Alexandre del Valle is an Italo-French lecturer on geopolitics and a researcher for Università Europea di Roma, Institut Choiseul and Daedalos Institute of Cyprus. He specializes in radical Islam, terrorism, and relations between the West and the Rest. He has been an editorialist in Le Figaro, Le Figaro Magazine, France Soir, Israel Magazine, La Une, Il Liberal, etc., and has had articles published in geopolitical magazines and reviews such as Politique Internationale, Herodote, Outre Terre, Geostrategics, Stratégiques, Geopolitical Affairs, Nova Storica, Il Liberal, and many others. Apart from being a geopolitician, he is — together with Rachid Kaci — the founder of the liberal-conservative Right (“Droite Libre”), whose slogan is: “Secularity, defence of the West and Freedom, and struggle against political correctness”. His analysis has influenced French, Spanish and Italian politicians, especially the French party UMP. He is the author of nine books.
The article below, which has been translated from the French, appeared previously in a slightly different form at the ICLA website.
Criminalisation of ‘Islamophobia: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s legal jihad
by Alexandre del Valle
Since the scandal surrounding the Islamophobic film “Innocence of Muslims” erupted on an Egyptian Islamist channel on the occasion of the anniversary of September 11th, much ink and blood has flowed. The fanatical Salafists resurrected a film (which previously had gone totally unnoticed) which was attributed to a US-Egyptian, who himself had attempted to gain the endorsement of “Zionist Jewish donors.” This version has naturally found a favourable echo among Islamists, masters of conspiracy theories who make Americans and Jews responsible for all the ills of Muslims.
The rest is history, be it in Benghazi (Libya), Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Germany. Very quickly we went from anti-Judaism and anti-Americanism to a widespread hatred of the West in general. In Pakistan, “whites” were attacked, threatened or insulted just because they appeared to be Westerners.
That said, and contrary to what the media, the best amplifiers for Islamists, would have us believe, few massive mobilizations have actually occurred, except those organized in Pakistan by the supporters of the death penalty for blasphemy, and in Lebanon at the instigation of the Shiites of Hizbullah. It is true that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Shi’ite sponsor of the latter group refuses to be upstaged in the anti-Western rhetoric and the hunt for “Islamophobia”: an Ayatollah has appropriately raised the Salman Rushdie affair by upping to $3 million the contract placed on the head of the author of The Satanic Verses.
And Ayatollah Khomeini invented the term “Islamophobia”
Recall that it was Ayatollah Khomeini who in 1989 launched the term “Islamophobia” and who was the first to test the response capabilities (and submission) of the West he despised and considered cowardly. Even then, rather than defending the Salman Rushdie block, the political and religious leaders of the West fragmented concerning the “blasphemies” of the writer, blamed for the “wrath” of the crazies who also killed the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses.
A few years later, Western leaders and media disintegrated over another Voltaire of the Muslim world, the Somali “apostate” Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an elected Dutch MEP, and Theo Van Gogh, who together produced the film Submission that offended Muslims. These two “Islamophobes” were accused of having “provoked” the wrath of their executioners, and Van Gogh was murdered in the street by an Islamist Dutch-Moroccan connected to al-Qaeda, Mohammed Bouyeri, whilst Hirsi Ali was forced into exile in the United States to escape the death threats …
Since then, intimidated by fanaticism and bound by its “allies” among Muslim oil producers (and/or protectors of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia), the West has consistently abdicated in the face of offensive testing by supporters of Islamist censorship eager to spread the spirit of the Sharia and “dhimmitude” in the West. This includes official statements by U.S. and European leaders (except Italy and Denmark) condemning the Danish cartoonists of Muhammad (the newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005) and about misunderstanding Pope Benedict XVI on Islam from the speech “Faith, Reason and the University” (September 2006).
More recently, the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims and the Muhammad cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo were officially condemned by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, even in commercials broadcast on television stations in Pakistan. Already in 2009, in his Cairo speech, rather than ask the friendly Muslim states to fight the worst oppressions of Sharia Law and the persecution of minorities, Barack Obama gave a speech totally exempting Muslims from responsibility and casting them as victims whilst condemning the West for supposed “Islamophobia”, and praising the “Lights of Islam” but never daring to speak of reciprocity in tolerance.
