A UN Alliance Against Western Values

As reported here previously, the Alliance of Civilizations celebrated its fifth anniversary last month with a conference in Vienna (see The Alliance of Civilization Jihad and “Reflections on a World Gone Mad” Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).

The following article by Henrik Ræder Clausen about the Alliance of Civilizations was published on March 26 in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten (subscription required). Many thanks to Nemo for the translation.

A UN alliance against Western values
by Henrik Ræder Clausen

The UN organization Alliance of Civilizations was founded in 2005 to prevent a clash of civilizations, but it has a one-sided focus which in many ways coincides with the interests of Islamic states.

A lot of criticism has been aimed at the UN system during recent decades, especially because its raison d’être, the protection of universal human rights, has veered off track. Yet another UN project, the Alliance of Civilizations (AoC), contributes to the confusion.

The founding of the Alliance of Civilizations was announced at the Arab League summit in Algiers in 2005 by the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The proximate cause was the bombing of Madrid in March 2004, but the roots stretched further back. The organization is a continuation of the UN initiative “Dialogue Among Civilizations,” originally proposed by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in 1998.

The main purpose of the Alliance of Civilizations was to counter the claims of Samuel Huntington in The Clash of Civilizations, where he describes how different civilizations have clashed through centuries, and how the Arab world especially seems to have always had ‘bloody borders’ in relation to its neighbors. The idea was to defuse conflicts before they turned violent, and thus avoid terror attacks like those in Madrid and other Western cities.

In a collaboration among Turkey, Qatar and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a so-called “High Level Group” was convened, which defined in a 63-page report the purpose and most import areas of focus for the Alliance of Civilizations. This report remains the foundation for the work of the Alliance, and should be read carefully by responsible politicians in the countries joining the Alliance, as they commit themselves to work for the stated goals.

One would expect that the report would take as its starting point Samuel Huntington’s book and theories, and seek to counter them; that it would treat all the large civilizations of the world equally; and that it would conclude that the road to avoiding conflicts and confrontations would be to implement the UN humans rights universally, so that the Alliance could work to avoid defining individuals by their religion, but rather, throughout the world, strengthen the understanding of individual, inalienable rights for all. However, that turned out not to be the case.

Instead the report — and thus the alliance — builds on Huntington’s fundamental ideas of large confrontations between different groups of the world’s population. However, it takes no interest in any conflict except the one between Islamic and Western civilizations, and places a special emphasis on what it views as the different reasons for the Muslim world to feel dissatisfaction and anger towards the Western world.

In this way the Alliance remains bafflingly like the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which continually take up grievances against the West.

There are a lot of pretty phrases about the three ‘Abrahamic religions’ in the report, while not a lot of space is dedicated to all the other religions, such as Hinduism, Taoism or Buddhism. The secular perspective — the possibility that people choose to have no religion at all — is completely absent.

On the other hand, a lot of space is taken up by the conflict between Palestinians and Israel, which in Section 4.4 is even considered the main reason for the conflicts between the Islamic world and the West — a viewpoint that the enemies of Israel are very fond of maintaining.

With that perspective, it should be no surprise that the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during the recent 5th UNAOC Global Forum in Vienna in February demanded that Zionism should be branded “a crime against humanity” — meaning that Israel is not at legitimate state, notwithstanding the fact that Israel is the only country ever founded by a UN mandate.

General Secretary for the UN, Ban Ki-moon initially failed to protest this provocative statement. Only when it became an international scandal did Ki-moon condemn the demand as “in conflict with the fundamental principles of the Alliance”. That, unfortunately, is not true. The fundamental principles of the Alliance are defined in the 2006 report. They were fully confirmed by the conference in Vienna, and they are all too well in accordance with the provocative statement by Erdogan.

The overarching theme of the conference was “responsible leadership”. That may seem strange for an organization that should focus on human rights, but the conference left no doubt as to its priorities.

The longing for leadership was a recurring theme throughout the sprawling event. It was repeated in a lot of speeches, and it was on the front page of the conference program. In comparison, the words ‘human rights’ were mentioned only twice one morning, both times in passing.

The conference in Vienna also reflected other priorities for the Alliance. Emphasis was put on education for young people, training of future leaders, and guidelines for the media. The purpose of that last item was to avoid the many negative media stories about Islam and immigration in favor of a more positive public attitude to immigration and in order to avoid “unnecessary provocations” — also known as “blasphemy”. Again, completely in accordance with the wishes of the OIC.

At this point, it would be beneficial to take a step back and consider what such a conference might have accomplished, if it had taken the UN’s universal human rights seriously. Instead of a wish for “responsible leadership” and “guidelines for the media”, the conference could have shed light on real problems by inviting prominent activists as speakers.

One such speaker might have been the Pakistani-born activist Sabatina James, who would have talked about forced marriages and the plight of Christians in Pakistan. Madame Mahjouba might have spoken about the lack of rights for single mothers in Morocco. Journalists Without Borders might have spoken about freedom of the press in Turkey, and the Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, could have spoken about the problems for Christians in Egypt etc., but that would, undoubtedly, have been seen as ‘unnecessarily provocative’ by Turkey and Qatar, main sponsors of the Alliance.

Instead of dealing with human rights in real and concrete terms, this UN organization wastes its energy on talk, mutual praise and a joint underlining of the necessity of the Alliance.

In spite of marked problems with human rights in Turkey and Qatar have, those two countries have a remarkably strong position in the Alliance of Civilizations. Leadership has now been passed on to Qatar’s former Ambassador to the UN, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. The small but very influential country will definitely not put the brakes on the OIC’s work to strengthen the position of Islam throughout the world.

The Alliance of Civilizations has strayed a long way from the UN’s ideals of inalienable individual rights and a thriving democracy. The Alliance does not solve the problems one would expect them to solve, but, to the contrary, has the potential to develop into a kind of world government without democratic control. Unless the organization changes and begins taking universal human rights seriously, we are much better off without yet another impractical and misguided UN bureaucracy.

Henrik Ræder Clausen participated in the Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum in Vienna in February. He is a former European Parliament candidate for the Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) and the author of Cyprus: In the Shadow of the Crescent Moon, amongst others.

For more on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, see the OIC Archives.

4 thoughts on “A UN Alliance Against Western Values

  1. I’ve long thought that the UN is no longer “fit for purpose” and nor is the Geneva Convention. The world has changed. The Geneva Convention relies on the “gentlemanly” conduct of war. No longer applies when islamists wage war, Never did in that circumstance.
    The UN? You tell me but they seem pretty bloody useless these days.
    Time I think for the some disbandment and realignment of values. WELL past time.

  2. Former Spanish PM (socialist JL Rodriguez) surrounded himself with the most mediocre cabinet of ministrs recorded in history, e.g. the newly created minister for women affairs devoted its budget to make ‘the map of the clitoris’. It has not been published yet, how they chartered ‘the territory’. By the way, this beacon of knowledge was mentored by an Irish philosophe by the name of Phillip Petit, currently spreading ‘his wisdom’ in Univ. of Princeton US (according to wikipedia)

  3. Bewick…

    Your take on the Geneva Conventions is errant.

    A bit of snap history: the whole idea of throttling back feral warfare became codified only after the end of the Thirty-Years War ( and Eighty-Years War ) — 1648.

    In those conflicts no depravity was off limits to Western War.

    The VERY first issue to be addressed was the Swiss. They were universal mercenaries — true universal soldiers. By 1648 they had built a reputation lower than Death Kamp guards. For brevity, I refer you to military histories of that time.

    So, mercenaries (the Swiss were specifically named) were banned — forever — from receiving military courtesy due to the defeated, (prisoners rights as defined elsewhere in the mutual accord) by the signatories.

    What this meant in practice: they would be liquidated, tortured or sold into slavery/ forced labor at the whim of any signatory power — without consequence to the standing and reputation of such a victor. This is short handed as: no quarter. (no provisions)

    Exceptions were made. The Pope had long employed Swiss pikemen. For him, and him alone, the Swiss were permitted to serve without falling afoul of the accords. This is why you still see Swiss guards at the Vatican. It’s the only job a Swiss merc can safely get.

    The other Swiss exception was if Switzerland, itself, became a combatant nation — i.e. was invaded.

    Anti-Swiss provisions are so harsh that you don’t find Swiss even in the French Foreign Legion.

    This is the basis for Swiss neutrality that you have come to know. Right behind them came the Swedes, which led to their neutrality, too. We see this phenomenon repeated with modern Germans. Now it’s taboo for Germans to fight outside Germany. They are willing to deploy on NATO missions only if they can do so with unloaded weapons. This later aspect is downplayed by the MSM. It is verified by accounts from Afghanistan.


    After dealing with the Swiss, the accords stipulated what qualified as ‘lawful warfare.’ For brievity I selectively pick the high points:
    1) Must wear a uniform — even a colored scarf/ ribbon tied to the head/ upper arm qualifies.
    2) Must not deliberately target non-combatants — it had been common practice to rape and pillage the undefended (man-less) villages.
    3) Must not practice treachery — specifically, changing sides in the middle of a battle — and wearing false colors — to include spying [ Spies to be hanged — see American Revolutionary War.]

    The penalty for ‘unlawful warfare’ ( not adhering to the accords ) was: anything goes. In the beginning that meant hanging. ( Normally expected to result in an un-burial. The practice was to leave the deceased suspended until corruption left the dead a confused pile of bones on the ground — to be taken by curs into the woods. This untidy state of affairs is why hanging was so dreaded back then. The Romans performed a variation on this with Sparticus — using crosses, instead. ( Picked that tic up from Carthage.))

    Taken in all, the accords spell out why spies are tortured and shot out of hand in wartime. To do so is not a violation of the rules of war.

    The same goes for Turncoats. ( You would turn your clothing inside out when attempting to cross over to the enemies forces — to join them — it being necessary to avoid being shot. This practice typically occurred during reverses, of course. )

    It also applies to A N Y O N E who deliberately targets non-combatants. )This injunction is taken too far by modern legal interpretations.)

    The accords explicitly permit unlimited reprisals against unlawful combatants. That means unlimited: torture, forced labor, slavery, hanging… you name it. ALL are impliticly available by signatories — they were all common as dust when it was orginally signed.

    As time passed, new nations signed on to the dotted line. America was originally covered under the British signatures. Additional provisions have been added over the centuries. Famously, chemical warfare has been banned during the 20th Century.

    Your implicit conclusion that the West has forsworn feral warfare under all circumstances is in error. It’s always a retaliatory option — has been from day one.

    That Bush, and now Obama, actually believe that AQ merits any kid glove treatment indicates a profound deficiency in their understanding of man, the treaty and the way muslims think.

    No matter how rudely we treat captured AQ players — it’s impossible to break our treaty obligations, for they are Unlawful Combatants, as defined.

    Pirates, Brigands, Spies — none merit any Accord protection. The WHOLE purpose of the accords was to spell out that these are outcasts: criminals against the laws of humanity.

    Today’s peacetime spies are normally held for trade. But, there’s no document anywhere that shields them. Even the US Constitution calls out treason as a capital crime, and spying in wartime is flat out treason.

  4. The real reason Israel is such an affront to Islam is not the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East, but Muhammad’s commandment to Muslims:

    “The Hour [Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and kill them. And the Jews will hide behind the rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!’” (Muslim 41:6985; also Bukhari 4:52:177)

    This Hadith was issued by Muhammad in the 7th century, not after the 1948 creation of the State of Israel. It is not a response to modern-day grievances, but a permanent commandment, based on the fact that when Muhammad asked the Jews of Yathrib (now Medina) to accept Islam, they laughed in his face and told him get lost, since they had a perfectly good God of their own already.

    Jew-hatred is thus intrinsic to Islamic scriptures that do not permit reformation under the penalty of death. The real basis of the Arab/Israeli conflict is not a conflict over land or occupation. It is a divine obligation to destroy neighboring (non-Muslim) Israel.

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