Remnant News Watch
U.S. Lists Iraq Among ‘Most Dangerous Places on Earth’—Especially for Christians

Mark Alessio

(Posted 02/03/09
A defamation of religion resolution stating that “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism passed in the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday – but with fewer votes than in previous years,” reports Patrick Goodenough of the Cybercast News Service (Dec. 18, 2008):

Over the past year opponents ranging to media watchdogs and free speech advocates to Christian and humanist groups have stepped up lobbying against the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)-driven campaign. Thursday’s vote passed by a margin of 86-53, with 42 countries abstaining. The result showed a significant erosion of support since a similar resolution passed in the General Assembly last December by a vote of 108-51, with 25 abstentions. For the first time, the number of countries supporting the resolution fell behind the number of those voting against or abstaining.

“Although it is disappointing that religious freedom takes another step backwards today, we are extremely encouraged that the majority of countries in the world did not vote in favor of banning peaceful religious speech,” said Angela C. Wu, the international law director at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a Washington-based public interest law which described the results of the U.N. vote as “a significant backlash.”

On March 13, 2008, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) – which is comprised of 57 nations and maintains a permanent delegation to the United Nations – hosted a meeting in Senegal, where they discussed a 58-page report written by their "Islamophobia Observatory," a group established to monitor anti-Islamic incidents. Mr. Goodenough wrote (CNS News, March 13, 2008):

The recommended steps include a range of responses, including monitoring of and responding to incidents, and a campaign to show Islam to be a "moderate, peaceful and tolerant" religion.

But the report also says that legal measures are required. "There is a need for a binding legal instrument to fight the menace of Islamophobia in the context of freedom of religion and elimination of religious intolerance," it says. "The Islamophobes remain free to carry on their assaults due to absence of legal measures necessary for misusing or abusing the right to freedom of expression."

A mere two days before the U.N. General Assembly passed the Organization of the Islamic Conference’s “Defamation of Religion Resolution,” Drew Zahn of World Net Daily reported (Dec. 16, 2008):

Hundreds of thousands of Assyrian Christians, a minority people who live principally in northern Iraq, have fled the country under murderous threats from Islamic militants that have grown so bad, a U.S. government entity has now labeled Iraq "among the most dangerous places on earth."

In a report released today, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federally-funded advisory team created and appointed by Congress, recommends that Iraq be designated a "country of particular concern" in light of ongoing, severe abuses against the country's religious minorities – stating that the situation is "particularly dire" for ChaldoAssyrian Christians.

According to Carl Hetu, national secretary of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association of Canada, "What we've heard from people in the field is that each person identified as Christian has received a letter telling them: 'You leave Mosul and Iraq, or you will be killed’." Mr. Zahn adds, “The threats are neither new nor empty: Since 2003, the International Herald Tribune reports, over 25 churches across Iraq have been bombed, several priests have been abducted and beheaded, nuns have been stabbed and a 14-year-old boy was even crucified near Mosul.”

We saw manic demonstrations by Muslims over editorial cartoons. We heard no outcry over murdered priests or a crucified boy. Why not? The Organization of the Islamic Conference desperately wants the world to view Islam as a "moderate, peaceful and tolerant" religion. In fact,
during the Nineteenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, held in Cairo, Egypt (July 31- August 5, 1990), the member states of the OIC issued the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. It sounds fine for the most part, describing how “all men are equal in terms of basic human dignity,” “as of the moment of birth, every child has rights due from the parents .... both the fetus and the mother must be protected and accorded special care,” “everyone shall have the right to medical and social care,” etc. But, there’s a catch – a very, very BIG catch. The last two articles of the Cairo Declaration read:

ARTICLE 24: All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah.
ARTICLE 25: The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.

And, so, when you go back over the previous articles of this document, you encounter lines like, “Safety from bodily harm is a guaranteed right. It is the duty of the state to safeguard it, and it is prohibited to breach it without a Sharia-prescribed reason.” And these are the same people responsible for the U.N. approved “Defamation of Religion Resolution.”

On August 26, 2008, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty issued an updated version of their brief on “Defamation of Religions.” It states: 

Unlike immutable race, religion involves the freedom to follow one’s conscience. Treating racial and religious discrimination as the same thing confuses racist hate speech with discussion of (sometimes controversial) truth claims. Whereas one can easily identify and narrowly define racist hate speech, it is not nearly so simple to define what falls into the category of “defamation of religion,” which as currently characterized can include any controversial truth claim about someone’s religion. Race-based speech restrictions have never been used to cut off discussion about racial identity, whereas the “defamation of religion” measures by definition prohibit controversial discussion of religious belief.

The “defamation of religion” measures by definition prohibit controversial discussion of religious belief. We have seen how “hate crimes” are defined using a broad and vague definition aimed at silencing certain segments of the population – i.e., Catholics and Protestants. The Becket Fund’s brief goes on to point out that, in fact, religious discrimination and intolerance do not result from “defamation of religions,” but from “state action against religious minorities and dissenters, who promote viewpoints that are often considered offensive to the majority religious populations in each of these countries”:

Just this past winter, anti-Christian violence broke out in Orissa state in India following accusations against Christians of having persuaded Hindus to convert to Christianity; the violence left buildings destroyed and hundreds of Christians homeless. Pakistan has banned Ahmadis from praying with the Qur’an or professing to believe in the Muslim faith; Iran has banned Baha’is; China has banned Falun Gong followers. Religious believers of every stripe are tortured and sent to prison camps in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) because religion is itself viewed as offensive to the atheist ideology of the state. Conspicuous religious attire, including those of Sikhs and Muslim, in certain public areas has been banned in several European countries, including in France, the Netherlands, and Turkey. “Defamation of religions” measures do not help these minorities. Such laws only benefit those who are in the majority and have the power to determine what acceptable speech is in the public square.

In short, he who controls the definitions of “hate” and “defamation” holds all the cards, legally speaking. These observations lead to one vital question: What is the true purpose of the OIC’s “Defamation of Religion Resolution?” And why are fewer and fewer European countries not buying into it? Could it be that those who are trying to handcuff and muzzle the West are overplaying their hand?




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