As most of you already know, Geert Wilders is about to be prosecuted for incitement due to his “hate speech” as expressed in Fitna and various statements concerning the Islamization of the Netherlands.
Mr. Wilders is far from the first Westerner to be slapped down for daring to speak out against Islam. The list of people investigated — or intimidated, or hauled out of bed by the police, or tried, convicted, and fined (and in the case of Susanne Winter, sentenced to jail time) — has grown so long that I can’t easily recapitulate it here.
So far the countries that have cracked down on so-called “racist Islamophobic” speech include:
- The United Kingdom
And these are the ones who have merely targeted speech. If you include assault on the freedom of assembly, Germany and other countries would have to be added to the list.
And these are among the exemplars of the “Free World”, countries in which human rights are paramount, and the right to free speech is written into their constitutions.
How could this happen? What is causing an iron curtain of repression to descend across the Western world?
A large part of the explanation lies in the soft totalitarianism of the European Union, but that can’t account for it all of it, since Canada and Australia are included in this roster of infamy.
The ultimate source of all this mischief is the UN, or to be more precise, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) working through its compliant mouthpiece, the United Nations.
And, now that Barack Hussein Obama has ascended the throne of The Country Formerly Known as the United States of America, the USA will rush to join its enlightened brethren in Europe and crack down on Islamophobia.
As I pointed out a couple of years ago, the move to act at the federal level against the criticism of Islam has already made an appearance in the United States Congress. Back in 2005 Rep. John Conyers introduced H.Res. 288, in which the House of Representatives:
1. condemns bigotry, acts of violence, and intolerance against any religious group, including our friends, neighbors, and citizens of the Islamic faith; 2. declares that the civil rights and civil liberties of all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith, should be protected; 3. recognizes that the Quran, the holy book of Islam, as any other holy book of any religion, should be treated with dignity and respect; and 4. calls upon local, State, and Federal authorities to work to prevent bias-motivated crimes and acts against all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith.
This special protection for Islam was proposed back when the Democrats were still in the minority in the House, and when there was a Republican president. Now all impediments to such meddling have been removed, and the Supreme Court has already displayed an alarming indifference to the First Amendment.
Hang onto your hats: we’re in for a wild ride.
The playbook for all this is being written by the OIC using the United Nations Commission on Human Rights as its executive body. It’s no coincidence that Conyers’ proposal and similar initiatives strongly resemble the work of the UNCHR.
Last fall the General Assembly passed Resolution 62/154 (UNGA 62/154 [pdf], also accessible here via an embedded pdf viewer), the latest in a series of resolutions for “combating defamation of religions”. Like Conyers’ proposed resolution, the UN version singles out Islam for special consideration, and in fact mentions no other specific religion.
I’ve extracted the text of UNGA 62/154 and posted it in plain HTML here. I recommend that you drink a strong cup of coffee and stay awake long enough to read your way through all its provisions. This resolution is part of the preparation for the Durban II conference coming up this spring. If your country considers itself bound by UN declarations, then this is an outline of your future.
Let’s just go over some of the highlights of UNGA 62/154. The General Assembly “takes note, stresses, emphasizes, urges, underscores, deplores, strongly deplores, expresses its deep concern, notes with deep concern, and again expresses its deep concern” about certain trends and conditions, both good and bad, that prevail in the world today.
The UNGA wants to promote, among other things:
- Respect for cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity
- Greater harmony and tolerance in all societies
- Universal respect for and observance of all human rights
- Promote mutual respect and understanding among different cultures and societies
- Deepen dialogue and reinforce understanding among different cultures, religions, beliefs and civilizations
Nothing to argue with there so far, right? No one could be against any these things.
In contrast, the activities that are to be deplored and overcome include:
– – – – – – – – –
- Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief [which] constitutes a violation of human rights
- Negative stereotyping of religions
- The defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred
- Manifestations of cultural prejudice, intolerance and xenophobia towards people belonging to different cultures, religions and beliefs
- [the fact that] Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism
- The ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities
Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. There are many problematic aspects to what’s listed above, including the fact that some religions (ahem) include in their inerrant and inviolate holy scriptures specific “negative stereotyping” of other religions. Will the UNCHR appoint a task force to revise the scriptures of the offending faiths? Will Islam be among those censured?
