Steering Public Discourse

As mentioned earlier, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff represented Buergerbewegung Pax Europa today at the “Confronting Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims in Public Discourse” conference in Vienna. She issued the following statement at the meeting on behalf of BPE.

Pax Europa

Buergerbewegung Pax Europa

In cooperation with and endorsed by

International Civil Liberties Alliance,
Mission Europa, Wiener Akademikerbund

Today’s meeting is ostensibly concerned with confronting intolerance and discrimination against Muslims in public discourse. Actually, however, it focuses on “Islamophobia”, a term invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1990’s. According to the David Horowitz Freedom Center, “it has become ‘a matter of extreme priority’ for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.” It appears that the UK-based Runnymede Trust in 1996 coined the “accepted” definition, which includes any and all of the following components:

1. Islam seen as a single monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to new realities.
2. Islam seen as separate and other:
  (a) not having any aims or values in common with other cultures,
  (b) not affected by them, and
  (c) not influencing them.
3. Islam seen as inferior to the West — barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist.
4. Islam seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, engaged in ‘a clash of civilizations’.
5. Islam seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage.
6. Criticisms made by Islam of ‘the West’ rejected out of hand.
7. Hostility towards Islam used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
8. Anti-Muslim hostility accepted as natural and ‘normal’.

Pax Europa and its affiliations note with grave concern that this definition — or any definition — of Islamophobia cannot and does not address the underlying problems with Islam and its teachings.

For example, Pax Europa believes that Islam denies equal rights to men and women. According to the above definition, this is considered Islamophobia. Pax Europa believes that Islam is a political ideology. Since its ideology informs the doctrine of political organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, it is indeed a political ideology. Pax Europa is accused of Islamophobia for saying so.

Pax Europa is of the opinion that criticism of a religion, including Islam, must remain legitimate. This is echoed by the OSCE: “Criticisms of religious practices (just religious practices, not religions themselves?; BPE) are legitimate speech.” We believe, however, that while Muslims are not a monolithic group, Islam is indeed monolithic, in that all Muslims worldwide, whether they practice their faith in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, consider the Koran, the Hadith (authentic sayings of Mohammed) and the Sira (Mohammed’s biography) as the basis of their faith.

We furthermore note that the distinction between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” speech is one of grave concern. We would like to recall the OSCE commitments (Copenhagen 1990) which state with respect to freedom of expression:

The participating States reaffirm that

9.1)   – everyone will have the right to freedom of expression including the right to communication. This right will include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. The exercise of this right may be subject only to such restrictions as are prescribed by law and are consistent with international standards.

The participating States express their commitment to

10.1)   – respect the right of everyone, individually or in association with others, to seek, receive and impart freely views and information on human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights to disseminate and publish such views and information;

Pax Europa is thus of the opinion that Islam and, by extension, the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) require public expression to conform to Shariah law. This includes perceived “anti-Muslim discourse” as well as cases of “discrimination”, whether intentional or unintentional. More importantly, trying to steer public discourse is at odds with the core concept of freedom of expression. Attempting to resolve conflicts in society by controlling public discourse is always a futile approach, as evidenced in Eastern Europe just a few decades ago, and is fundamentally at odds with the objectives of the OSCE.

Buergerbewegung Pax Europa and its affiliates strongly discourage pursuing this strategy further.

Previous posts about the OSCE and the Counterjihad:

2009   Jul   25   A Report on the OSCE Roundtable
    Sep   30   ICLA Tackles Fundamental Freedoms at the OSCE Meeting in Warsaw
    Oct   1   The ICLA Meets the OSCE, Round 2
    Nov   5   The OSCE: Islam and Violence Against Women
        7   Proposed Charter of Muslim Understanding Under Fire At OSCE Meeting in Vienna
        7   “Hate Speech” Accusations at the OSCE Meeting
        8   What is Medica Zenica?
        10   Report on the OSCE Supplementary Human Rights Dimension Meeting
2011   Oct   28   ESW: Liveblogging In Vienna

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