As reported here earlier, on Monday morning EMISCO (the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion) sponsored a side event at the OSCE/HDIM conference in Warsaw. It was chaired by Bashy Quraishy, the General Secretary of EMISCO, and featured remarks by Turkish Professor Bülent Şenay, a founding member of EMISCO. It was entitled “The Consequences of Islamophobic Discourse in the European Political Parties”.
A better title would have been “The Bülent ’n’ Bashy Road Show”. The two prominent Islamophobia-phobes acted out different roles in their production. At stage left we see Bashy and the Technicolor Dreamscarf, looking like a revolutionary meld of Che Guevara and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Sitting in stark contrast at center stage is Prof. Bülent, who resembles a college professor with his fashionable goatee and shaggy, tousled hair. In comedic terms, the former is a nyuk-nyuk-nyuk-nyuk Curly, while the latter is a stern and retributive Moe.
All joshing aside, though — there’s a hard edge under that affable college-prof veneer. When you listen to Prof. Şenay in this video, you’ll hear the steel core of Ottoman arrogance. Appearances notwithstanding, a similarity with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is easy to discern. It’s the Turkish variant of Sunni Islamic supremacism.
And it’s a serious, even ominous topic. These men want to criminalize what I say. Not just discourage it, not just write letters to the editor and boycott our sponsors, but criminalize our speech. They want people who say “Islamophobic” things to be arrested, prosecuted, and fined or thrown into prison. Which, incidentally, is currently the norm in Turkey.
And they’re the ones who constantly describe us as “Nazis”.
Bülent Şenay delivered his remarks after the question-and-answer period, thus making sure that his was the final word. He had dismissed questions about the undefined term “Islamophobia” as unimportant — “We all know what it means,” hence “I won’t define it,” and “We must define Islamophobia as a crime.” He spent the rest of his allotted time describing the alarming rise of “Islamophobia”, which is increasing everywhere in Europe. He made a point of telling the audience that he had consulted with all the major European political leaders in Europe, and they agreed with him — “Islamophobia” is a huge problem. When he talked to them about anti-Islamic expressions in the media, they responded that the media are independent, and not under state control. But he had doubts that they were being truthful with him — implying that the “Islamophobia” in European media (does anybody remember seeing any?) is state-orchestrated, and that therefore the state could crack down and eradicate it.
This is what we’re up against in Warsaw. It would all be burlesque theater, just a big laugh, except for the fact that venues like OSCE generate policy papers and action proposals that are uploaded to the United Nations and eventually adopted as legal instruments by the member states. So this is deadly serious stuff.
For more background on Professor Şenay, here are the notes from the video:
The OSCE Council member who responded to Stephen Coughlin’s question is the Turkish diplomat Professor Bülent Şenay, a founding member of the Governing Board of the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion (EMISCO) and Diplomatic Counselor for Religious and Cultural Affairs at the Turkish Embassy in The Hague from 2008 to 2012. The authority he is afforded can neither be ignored nor underestimated.
Şenay has defined Islamophobes as “cultural terrorists” engaging in “psychological terror” and using such weapons as “film, video, audio cassettes, music, photocopiers, printed words, pictures…”
While he openly recognizes the status of the OIC, the most important data point you must know about Bülent Şenay is that he defines human rights as being subject to Shariah.
A final note — on the display screen in the background you’ll see an enlarged version of this image:
It makes a man quietly proud…
Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this video:
For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.