Below is the intervention read by Ned May, representing the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA) at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Session 6 “Freedom of Religion or Belief”, Warsaw, September 26, 2013.
As other delegates have noted, the use of ill-defined terms can be an impediment to progress. In the worst of cases, such terms may even be exploited to effectively undermine human rights.
For example, the definition of “Islamophobia” presented at the OSCE conference in Tirana, Albania on May 22nd 2013 fails to meet reasonable standards of logic, coherence, and objectivity.
The definition fails solely due to the inclusion of the word “unfounded”. As a result, well-founded fear, mistrust, or hatred of Islam does not constitute Islamophobia. Millions of non-Muslims have very real reasons to fear Islam and Muslim violence, and cannot reasonably be described as “Islamophobes”.
Furthermore, any investigation into the basis for the fear of Islam is denounced as “Islamophobia”. Thus the definition of “Islamophobia” is circular, a violation of logic.
ICLA recommends that ODIHR immediately abandon any use of the term “Islamophobia”, remove it from existing official publications, and omit it from all future publications.
More information will be available at the ICLA side event this afternoon.
For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.