After months of waiting, an Austrian anti-sharia activist has received an answer from his government to his request for its reaction to the Turkish prime minister’s advance interference with the Organization of Security Cooperation (OSCE) meeting in Warsaw last October.
Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff sends this introductory note to accompany the reply from the Austrian ministry of foreign affairs:
Prior to the annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of OSCE in Warsaw, Poland, Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that Islamophobia needed to be recognized as a crime against humanity. He also made the following boast:
“I was able to include Islamophobia as a hate crime in the final statement of an international meeting in Warsaw.”
This prompted Harald Fiegl, a dedicated Austrian Counterjihadist and representative of Mission Europa Netzwerk Karl Martell, to write a letter to the Austrian minister of foreign affairs and ask whether the Austrian government was aware of Mr. Erdogan’s claim, and what it planned to do about this. It is not standard diplomatic practice for a prime minister to add anything to the final statement of a conference that has not yet taken place.
It took three months and many interventions in the foreign minister’s cabinet to receive an answer.
Here is the letter to Mr. Fiegl from the minister of foreign affairs, kindly translated by JLH:
Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
Vienna, December 21, 2012
Mr. Harald Fiegl
Dear Mr. Fiegl:
Vice Chancellor and Minister for European and International Affairs, Dr. Michael Spindelegger, has requested that I reply to your communication of September 20.
I am familiar with the cited discussion and I share your view that under international law the concept “Islamophobia” is not straightforward, and is therefore a problematic concept. Proceeding from your interpretations, we may assume that “Islamophobia” (hostility to Islam per se) — without the further qualification of criminal action — does not as a rule satisfy the qualifications for crimes against humanity.
Austria is following with interest the discussion of “Islamophobia,” including at this year’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw. The concluding report says: “A number of speakers addressed the issues of ‘Islamophobia.’ Concern was expressed over wide-spread demonization of Islam and Muslims, while one speaker requested that the term itself, as well as the concept of “religious hatred” should be clarified, or avoided.”
A purely political judgment on “Islamophobia” in the framework of the OSCE is quite possible in the future. It would, however, have to be preceded by a comprehensive and thorough discussion, wherein the reservations you have noted from the Austrian point of view — but also from others — would be included. Without a clear definition of the concept, no consensus about it can be reached. To that extent, “Islamophobia” will remain in the OSCE, pending further clear discussion, which will be followed very attentively by Austria.
Dr. Friedrich Stift
Previous posts about the OSCE and the Counterjihad: