Monday, February 18, 2013

OIC and the denigration of religion



The Saudi Gazette today reports that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is "gearing up" to get the "denigration" of religions criminalised. In case the word denigrate leaves you a little unsure as to where you might stand should this law be implemented, let me clarify. It would mean you would be unable to utter a word of criticism of any religion without facing the possible sanction of international law -since any criticism might be seized upon and be interpreted as an incitement to intolerance and hatred - as the Director of Cultural Affairs of the OIC made clear in his interview with the newspaper:
Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, director of cultural affairs at the OIC general secretariat and spokesman for the OIC secretary general [...]  said the OIC seeks establishment of an international observatory, based in Geneva, with a global mandate not only to monitor denigration of Islam but all other religions.
The OIC is of the firm view that any religion or its symbols should not be denigrated. The Cairo Islamic Summit endorsed this position and tasked the OIC secretariat to develop a unified strategy to impress upon the international community to take effective measures against such acts of incitement of intolerance and hatred that may lead to violence and loss of lives,” he said while noting that Islamophobia figured high on the agenda of the summit. 
Ask yourself who will interpret whether your comment, your joke, your email, your blog post... your thoughts were deemed to denigrate Islam. Ask yourself how soon it will be before we all have to start adding PBUH whenever we mention Muhammad for fear of accusations of disrespect (and by extension denigration). Ask yourself whether those at the Ministry of Truth would be persuaded of your innocence should you be caught with a copy of The Four Lions? Ask yourself if satire or any form of ridicule would become as dangerous as it always has been for those unfortunates in totalitarian regimes.

For let's not forget that the OIC, "the collective voice of the Muslim world",  has a track record for Doublethink already,  Not for them the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (deemed too Judeo-Christian and secular in a criticism apparently gloriously devoid of irony). Muslim countries, say the OIC, must have their own version of "universal" rights....Thus we have the Cairo Declaration (1990) which infamously denied people the right to have no religion at all and couched all other rights in the all encompassing and sinister sounding Article 24: All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah. Article 22 is equally worthy of any Orwellian nightmare: 
Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of The Party, sorry! -Prophets, undermine moral and ethical Values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.
And while we're on the subject of the intolerant nature of totalitarian theocracies and the inherent evil therein (I'm just getting my denigrating in while I can...) we should also remember the OIC's record on LGBT issues. Early last year, in March 2012, the UNHCR held its first debate on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Pakistan's representative addressed the session on behalf of the OIC, denouncing the discussion and questioning the concept of sexual orientation, which he said was being used to promote licentious behaviour contrary to "the fundamental teachings of various religions, including Islam". He stated that the council should not discuss the topic again. Most of the Arab and African countries later walked out of the session

Given the above (and the appalling human rights abuses of the LGBT communities in Islamic countries), we might thus seriously question whether being gay or trans or even writing about such things would be interpreted as denigrating Islam and thus be deemed to be illegal in this Brave New World.

PS Before Mrs Spinoza jumps in  -Yes, I know BNW was Huxley not Orwell...


13 comments:

  1. As far as I can work out, the only holy book that would fall foul of the OIC proposals. Is the Quran itself due to its numerous denigrations of other religions.

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    1. Interesting point, Mr Sanity. One wonders how suggesting the followers of a religion were turned into pigs and monkeys would fare under such legislation...

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  2. A very chilling prospect indeed.

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  3. The worldwide acceptance of Islam is inevitable and thus the denigration of a religion accepted by everyone as the one true faith SHOULD be a crime. Why should we allow God and his prophets to be abused??

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  4. @ Mr Sanity, what you say of Islam is not false, however what you say if other religions in your comment is. Judaism's version of the hadith is the Talmud, which clearly states on numerous occasions that all moral activity is the law for Jew to Jew relations and all non-Jews are practically animals

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    1. @Jasmine
      Have you got references to these "numerous occasions"?
      You are presumably aware of the many fake Talmudic verses out there designed to arouse anti-semitic fervour...

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    2. @Jasmine,
      an you cite the relevant Talmudic verses? It should be remembered that the Talmud, unlike the ahadith, was written much after the Jewish prophets. It contains mostly embellished versions of Biblical stories and also how the Torah Sages, both before and after 70 AD, interpreted the Torah laws. The Torah itself contains general commandments not to oppress the foreigner (Exodus 23:9, Leviticus 19:33), treat the foreigner like a native (Leviticus 19:34), and to love the foreigner (Ibid., also Deuteronomy 10:19), as well as specific commandments such as not to glean fields after harvesting, but to leave them for the foreigner, the widow and the orphan (Deuteronomy 24:21).

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  5. @Anon & Varma: sure, here you go: http://www.revisionisthistory.org/talmudtruth.html

    Btw, I am not making any attack on anything, simply making the point that hatred and hate verses and speech are a feature of most established religions: you can't have a tight group without a common enemy - a common enemy is very important to the formation and bond of any group in fact, whether it be via religion, a nation, an ethos or anything for that matter.

    Can you think of an established group of any kind that accepts the existence of "the other" (and by "other" I mean "those who have a completely different opinion") without believing themselves superior or believing the other is "the enemy"?

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    1. Revisionist History is run by Michael Hoffman. I think you need to be very careful quoting this man as your source for anything, Jasmine. He's a holocaust denier and a pretty weird conspiracy theorist to boot.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_A._Hoffman_II

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    2. @Anon: Your point re: Hoffman is noted. But are you saying these verses / phrases are not real?

      Also - are you saying that they have been misinterpreted?

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  6. PS to all - just found a good blog with links to violence in the bible and comments on it: http://www.juancole.com/2010/03/jenkins-bible-far-more-violent-than.html

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    1. excellent link - thanks!

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