Now, the mainstream media and Western officials view in the same light peaceful cartoonists and Islamist terrorists, as if the first were comparable to fanatics who always find an excuse to quench their thirst for blood and achieve their oppressive objectives. In the country of Voltaire, where the right to blasphemy against the Catholic Church has never officially been terminated, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and the Quai d’Orsay have made an exception for Islam, disavowing cartoonists. Reviving the spirit of Munich, Westerners often go further than some Arab Muslim officials and media who sometimes see more clearly than their Western colleagues and refuse to accept obscurantist violence as “reactions to the offense” (see the courageous editorials Al Sharq al Awsat, L’Orient le Jour, or Tahar Ben Jelloun and Tunisian Abdelwahhab Medeb).
Hamstrung by the bad conscience of former colonizers, the media, clergy and European politicians fell into the trap set by the Islamist fanatics who intimidate by killing, and the official Islamic interlocutors, who demand the criminalization of “Islamophobia” as a requirement for the rejection of violence.
The “legal jihad” of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Muslim Brotherhood
So, to calm the “anger” of the former and to satisfy the anti-libertarian requests of the latter, Western officials apologize collectively for “Islamophobic” acts committed by a few, while neither governments nor the masses of the West are in any way liable. In so doing, they recognize the need for a de facto limit on the freedom of expression. This is a major strategic error, because by condemning journalists and writers who “cause” the wrath of the Islamists, they encourage these new censors to demand ever more.
Thus Mahmoud Gozlan, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, whilst acknowledging the criticism by the French government of Charlie Hebdo, immediately invited France to enact laws to criminalize Islamophobia, even daring to draw a parallel with the memorial laws condemning Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism: “Anyone who doubts the existence of the Holocaust is imprisoned, but if someone insults the Prophet, his companions or Islam, the maximum [France] will do is to give a two-word apology. This is neither fair nor logical,” said Mahmoud Gozlan. “We reject and condemn the French caricatures which dishonour the Prophet and we condemn any action that defames the sacred.” Meanwhile, Essam al-Erian, a senior Freedom and Justice Party (PJD, Muslim Brotherhood) in power in Egypt demanded that the French justice “addresses the problem with as much firmness as it did for the topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton,” published in Closer.
In this process of reversal of responsibilities aimed at curtailing freedoms, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations, bringing together 57 Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, of which Turkey and Egypt are the leaders, plays a vital role in the world. Under the guise of “defending threatened Muslim minorities”, the OIC uses its influence to prevent the integration of Muslim immigrants in the West, who are instead taken hostage by the bearded ones and abandoned by our capitulating governments who for many years have entrusted them to foreign preachers and allied Islamic states who fight Christian proselytizing at home and refuse any reciprocity, but who spread the “true faith” in Europe and elsewhere…
To confirm this total absence of reciprocity and impose the supremacy of sharia on the secular and universal conception of Human Rights, in 1981 and 1990 the OIC declared two “Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights “giving precedence to the spirit of the Sharia” and limiting religious freedom (conviction of blasphemy and the right to choose one’s own religion). And since 1999 the OIC has attempted to transcribe into international law, particularly in the United Nations, the concept of “defamation of religions” and “Islamophobia” real weapons of war against legal freedom of expression and to promote Sharia in the world.
Height of paradox: the main states lobbying for the criminalization of Islamophobia within the OIC are the most intolerant Christianophobes: Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan and Turkey (candidate for EU entry but still denying the genocide of a million and a half Armenian and Aramaic Christians…) Recall that within the OIC and the Council of Human Rights of the UN (HRC), the most virulent promoter of the criminalization of Islamophobia, Pakistan, persecutes minorities officially through the Penal Code which condemns to death “blasphemers” or proselytizing Christians who “insult Islam.” Recall that in 2011, the former Pakistani minister for minorities, the Christian Shahbaz Bhatti, and the former Governor of the Punjab, a Muslim, were killed for proposing the abolition of the blasphemy law and demanding the release of the famous Christian mother sentenced to death for blasphemy, Asia Bibi. This is the same State who, in 1999, presented to the HRC a resolution on “defamation of Islam” (later sweetened to “defamation of religions”).
Even “two weights, two measures” at the Council of Human Rights of the UN, where “Islamophobia” in the West is officially condemned, while the persecution of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Nigeria and Egypt are systematically denied with the complicity of Western countries that only intervene in these proceedings to punish that country (generally pro-Russian and pro-Chinese or pro-Iranians) which threatens their strategic and oil interests, and always defend the “allied” slave Sunni monarchies in the Gulf or Pakistan who persecute Christians and Shiites …
With this inversion of responsibility, we observe that since September 11, 2001, not only have the Islamic states most associated with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan) not yet begun their necessary self-criticism, but have exempted themselves from combating the ideological roots of Islamist totalitarianism (which they promote in their embassies and madrassas), accusing Westerners and “Zionists” of “persecuting” Muslims and so-called “dirtying Islam.”
