Islamic nations call for blasphemy laws

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, has called for Western governments to do more to stop people saying nasty things about his belief system:

Mere condemnation or distancing from the acts of the perpetrators of Islamophobia will not resolve the issue, as long as they remain free to carry on with their campaign of incitement and provocation on the plea of freedom of expression

He backed up this apparent call for custodial sentences against Islam’s critics with the customary veiled threats:

It requires a strong and determined collective political will to address the challenge. […] It is now high time for concrete actions to stem the rot before it aggravates (the situation) any further.

A delegation of Pakistani officials to the EU is to make similar demands, although their threats are rather more explicit:

The delegation, headed by an additional secretary of the Interior Ministry, will meet the leaders of the EU countries in a bid to convince them that the recent attack on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan could be a reaction against the blasphemous campaign, sources said.

They said that the delegation would also tell the EU that if such acts against Islam are not controlled, more attacks on the EU diplomatic missions abroad could not be ruled out.

Nice embassy you have here. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.

(HT David Thompson)

UPDATE: (12.25) More hilarious arrogance, this time from a group in Jordan who are demanding that Geert Wilders appear in court and face charges for his film Fitna. The group, which calls itself “Campaign for the Prophet”, says the charge is

based on the (film’s) violation of publishing laws which ban insults against religions and attacks against Islam and the prophets

There are no such laws in Holland.

UPDATE: (13th June) An unperturbed Wilders states the obvious:

It’s ridiculous. Let them do whatever they like. I don’t have to adhere to Jordanian law, but to Dutch law.

14 Responses to “Islamic nations call for blasphemy laws”

  1. Britannia says:

    Doesn’t Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu understand that if he and his fellow islamists stop killing people and preaching hate against those who have grown up out of the need of an imaginary friend, the so called ‘islamophobia’ will stop as well?
    The OIC has hijacked the UN to such and extent that nobody will take it seriously; not that the UN has any power anyway.

  2. Fatpie42 says:

    They are clearly misusing a very noble sentiment here. Groups like Stephen Green’s “Christian Voice” and the BNP use criticism of Islam as an excuse for racist and xenophobic bigotry (and sometimes ordinary Muslims may be verbally and physically harassed and assaulted as a result). These groups will cite ‘freedom of expression’ as one of the reasons why they should be allowed to freely express their bigoted sentiments. That is Islamophobia and ordinary Muslims are right to demand protection from it. The best argument they have going for them in the case of these cartoons is that their bigotry is an encitement to attacks against Muslims.

    However, the fact is that they are clearly not clued in as to what the purpose of the law is. Firstly, the law has no responsibility to prevent the publishing of work they happen to find offensive. Secondly, if there is any violence the publishers are responsible for, that would be violence ‘against’ Muslims, not violence ‘by’ Muslims. Lastly bigoted comments are allowed a forum to a certain extent, so if anything criticism should be made if major publications are taking part, not because a recognisably right-wing publication is being characteristically racist, xenophobic and (as a result) islamophobic.

  3. Fatpie42 says:

    Britannia, Muslims in the west hardly have a choice over what extremist Muslims decide to do around the globe. So long as there are extremist Muslims, more moderate Muslims will be struggling to be accepted as ordinary people deserving of respect. Sad but true.

  4. Britannia says:

    Fatpie42, The muslims need to get their own house in order before having a go at the rest of us. So where are all the so called moderates, their silence is deafening. The moderates are as gulity as the extremists because the moderates stand by and do nothing; the extemists need and use moderates as a support network.
    As for respect: I have no respect for people who place superstitious nonsense above science and reason.

  5. M says:

    Maybe it’s time to tell the Muslims and the jews to go screw themselves. We are tired of dying in Wars for Zion against the followers of Isalm.
    Let’s own ourselves again ok ?

  6. Fatpie42 says:

    Britannia, what do you mean by ‘their own house’? Would you blame Anglicans for the actions of the pope in Rome? (Surely you shouldn’t even blame all the Roman Catholics for that when so many do not agree with everything the pope says.) Similarly Muslims don’t have a united front and they have little means of producing one.

    Also, perhaps more importantly, who are these ‘rest of us’ you refer to. It’s not me. That’s for damn sure. We’ve seen several of these cartoons and they are truly disgusting. (Not like the infamous bomb/head cartoon which I consider quite a profound statement on the image of Islam post-9/11.) A debate on the rights of the cartoonist strikes me little differently from a debate on the rights of the BNP.

    If it’s a debate on ‘us and them’ I’d rather stand with your average non-violent muslim than with the bigoted ‘artist’. – That said, I am not about to blame the cartoonist for attacks on the embassy. The cartoonist made no encitement to violence against the embassy, so to blame them for it is pure lunacy.

  7. Britannia says:

    Fatpie42, While I agree that some of the cartoons are in poor taste, that is no reason to murder or stifle freedom of speech. The brand of religon does not matter, all members and followers fund and support the extremists knowingly or not; it is those very moderates who should act and not allow their belief system to be hijacked. The World would be a better place without religion, they always have and will cause conflict.

  8. martyn says:

    It’s beyond me that we sit here in the 21st Century and so many people think it’s all worked by the bloody tooth fairy/allah/jesus/buddah/easter sodding bunny still.
    That’s the scariest part, just WHAT is the matter with you people?

  9. Ole says:

    “A debate on the rights of the cartoonist strikes me little differently from a debate on the rights of the BNP.”

    Your point being that the BNP/the cartoonists should or shouldn’t have freedom of speech?

    People will destroy flags, shoot their AKs in the air and burn George Bush puppets. And other people will draw cartoons and write musicals. Is that really the problem? Will suppressing that make the frustration and violence go away?

    Don’t think so. The religious communities need to get over the fact that it’s not a competition. You are not going to win. The billion people on the other side are not going to convert. It’s a permanent Mexican standoff and you’re going to have to accept it.

    Please go have fun with your own belief system. Stop being aggressive about it.

  10. Fatpie42 says:

    The BNP are, quite rightly, denied a public platform.

    The views of the BNP, when stated publically, incite violence and hatred on minorities who are not in a good position to protect themselves. One might argue that the cartoonist is inciting hatred against minorities in a similar way, but I would not agree with that. The cartoonist is not working on behalf of an organisation and therefore should not be prevented from promoting their work.

    I would, however, strongly look down upon any organisation who decided to publish or display the work – as I would consider it a sign of very poor taste. That, however, is my personal view on things and not a legal stance. All I am doing here is putting possible criticisms in the right context.

    Naturally the reaction to the cartoons have been out of all proportion. The cartoonist could only be blamed for violence against muslims, not violence from them. The cartoonist most certainly should not be arrested and should be allowed freedom of speech (from anyone who has the poor taste to give their sick cartoons a public platform).

    Now that my cards are quite clearly on the table I would like to express my absolute horror at the idea that all muslims are responsible for muslims violence. That is the same kind of mentality that states that all Christians are responsible for creationism, and that all atheists are responsible for Stalinism. The idea is pure lunacy. Surely the most noble point in the blog entries on this subject has been that people should take resposibility for their own actions. The extremists are the ones responsible, not ordinary Muslims. If you claim all Muslims are somehow responsible I can only imagine that you are either holding some bizarre paranoid delusion of a Muslim conspiracy whereby ALL Muslims know about extremists and just don’t tell anyone (pretty much Islamophobia by definition – an irrational fear of Muslims on the basis of their religious affiliation rather than their beliefs or actions), or you simply haven’t thought this out properly.

  11. Ole says:

    Fatpie42: It’s not about all muslims being responsible for the actions of a few. It’s the sad inability of the moderate muslims to reject the totalitarian elements of Islam. In my country several muslim politicians, including an MP have been unable to reject stoning of women. It’s part of sharia and apparently haram to speak against it.

    Bottom line, nobody is being held responsible for other peoples actions. But if you are strongly associated with totalitarian movements and unwilling to take a stand in a public debate, your position on democracy and human rights will be challenged and probably considered suspect.

    We may not like it, but the agenda has been overtaken by the extremists. The moderates seem to have a concerning loyalty towards the extremists. Or maybe not. Maybe they’re the democracy loving silent majority. But we really can’t tell at this point, can we?

    Muslims should focus more on cleaning their own house. Islam truly needs an update, a reformed democratic version. Why not put more energy to that rather than defending the old version?

    The phobia card? I think the concern is very rational. There’s quite a few people out there with the intent of abolishing the core values of democracy/human rights. That’s a fact, nothing irrational about that.

    Irrational fear of critising religion is in a sense a phobia as well, you know.

    Furthermore, it’s quite ironic to suggest that the religion critical side of the debate should lack rationality. The religious agenda is the one based on a book claimed to be written by an all-ruling metaphysical entity with a bunch of semi-fictional characters as the supporting cast.

    Believe all you want, your choice. But it won’t give you a special protection against criticism.

  12. Fatpie42 says:

    Just to clarify, I didn’t say that Islamophobia involved criticising the religious beliefs of Islam. I said that it involved an irrational prejudice against Muslims on the basis of their religious affiliation. If someone says that God doesn’t exist and Mohammed was an ordinary bloke, that’s criticism of the religion. If someone says all Muslims (rather than naming a known extremist sect like Wahabbis, and then to claim it is ‘all’ of them would still be over the top) are terrorists and are secretly plotting to overthrow the government, that would be Islamophobia. Another Islamophobic statement (very obviously linked with racism and xenophobia) is that because Muslims have more children than most ordinary western families, soon Muslims will be the majority in the west and there will be civil war (from the nutcase Stephen Green).

    Even claiming that Islam as a philosophy was inevitably going to lead to the terrorist mindset that we so often see today would not be Islamophobic. It is the irrational prejudice against a group purely on the basis of their religious affiliation (that they call themselves Muslims) is Islamophobia.

    Put it this way. In the past there used to be prejudice against the Irish in the light of the IRA bombings. Now that IRA has been dismantled no one worries so much. Is it because the Irish have suddenly become nicer people? No, it’s because no one is frightened that the Irish will blow them up. Naturally at no point was it ever true that ‘all Irish Catholics are in league with the IRA to blow up important places in London’. I think it’s similar with the case of Muslims. Just because there is an extremist movement amongst them doesn’t mean that they all need to apologise for it.

  13. G. Tingey says:

    Maybe Islamophobia SHOULD include the criticism of the beliefs of islam.

    Really, can we accept that: “Women are inferior to men, and subject to their orders”(4.34), or a woman is worth one-half of a man (2.282, 4.11), or “kill unbelievers, wherever you find them” (2.191-2) etc …..
    If the “holy book” says this, and is unalterable, then perhaps we SHOULD be phobic about the religion?

  14. Fatpie42 says:

    G. Tingey, I think perhaps you missed the point here. A ‘phobia’ traditionally refers to an irrational fear or prejudice. Look at the term ‘homophobia’ for a point of comparison.