Below is an intervention given by Henrik Clausen for Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa Austria at last week’s OSCE/HDIM conference in Warsaw, on September 27, during Working Session 12 “Fundamental freedoms I (continued), including freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief”.
Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this video:
Below is the prepared text for Mr. Clausen’s intervention:
Henrik Clausen, BPE Austria
Freedom of belief, and the freedom not to have one, is vital to our freedom, and must be defended against all threats to it, in order to guarantee our security.
Then, we need to differentiate between religious and political systems. A political system is not a religion, nor is it a body of law. Seeking to impose certain political or legal systems are not religious activities, they are political, and opposing this does not violate the freedom of religion.
Now, it happens that there exists an Apartheid-style legal system that discriminates people according to their religion, opposes equal rights for women, and even dictates capital punishment for apostasy. This legal system is Sharia, and is at odds with democracy and human rights (ECHR 2003).
The Islam-related security problems we are currently witnessing relate directly to attempts to introduce Sharia law in our free societies, by peaceful or violent means. This can be dealt with under the law. A best-practice example of this is how the US tried and convicted many organisations related to the Holy Land Foundation.
It is the view of BPE Austria that we can resolve our Islam-related security problems by refusing any attempts to introduce Sharia into our societies. This will protect freedom, women and human rights, including the right of Muslims to practice a purely religious Islam.
BPE Austria thus recommends:
- That the OSCE guidelines on freedom of religion be amended to clarify the distinction between religious and political activities.
- That OSCE pS actively identify Islamic organisations that promote Sharia.
- That organisations promoting Sharia should be considered political, and therefore be denied religious status.
For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.