Talking Doudou at the UN
Doudou Diene, a “UN expert” on racism, recently told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that “Islamophobia today is the most serious form of religious defamation”, but he failed to define “religious defamation”, or to say why it was a serious thing.
Citing the Danish Motoons, and Lars Vilks’ recent MoDog, Diene said this was evidence that
the basic principle of coexistence of different cultures and different religions, which is the lasting basis for peace, is threatened now [...]
freedom of expression cannot be used as a pretext or excuse for incitement to racial or religious hatred.
Listen, Doudou: a cartoon of Mohammed with a dog’s body does not incite hatred towards Muslims, it incites Muslim hate. And just like everyone else, Muslims are responsible for their own hatred.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, is similarly clueless. On the subject of Doudou’s report, she said “I have no reason not to share his concerns”.
Fortunately there is the International Humanist and Ethical Union to counterbalance the ravings of these two. Roy Brown, the IHEU’s representative, said Arbour was “just plain wrong”.
The little regrettable hostility that does exist among indigenous Europeans has not arisen in a vacuum, but as a reaction to Islamic extremism — demonization of Jews, infidels and homosexuals and contempt for Western culture.
European members of the council were also sceptical. Goncalo Silvestre of Portugal spoke for the 27-nation bloc:
The EU finds it problematic to reconcile the notion of defamation with the concept of discrimination. In our view these two are of a different nature.
He went on to state that religions do not deserve special protection under international human rights law.
Praise the Lord!
UPDATE: (19 Sept) The IHEU will respond to Diene’s Islamphobia report on Friday on behalf of itself and three other NGOs (Association for World Education, Association of World Citizens and World Union of Progressive Judaism). Here is an extract:
First, he fails to distinguish between, on the one hand, Islamophobia, which he defines as “baseless hostility and fear vis-à-vis Islam”, and on the other hand, genuine concerns regarding the rise of Islamic extremism. Secondly, he fails to recognise that there are important differences between the Islamic and other worldviews that contribute significantly to the problem.
Rather than dismissing Europe’s defence of its identity which he describes as ‘based on intangible “values”’ (which he puts in scare quotes) he should recognise that these values are neither intangible nor exclusively “European”, but universal. They include, inter alia, the dignity and autonomy of the individual, equality of the sexes, democracy, and human rights – surely the very rights that this Council should be seeking to defend. That these differences do exist and are far from intangible is evidenced, for example, by the OIC’s promotion of the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam as an alternative to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
You can read the rest here.
(Thanks to Roy Brown in the comments)