At OSCE meetings, participants may issue responses to issues that come up during the proceedings. At today’s meeting in Vienna on “Confronting Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims in Public Discourse”, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff presented the following intervention.
Intervention by Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa
October 28, 2011
On the problematic concept of ‘anti-Muslim discourse’:
I believe that everybody here, both the representatives of the participating states and of non-governmental organizations, shares a common goal of upholding liberty, peaceful coexistence and respect for diversity, in line with the OSCE purpose of upholding democracy and freedom.
This meeting has been called with these objectives in mind.
However, there are in the meeting agenda some fallacies that deserve correction, or the results might end up being counterproductive to the overall objectives of the OSCE. Let me point out the more obvious ones:
- Trying to steer public discourse is at odds with the core concept of freedom of expression.
- It is not made clear in the agenda if ‘anti-Muslim discourse’ includes criticizing Islam.
- Singling out Muslims for specific protection constitutes an act of discrimination itself.
- Anti-Christian anti-Jewish hate crimes are more common than anti-Muslim ones.
- National law protecting citizens’ rights apply equally well to Muslims as to others.
In brief, there is no good reason to single out Muslims as being in need of special protection, as Muslims have the same fundamental rights as any other citizen.
No such discussion, however frank and honest, should be considered directed against individual adherents of a faith, and hardly an issue of concern at government level.
Attempting to resolve conflicts in society by controlling the public discourse is usually a futile approach, as we saw in Eastern Europe decades ago, and at odds with the objectives of the OSCE.
With respect to the massacre by Anders Breivik, mentioned by member of the panel, Ms. Fekete:
Mohammed Atta implicated Islam the way Breivik implicates critics of Islam. If you accept that equivalence, which I don’t. We reject it. We judge Muslims by their own behavior, just as we expect to be judged by our behavior, not by Breivik.
So we look at Zarqawi, Qaradawi, bin Laden, Anjem Choudary. We listen to what they say and watch what they so, and make judgments accordingly.
Finally, I am deeply worried about the undemocratic teachings of the Koran, and I will continue to speak out on this topic.
Previous posts about the OSCE and the Counterjihad: