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In 2002, the OIC issued its “Declaration on International Terrorism.” It was hailed as the Muslim world’s repudiation of terrorism, but it included a line legitimizing terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas: “We reject any attempt to associate Islamic states or Palestinian and Lebanese resistance with terrorism.”
The blasphemy laws and “anti-Islamophobia” laws promoted by OIC are simply a means to stop criticism of Islam and especially, critics of radical Islam—a term that the OIC would surely love to make unspeakable. As Shea and Marshall point out, such laws have been used to oppress Muslim reformers promoting women’s rights and relations with Israel. One of the best examples would be Asia Bibi in Pakistan. She has been sentenced to death for criticizing Islam to her co-workers after she converted to Christianity.
In the West, the OIC and its allies promote such legislation as being part of a fight against “hate speech.” This was the tactic used to prosecute Geert Wilders for his harsh condemnations of Islam. In the U.S., critics of radical Islam are regularly derided as being hateful bigots and “Islamophobes.” Since it’s impossible to prosecute these “Islamophobes,” they are instead vilified in the media and sometimes, sued. A former imam says he was at a meeting with the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a Muslim Brotherhood front, when the term “Islamophobe” was invented. He said that the group was inspired by how the term “homophobe” had been used against critics of homosexuality.
It seems unthinkable that that perceived insults against Islam could become punishable in the West, but that’s exactly what happened to Wilders in the Netherlands and he was a major political leader. In Europe, there is an umbrella group called the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion that is
pressuring governments to “take all necessary measures in their legal systems to ensure a safe environment from Islamophobic harassment, violence and discrimination,” including in the media and on the Internet.
In the U.S., Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the former spokesman for the Ground Zero Mosque project, has spoken in favor of restricting free speech when it (in his view) is an attack on Islam.
“I believe that the insulting or mocking of others’ religious symbols, icons, prophets, etc. should not fall within the realm of free speech,” Imam Rauf is recorded as saying.
His wife, Daisy Khan, believes the same. She took part in a 2006 debate where she was against the motion of “Freedom of expression must include the right to offend.” She said that “Muslims continually face xenophobia” and offered the Danish cartoons mocking Mohammed as an example of speech that should not be allowed. She argued that such offensive speech was “fueling extremist sentiments.”
The OIC is not an organization that is unequivocally against terrorism or truly dedicated to modernity and freedom. The OIC must be treated for what it is: An obstacle, not an asset, in the war against radical Islam.
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