Thus, in March 2008, after three years of violent Islamist “reaction” to the “cartoons” of Muhammad or the “Islamophobic” speech of Benedict XVI, the UN passed a resolution condemning per the OIC the “defamation of religions” ( in fact Islam). The General Assembly declared itself “deeply hurt by the defamation of religion and Islam in the world and especially in Western democracies”, claiming that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were a “genocide” of Muslims, but it went totally silent about the massacres of Christians in southern Sudan or elsewhere.
The OIC demanded that Western democracies criminalize “Islamophobia.” In 2010, another resolution was adopted by the HRC condemning the Swiss popular initiative banning minarets. In June 2011, a Committee of the Council of Human Rights decided to abandon the concept of “defamation of religions”, noting that the anti-blasphemy laws like those in force in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan violate human rights.
But this draconian concept was reformulated by the OIC Resolution “16/18” adopted on 19 December 2011 in the Council on Human Rights resolution that fights “intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence against persons because of their religion or belief”.
The “Istanbul Process”: an attack freedom of expression
The new strategy for implementing Resolution “16/18”’ was designed by the Secretary General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu (a Turkish diplomat appointed by the Islamist AKP party in power in Ankara), at a meeting of the International OIC held in Istanbul in July 2011. This “Istanbul Conference” called for a ban on all criticism of Islam under the pretext of combating “intolerance against religions.” It permitted the advancement in a new way the concept of “defamation of religions” as applied to human rights.
The OIC text urged that the UN “create the necessary environment for the prohibition of defamation of religions and incitement to hatred, violence and discrimination on religious grounds […] stressing the importance of limits on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, in a structured multilateral way and in the light of events such as the burning of the Koran, according to the test of consequences”.
But this very dangerous concept, which brings us to the news of the Mohammed cartoons and the anti-Islamic film, is based on a great inversion of responsibility: it does not render the fanatics responsible for the violence but the cartoonists themselves accused of “causing” violent reactions of the Islamists, the simple “consequences” of Islamophobia, hence the imperative for legal punishments. The “Istanbul Declaration” alerts the world to the “implications (consequences) The dangerous rise of Islamophobia on peace and security. We emphasize the need to develop the UN, including the Council of Human Rights, a legally binding institutional instrument to promote respect for all religions and cultural values and prevent intolerance, discrimination and incitement to hatred against any group or followers of a religion”. After the first meeting in Istanbul on 12 to 14 December 2011, the OIC met the Obama administration in Washington to persuade the U.S. President to join the “Istanbul Process” and to implement Resolution 16/18 of 2011.
With the official approval of Hillary Clinton, the OIC achieved a major diplomatic coup. Now it is the European Union that plans to host the next meeting of the “Istanbul Process”.
The world’s democracies must reject any form of penalty for or limitation to freedom of expression, including the right to criticize religions, even the most “obvious”. For certain universal principles are not negotiable or “adaptable” based on religious cultures, or they would have to accept human sacrifice, slavery or inferiority of sub-castes under the pretext that they are allowed in some religions. It is therefore necessary to turn against the fanatics the same deadly weapons they use to crush secular democracies, noting in particular that many OIC countries persecute or kill non-Muslims, liberal Muslims and unbelievers with impunity. Western democracies of Judeo-Christian culture must also act within the United Nations to denounce the mirror-accusation of the OIC who blames “Islamophobia” in the West but endorses Christianophobia legitimized by Islamic “blasphemy” or “anti-proselytizing” laws
The sad reality is that anti-Western radical Islamism, as developed and distributed into European suburbs by Salafist preachers trained in so-called “allied” countries (Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc.) is the most combative and efficient system of global hatred, anti-Semitic and totalitarian ideology Christianophobia, and the most popular. Everywhere, anti-Western “green fascism” increases due to the fear it arouses and the violence that unfolds. And this unfortunately owes much to the Western media who make more visible the bearded fanatics rather than liberal Muslims. Now, obviously, the first victims of this “religious fascism” are minorities and moderate Muslims who live under permanent threat and terror. A growing phenomenon such as the “Arab Spring” (quickly becoming an “Islamist winter”) has not halted, but rather accelerated. From Rabat to Sana’a, to Tunis, Damascus or Baghdad, the source of legitimacy is the Shariah, which, when applied in its orthodox or radical, is never a good thing for minorities and adherents to freedom.