The OIC Convention on Combating Terrorism includes a definition of terrorism. Article One defines the phenomenon as “any act of violence or threat thereof notwithstanding its motives or intentions perpetrated to carry out an individual or collective criminal plan with the aim of terrorizing people or threatening to harm them or imperiling their lives, honor, freedoms, security or rights or exposing the environment or any facility or public or private property to hazards or occupying or seizing them, or endangering a national resource, or international facilities, or threatening the stability, territorial integrity, political unity or sovereignty of independent States.”
Article Two of the Convention, however, states, “Peoples” struggle including armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination in accordance with the principles of international law shall not be considered a terrorist crime.”