The fifth annual Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations met in Vienna on February 27th and 28th, and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was one of the attendees. She has filed a account on what she observed, and discusses the larger ramifications of the AoC in the ongoing Islamization of the West.
The report below is the second in a three-part series. Previously: Part 1.
Reflections on a World Gone Mad
Part 2: Ignoring the central problem of our times
by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
Waving its magic wand of laws, treaties, and human rights, the Alliance of Civilizations ignores what I would argue is the central problem of our times:
Are we talking about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, and other international human rights instruments?
Or are we in fact discussing matters in terms of the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, which defines human rights according to the sharia and contradicts all other human rights conventions?
Indeed, the words human rights were mentioned only twice (!) during the entire opening plenary, while at the same time the words peaceful dialogue, harmony, intercultural dialogue, discrimination against Muslims, xenophobia, mutual respect and Islamophobia were repeated ad nauseam. Universal human rights were left hanging on the coat racks.
The AoC, represented by AoC High Representative Jorge Sampaio from 2007 until 2013, generally shies away from solid explanations:
… the Alliance gives special attention to improving relations between the so-called Western and Muslim societies by deconstructing prejudices, misconceptions and stereotypes that fuel fears, feed hostility, ignite tensions, and spark violence; by promoting education for valuing cultural diversity and learning how to live together with our differences and commonalities. (Sampaio, speaking at working breakfast with Kevin Rudd, Australian MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs, October 2011)
These pompous words deserve closer scrutiny.
“so-called Western and Muslim societies”
Why does Sampaio use the words “so-called”?
Are societies defining themselves as secular, democratic societies which observe the rule of law and which consider men and women equal before the law not indeed Western?
Do Muslim societies not conform to sharia law, which in fact does not acknowledge the equality of men and women?
Do Muslim societies not in fact segregate themselves willingly in European cities like London, Paris and Rotterdam?
And finally, why is there no priority for China, Russia, or South American countries? Could it be that they have no serious conflicts with the West?
deconstructing prejudices, misconceptions and stereotypes
And what might these prejudices, misconceptions and stereotypes be exactly?
Is the gang-rape of white British girls by Asian Muslim men considered a misconception?
Or is the openly Muslim hatred of Christians, as demonstrated by the torching and/or desecration of churches in Nigeria, Egypt, Iraq, and Indonesia falsely seen as stereotyping?
Isn’t it much more convenient not to ask questions like these in order to escape having to answer them?
feed hostility, ignite tensions, and spark violence
Do not those chanting “kill the infidels wherever you may find them” or “Jews back to the gas chambers” feed hostility?
Who ignites tensions and sparks violence?
The non-Muslims obstetrician who is forcibly removed from the delivery room by the Muslim father-to-be?
The Muslim youth gangs roaming the streets of Rotterdam hunting down and harassing Jews?
by promoting education for valuing cultural diversity and learning how to live together with our differences and commonalities
As a result of this violence, hostility and tension (by members of so-called Muslim societies), we need more education. Of course! This the perfect way to deal with violence, hostility, and tension!
Moreover, what are the commonalities uniting Western and Muslim societies?
Where is the evidence that there is, in fact, anything that binds these two societies together?
There is more, of course!
[The AoC] tries to restore trust and understanding within and among communities by promoting education for cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and understanding, and fighting against misconceptions, stereotypes, prejudices, discrimination, racism and hate speech; it contributes to reinforc[ing] human security, peace and development worldwide.
I will skip all the brainwashing in the first part of this paragraph. But what on earth is “human security”?
What is the definition of “peace”? The absence of war, or perhaps the Islamic definition of “peace”, the future time when all the world has accepted the authority Allah and his apostle?
But now we come to the definition of dialogue. Finally!
However one defines it, dialogue is a democratic method aimed at resolving problems through mutual understanding and concessions, rather than through the unilateral imposition one side’s views and interests.
Ah yes, dialogue is democratic. How is it democratic?
Who decides what, and at which ballot box?
I would argue that dialogue is a method of imposing problems that cannot be solved through mutual understanding, tolerance and inclusion.
Regarding concessions: doesn’t the OIC impose its views on the Western, non-Muslim world by extracting concessions on freedom of speech?