Don’t hold your breath.
But worst of all is the assertion that “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism”. When was it determined that such an association is “wrongly” asserted? Who determined it? Did all the member states agree to that determination?
We are compelled to accept this as an a priori argument, like Euclid’s Fifth Postulate, so that certain other important conclusions can be derived from it — namely, that any “religious profiling” on the basis of the Islamic faith is therefore wrong.
The General Assembly outlines a series of policies and actions that member states are obliged to undertake in order to rectify the grievous deficiencies outlined above. Signatories are admonished to:
- [eliminate] national policies and laws that stigmatize groups of people belonging to certain religions and faiths under a variety of pretexts relating to security and illegal immigration
- [counter the] negative projection of Islam in the media and the introduction and enforcement of laws that specifically discriminate against and target Muslims, particularly Muslim minorities following the events of 11 September 2001
- Effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred, against Islam and Muslims in particular
Needless to say, accomplishing these tasks would require Soviet levels of government control. Member countries would be obligated to enforce on their media the requirement that Muslims be depicted in a certain way. All speech would have to be monitored to determine whether it was defamatory.
And what mechanisms would be set up to accomplish these tasks? Once again, they would be Soviet in their structure and scope:
- To take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs
- Important role of education
- The use of the print, audio-visual and electronic media, including the Internet, and any other means to incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination against Islam
- To complement legal systems with intellectual and moral strategies to combat religious hatred and intolerance
- Take action to prohibit the advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence
- States, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, religious bodies and the media have an important role to play in promoting tolerance, respect for and freedom of religion and belief
That’s a breathtaking list of organizations and political structures that would be required to enforce the edicts of the UN. And notice that it includes the nastiest Trojan horse of them all: “non-governmental organizations”. The NGOs are pernicious, well-funded, and act as boots-on-the-ground for the worst policies of the United Nations. The UN has very little accountability or transparency, but the NGOs have none.
Member states will be required to spend their taxpayers’ money on:
- Any necessary and appropriate education or training is provided
- Education and awareness-raising
- Urg[ing] States, non-governmental organizations, religious bodies and the print and electronic media to support and participate in such a dialogue
And the most telling provision of all:
- Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference and the right to freedom of expression, and that the exercise of these rights carries with it special duties and responsibilities and may therefore be subject to limitations as are provided for by law and are necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others
Notice the blatant contradiction: you have the “right to hold opinions without interference”, but they “may therefore be subject to limitations”. Well, which will it be? Which clause do you think is more significant to the mandarins of Turtle Bay?
“This is all very well, Baron,” you say, “but what’s it got to do with the United States of America? After all, we have the First Amendment to protect us from this sort of pernicious nonsense.”
You’re right, we do have the First Amendment. And that’s how the nose of this particular camel will get under the American tent.
Let’s put aside the fact that recent Supreme Court decisions have been alarmingly flexible in their interpretation of the free speech clause of the First Amendment. Instead, let’s look at the implications of the freedom of religion clause:
|1.||The First Amendment guarantees a right to the free exercise of religion.|
|2.||The UN, the OIC, and John Conyers are asserting, in effect, that Muslims are not free to exercise their religion while Islam is being defamed.|
|3.||Islam is defamed when it is criticized by non-Muslims.|
|4.||Therefore, a Muslim cannot exercise his fundamental freedom of religion unless criticism of Islam is suppressed.|
This series of logical steps, or something similar, is the ticket to American Sharia. Watch for the freedom of religion clause to trump the freedom of speech clause.
Pretty far-fetched, you say? Perhaps.
But two years ago the residency of Barack Hussein Obama in the White House was pretty far-fetched. The ascendancy of the ultra-leftist Democrats in Congress was pretty far-fetched. The nationalization of Wall Street, the banks, and the auto industry was pretty far-fetched.
Sometimes the far-fetched chickens come home to roost.
There is no political impediment now standing in the way of whatever far-fetched schemes Congress and the President decide to enact. It will be several years before significant inflation and the degradation of the currency set in to seriously reduce their scope of action.
In the meantime, there is every sign that “hate speech”, like carbon dioxide emissions and health care, will be a primary target of government meddling during the coming months. “Defamation of religion” is just a part of the bigger package.