Monday, June 30, 2008

Special Rapporteur silent on Copts' suffering

Raymond Ibrahim, translator and editor of the indispensable Al-Qaeda Reader, has a report at Dhimmi Watch about a May 31 attack on the Coptic Abu Fana monastery in El-Menya, Egypt, by some 70 armed Bedouins that left numerous monks badly injured. His cogent commentary leaves no doubt that this was a Muslim pogrom:

"Father Antonias, who was there, said that many 'disparaging' words were hurled against Christianity by the Muslim assailants during their rampage, which, incidentally, included the destruction of altars and torching of Bibles. As the Bedouin terrorists were destroying the monastery, for instance, one monk reached for the cross, to which one of the Arab assailants mocked: 'Hah! Let’s see if the cross saves you!' to which the stoic monk replied, 'Truly, you do not know the power of the cross.' "

Hard on the heels of this incident came another assault on Egypt's Copts, this one on June 19 in Al-Nazla. As the site of the Free Copts reports, "The attackers shouted 'Allah Akbar' and 'Kill the infidels' as they hurled stones at their Christian neighbors’ homes." The June 19 pogrom also included the following:

* Stones were hurled at St. Mary’s Church, shattering the windows
* Stones were also hurled at the house of Father Shenouda Moussa
* A hairdresser’s salon was vandalised and the hairdressers beaten. It was however spared from burning because the owner of the building is a local Muslim
* A chemist owned by a Christian local, Dr. Adeed, suffered some damages
* Damages to two phone/internet facilities owned by Christians
* A truck owned by Gamil Hanna was completely destroyed
* A chicken farm owned by Gamil Hanna Farag was looted and burned
* A two-story building owned by Boulos Fouad was burned
* Mr. Ezzat Labib, member of the city council, was beaten and his brother Kamal Labib also seriously injured
* The mob attacked the house of Hanna Melik and beat him and his family
* A wholesale deli owned by Milad Awad was looted
* Mrs. Mimi Awad’s home was broken into and burgled

Will the United Nations, in the person of its Special Rapporteur "on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance" Doudou Diène, address the plight of the Copts? That, I take leave to doubt: after all, Mr. Diène has far more pressing duties to attend to -- to wit, laying the propaganda groundwork for next April's "Durban II" conference in Geneva, at which "Islamophobia" will be at the forefront of the agenda.

Mr. Diène's religious affiliation has been carefully omitted from all three of the thumbnail biographies I could find of him on the Web (at the sites of his own UN office, the Organization of American States, and the ACLU), but as he hails from Senegal, a country with a 95 percent Muslim population whose national motto is "Un Peuple, Un But, Une Foi" ("One People, One Goal, One Faith"), it may plausibly be surmised that the Abu Fana monastery's attackers were his co-religionists -- and that his silence in the face of this outrage reflects Muhammad's dictum in Qur'an 48:29:

Muhammad is the Messenger of God, and those with him are hard against the unbelievers, merciful one to another.

Addendum: The Free Copts site notes that a resolution, HR 1303, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that calls upon the Egyptian Government to respect human rights and freedoms of religion and expression in Egypt. A letter or e-mail to your representative requesting support for it would be time well spent.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Our only 'inherent' responsibility: Resistance

Addressing the Council of Foreign Ministers of his organization in Kampala, Uganda Wednesday, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu declared that "Islamophobia" is "at the top of our priorities and preoccupations" and laid out the OIC's "large-scale world-wide effort to confront it" -- an effort that includes having "exhorted the officials in these countries to assume their inherent legal responsibilities in order to stem this illegal trend in conformity with international and domestic laws which prohibit discrimination based on incitement to hatred towards individuals or groups because of their religion, race, or other grounds."

Moreover, Ihsanoglu continued, "In confronting the Danish cartoons and the Dutch film 'Fitna', we sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed. 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." (Emphases mine.)

The OIC chief laid out a four-point plan for dealing with "this scourge," as he called "Islamophobia," and noted that "We have established an OIC Group in Washington D.C., with the aim of playing a more active role in engaging American policy makers." The entire speech may be read here, and Baron Bodissey has a fine post on it at Gates of Vienna.

The only responsibility regarding "Islamophobia" that can legitimately be regarded as "inherent" is the responsibility of free people to resist that spurious concept's use to infringe their right to analyze, criticize and expose the likes of Ihsanoglu and his odious creed. As Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, affirmed in that deathless document, our right to liberty, of which the right to free expression is so fundamental a part, is unalienable, being an endowment of our Creator. The OIC's vile propaganda jihad against it must accordingly be fought with the utmost determination.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Great White-Guilt Hope

I want YOU

to stop being mean to me
because I'm black!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Diène and Obama – a perfect storm?

Ominous developments are afoot in the struggle to preserve the right to free expression against Islamic efforts to abrogate it. In Geneva, Switzerland next April, the UN will convene yet another conference "against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance" ("Durban II"), whose focus is going to be on "Islamophobia" -- an event for which UN Special Rapporteur "on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance" Doudou Diène has been assiduously laying the intellectual and rhetorical groundwork. Were this to occur three months after the inauguration of Barack Obama and a lopsidedly Democratic Congress, it could create a "perfect storm" of conditions for repression of the Counterjihad through "hate speech" legislation. Consider the following statements by Diène and Obama:

"A certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There’s a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year. If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it’s not surprising that would happen.”

-- Obama, remarks to gathering of donors at the Westin Hotel, Palm Beach, Florida, May 22, 2008

"There is a consequence to the demagoguery [over immigration]--hate crimes against Latinos have gone way up over the last year. We've also seen over the last several months this epidemic of nooses being hung all across the country since the events down in Jena, Louisiana. ... So, what can we do to strengthen the enforcement of hate crimes legislation? It is something that I will prioritize as president but I don't want to have to wait until I am."

-- Obama, remarks at the Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum, Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 1, 2007

"From the day I take office as President, America will have a Justice Department that is truly dedicated to the work it began in the days after Little Rock. I will rid the department of ideologues and political cronies, and for the first time in eight years, the Civil Rights Division will actually be staffed with civil rights lawyers who prosecute civil rights violations, and employment discrimination, and hate crimes."

-- Obama, speech at Howard University, Washington, D.C., Sept. 28, 2007

"The ideological dimension of Islamophobia is directly connected to its intellectual legitimization as currently reflected in a number of so-called intellectuals and political and social commentators that put forward openly Islamophobic statements, including explicit defamation of Islam. In particular, one may note that a number of Islamophobic statements have been falsely claimed to be scientific or scholarly, in order to give intellectual clout to arguments that link Islam to violence and terrorism. Furthermore, the manipulation and selective quoting of sacred texts, in particular the Koran, as a means to deceptively argue that these texts show the violent nature of Islam has become current practice."

Diène, report to the UN Human Rights Council, Aug. 21, 2007, p. 9, Item 23 (The report number is A/HRC/6/6; to access it, scroll down to the number and click "E" for the English version.)

"The main challenge is now to define the threshold for legitimately restricting freedom of expression in order to protect the victims."

Diène, report to the UN Human Rights Council, Feb. 20, 2008, p. 15, Item 53 (The report number is A/HRC/7/19; to access it, scroll down to the number and click "E" for the English version.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A big win in Denmark

The Western High Court of Denmark has ruled against Danish Muslims who had sued the newspaper Jyllands-Posten for publishing 12 caricatures of their creed's prophet Muhammad in 2005. The Muslims charged that the paper had defamed their religion and its prophet, but the court, according to an International Herald Tribune report, "ruled that terror acts have been carried out in the name of Islam, and that it was not illegal under Danish law to make satirical drawings to illustrate that."

This is excellent news, and a firm rebuke to those who have sought sanctions against Jyllands-Posten, advancing spurious claims of "hate speech." Among them are self-described "Muslim African-American law professor" Bernard Freamon of of Seton Hall University Law School, who claimed in a Feb. 19, 2006 article in The Jurist that "Muslims are ... very right to vigorously condemn the publication of the cartoons and to seek to punish the editors through the criminal law process" and called Danish prosecutors' refusal to charge Jyllands-Posten's editor under a "hate speech" statute "a patent abuse of their discretion and a blatantly political decision."

"They ought to revisit it," Freamon declared. "The issue should be decided by a Danish court." Now it has, and the ruling is a big win for those of us determined to defend our right to free expression in the face of Islam's worldwide campaign to abrogate it.

Muslim zealots, however, are determined to see their critics silenced. Appallingly, for an American law professor, Freamon in his Jurist article questioned "the continued viability of a liberal and universalist approach to free expression in our rapidly changing and increasingly pluralist world," and the spurious concept of "Islamophobia" is specifically designed to undermine that viability. In his Feb. 20 report to the United Nations Human Rights Council (the report number is A/HRC/7/19; to access it, scroll down to the number and click "E" for the English version), Special Rapporteur "on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" Doudou Diène decried the "selective and political interpretations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, manifested inter alia by the ideological pre-eminence of freedom of expression" (Item 6, p. 5) and "the growing trend of defamation of religions arising from the following factors: the conflation of race, culture and religion; the growing use of religion for political ends; and the intellectual and ideological questioning of religion" (Item 56, p. 16). To equate "intellectual and ideological questioning" with "defamation" and to assert that the defense of one's right to it is "selective and political" is rhetorical tyranny, the object of which Diène makes clear in his statement that "The main challenge is now to define the threshold for legitimately restricting freedom of expression" (Item 53, p. 15 -- emphases mine).

Let all who cherish their right to say and publish what they think take heed of the words of Thomas Jefferson in his Notes on the State of Virginia in 1782: "The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold of us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and claws after he shall have entered."

Monday, June 16, 2008

The way to avoid trauma

A 92-year-old survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis in 1943, one of the last such, died in Israel over the weekend. According to the Jerusalem Post, when Stephan Grayek was asked, in an interview twenty years, ago, why he had escaped the lasting trauma so common among survivors of the Nazi genocide attempt, he replied, "Perhaps because, like other people in the resistance, I fought back."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The menace to free expression

At his indispensable news site JihadWatch, Robert Spencer has posted a grim warning on the present danger to the right of free expression. Citing an article in today's New York Times noting American exceptionalism in allowing the expression of sentiments that in most other Western nations run afoul of "hate speech" laws, he warns that "We are far closer to restrictions on free speech than most people realize, with even the Times quoting learned analysts in favor of such restrictions." He points out that under laws of this sort, "true statements about Islam and jihad will be suppressed, and precisely as Islamic supremacists are pressing forward as never before with their program of stealth jihad against the West." He notes that United Nations Special Rapporteur "on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" Doudou Diène "is working on restricting free speech, and American Muslims are helping him."

An indication of Diène's efforts in this regard may be seen in a report the Senegalese lawyer submitted Feb. 20 to the Human Rights Council (the report number is A/HRC/7/19; to access it, scroll down to the number and click "E" for the English version). In this document, he denounces "trivialization of racism and xenophobia, particularly through its use as a political tool." This, he maintains, is creating "ethical, psychological and political conditions that have directly contributed to the increase in incitement to racial and religious hatred."

"Futhermore," he asserts, "the ideological context is characterized by the emergence of rhetoric based on the notion of a conflict of civilizations and religions, as reflected in the discourse of certain political, intellectual and media elites." Therefore, he declares, "The main challenge is now to define the threshold for legitimately restricting freedom of expression in order to protect the victims." (Emphases mine.) Diène attempts to suger-coat this poisonous pill with soothing talk of "strengthening the complementarity of freedom of expression, freedom of religion and belief, and the discouragement of racial, ethnic or religious hatred," but what he is calling for is crystal clear: the repression of any discussion or analysis of a "conflict of civilizations and religions" -- to wit, the global jihad -- that may plainly be seen by anyone unhampered by the willful blindness of the real "political, intellectual and media elites."

Earth to Doudou Diène: The "complementarity" (which Webster's defines as "necessary interrelationship or correspondence") of freedom of expression and the discouragement of hatred needs no strengthening by the likes of you. It already exists, and every day, every hour, it manifests itself when the former is used to accomplish the latter. Under your notion of "legitimately restricting freedom of expression," the discouragement of hatred would in fact be weakened, not strengthened -- becaused those who dare to criticize, analyze or make mock of the hatred, the intolerance, and the tyrannical aspirations at the center of Islam's global jihad would be barred from doing so by the coercive power of the state.

But that will not happen. Restrictions on free expression are not and cannot be legitimate, and we who defend the right thereto will resist them as long as there is breath in our bodies. We are not so few as you might think, and we are resourceful. We are resolved. And we will not submit.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The push to criminalize "Islamophobia"

Today's edition of the Malaysian newspaper Sin Chew Daily has an AP report on an Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting in Kuala Lumpur, at which the organization's secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu Monday demanded stronger action by Western governments against "perpetrators of Islamophobia":

"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." (Emphasis mine.)

This echoes an assertion by self-described "Muslim African-American law professor" Bernard Freamon in a February 2006 article in the University of Pittsburgh School of Law journal The Jurist that, in the wake of the furor over the Danish Muhammad caricatures, he and his fellow Muslims were "very right to vigorously condemn the publication of the cartoons and to seek to punish the editors through the criminal law process. (Again, emphasis mine.)

Ihsanoglu's call for repression is only the latest in a steady drumbeat of the same from the Muslim world. It is unpleasant to contemplate how receptive an Obama presidency might be to such demands.

Update: Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna has also taken notice. Many thanks for the link.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"Terrorist act"? That is cool.

Pakistani Ambassador to Norway Rab Nawaz Khan, reacting to a cartoon recently published in the Norwegian newspaper Addresseavisen, has declared to Norway's TV2 that " 'Muslim societies all over the world will be insulted. Therefore it's a terrorist act." (The quote comes from the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, by way of the blog Islam in Europe.)

The absurdity of Khan's words call to mind Abraham Lincoln's crack about the South's antebellum calumnies in his Cooper Union Address of Feb. 27, 1860:

"That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, 'Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!' "

The analogy is by no means inapt, as an implicit threat Pakistan's government plans to make to the European Union shows. According to that nation's Daily Times, a high- level six-member delegation will soon journey to Brussels to demand that Europeans "amend laws regarding freedom of expression in order to prevent offensive incidents such as the printing of blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the production of an anti-Islam film by a Dutch legislator". They will tell them that "the recent attack on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan could be a reaction against the blasphemous campaign" and warn them that "if such acts against Islam are not controlled, more attacks on the EU diplomatic missions abroad could not be ruled out." (Hat tip to the indispensable JihadWatch, whose director Robert Spencer makes a ringing statement of resolve to defend free expression here.)

Thus does a Muslim government use the acts of Muslim terrorists as leverage against the West's most basic rights -- while denouncing the exercise of those rights as a "terrorist act." In view of such hoodlum diplomacy, the words with which Lincoln concluded his speech are also worth recalling:

"Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."

Addendum: Here is the cartoon that prompted Khan's asinine comment:

The slogan reads, "I am Muhammad and nobody dares print me!" According to Islam in Europe, both the cartoonist and Adesseavisen's editor deny that this was ever intended to be a caricature of Muhammad himself, but instead "shows a terrorist who commits violence in the prophet's name." It seems the distinction has been lost on "the prophet's" followers.

Addendum 2: Gates of Vienna has an excellent post on this, complete with a translation from the Norwegian of a news story containing another choice quote from Pakistani ambassador Rab Nawaz Khan:

"Don’t forget that there are many Norwegian companies in Pakistan."

Such subtle, nuanced diplomacy. And be it noted that the car bombing at the Danish embassy which Pakistani officials propose to cite in their warning to the European Union (see above) was an attack for which al-Qaeda claimed responsibility, describing it as "only the first drop of rain."