Isn’t the OIC’s view unilateral, in that any criticism of Islam must be considered Islamophobia and thus punished in a court of law?
Does the Muslim side, as represented by the OIC, offer concessions in any way?
Jorge Sampaio also specifically addresses Islamophobia in one of his many speeches. He notes that:
Although there is currently no legally agreed definition of Islamophobia, nor has social science developed a common definition, it is well known that this term stands for “prejudice or discrimination against Islam and Muslims. [It] covers attitudes and action against Muslims based on unjust stereotypes and criticism of Muslim beliefs that can be seen as undermining fundamental rights. (Speech held at Roundtable in Rio 2012)
Sampaio adds the usual rhetoric that Muslims are not an undifferentiated group and there are many differences in religious beliefs, so that we “really need to avoid stereotypical generalizations” — in other words, we need to avoid saying something that would actually be truthful: that the West and Islam are locked in an irreconcilable conflict.
But Sampaio would never admit this. No, he adds that “Muslim societies add a substantive bulk of common values that can be summed up, according to available surveys, in ‘people’s sincere adherence to Islam’ that they feel denigrated by Westerners.” Of course, he conveniently neglects to mention those common values shared by the West and Islam. Might this be because there are none?
And so the Alliance holds a special responsibility in confronting Islamophobia, we are told. Not a peep about the hundreds of thousands Christians and Hindus currently persecuted in the Muslim world. Not a word about apostates, many of whom are at risk of being killed by Muslims. No, this game is all about peace and harmony, and it is an inclusive one, a platform for dialogue and cooperation.
Inclusive in that it excludes apostates.
Inclusive in that criticism or dissent are unwelcome.
Inclusive in that genuine NGOs such as the International Civil Liberties Alliance or representatives of civil society other than those personally invited (and most likely vetted) by the Alliance are not welcome.
Or could it be that the Alliance wants to prevent something entirely different? If apostates like Dr. Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Kacem El Gazzali or Sabatina James were to address the forum, the narrative of the Muslim as a victim would be exposed for what it is: blatantly false. These brave men and women would be a voice proclaiming the truth loudly and clearly. They would demonstrate that no matter how often the Alliance proclaims that “in spite of being a system of beliefs, a religion doesn’t imprison its believers in it” (Sampaio speech in Bern, Switzerland, October 14, 2010), the truth remains entirely different.
Let us turn to the classic sharia manual, Reliance of the Traveller, and what it has to say about apostasy:
Chapter O8.0: Apostasy from Islam (Ridda)
(O: Leaving Islam is the ugliest form of unbelief (kufr) and the worst.)
o8.1When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed.
If the above does not constitute a prison, then I don’t know what does. Either Sampaio doesn’t want to know this, or he knows it and chooses to ignore it — but then, in the latter case, he is being dishonest. I would argue that he is an outright liar. Mr. High Representative has the moral duty, if nothing else, to scrutinize religious teachings before making claims.
And he doesn’t leave it at that. He goes on by throwing the secular society under the bus:
In our modern times we are witnessing the resurgent role of religions almost everywhere. […] People now talk about God all the time and fundamentalists of all kinds [here he lists all religions] are growing and have been very vocal in their request to express their faiths in the public sphere… […] Extremism is a challenge for all communities.
As a matter of fact, this is blatantly untrue. The only religion demanding to express its faith in the public sphere is Islam. Judaism generally does not make that demand, and the Christian faiths have found their place in a secular society.
And while we’re at calling for definitions: what constitutes extremism? If one were to exhibit a preference for a secular society, with democratic values and based on the rule of law — rejecting Islamic sharia law — does this make one an “extremist”?
Not to be unfair to Mr. Sampaio, he did address secularism in a 2011 conference on Jewish-Christian-Muslim Interfaith Dialogue in Hungary:
How do we best ensure that secularism continues to be the safest basis to preserve the core of democratic principles and values?
Thankfully, he provides the solution in the same speech: Interfaith dialogue should be promoted at large.
To repeat: in order to safeguard secularism we need more inter-religious talk?
What do adherents of religions talk to secularists about? Where is the common ground? What do we want, a secular society or theocratic regime?
Next: Implementing the results
For more on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, see the OIC Archives.