Saturday, December 08, 2012
ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION
JAN MARKELL ON FREE SPEECH - ISLAM TRYING TO KILL IT - MICHELE BACHMAN
WEB BONUS ON ISLAM TRYING TO KILL OUR FREE SPEECH TO TALK OUT AGAINST THEM.
ORGANISATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION
THE OIC IS THE LARGEST VOICE IN THE U.N.THEIR GOAL IS TO REGULATE SPEECH AND MAKE IT CRIMINAL TO TALK OUT AGAINST ISLAM.ISLAM WANTS OUR FREE SPEECH TAKEN FROM US.WETHER WRITTEN,SPOKEN OR PICTURES AGAINST ISLAMISTS.WE ARE NOT PROTECTED BY THIS,ONLY ISLAM IS.ISLAM WANTS WORLD DOMINATION.AND ANY BODY AGAINST ISLAM DESTROYED.
STATEMENT H.E. EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE ORGANISATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION (OIC) AT THE SYMPOSIUM ON TOLERANCE VIENNA, 26 NOVEMBER 2012
Date: 29/11/2012 - View in: Arabic | French - Print
Distinguished Members of Parliaments,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the pleasure to address the opening session of the Symposium on Tolerance under the Parlimentary Exchange and Dialogue Program. Allow me first to extend my congratulations to the Turkish Grand National Assembly- particularly to the Chairman of the EU Harmonization Commission Prof. Tekelioglu- and the European Parliament for jointly organizing this important event which- I believe- is quite timely.
In my address today, I will mainly dwell upon tolerance and also on the way to mutual understanding through tolerance. When I say mutual understanding, I mean both understanding one’s own self and understanding “the other” with an open mind.
Let me begin by sharing views on the concept of tolerance. It may be defined as the capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the practices or beliefs of others. It is acceptance of differing views of other people and fairness towards the people who hold these differing views. It does not necessarily entail identifying one’s self with such differing views, but merely respecting them.
As stated in the UNESCO Declaration of Principles on Tolerance, it is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures. The UNESCO Declaration underscores that tolerance is not concession, condescension or indulgence. It signifies an active attitude prompted by recognition of the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others.
Troubling events of recent past have placed the need for tolerance as an imperative at the center of the global agenda. Genuine mutual respect and understanding of other cultures, religions and value systems must not be discounted as starting points to that end. It would be a big mistake to assume that any one culture or value system is more advanced or more suitable to respond to the basic needs of human beings. There is and there can be no hierarchy among cultures, nor is there superiority in the manifestations of human achievements. Rather they are cumulative, interactive and progressive. Respect for human rights, democratic pluralism, rule of law, transparency and accountability are universal values. These values are the product of the collective wisdom, conscience and progress of mankind. As such no single culture can claim sole ownership of such values. Although these values are essentially universal, they are not applied universally. Therefore, one of the priority tasks to be undertaken should be to identify the roots of these values within respective cultures and promote their collective ownership.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Self fulfilling prophecies like clash of civilizations’ have fuelled divisions, misperceptions and apprehensions between the West and the Muslim world. The main problem emanates from lack of knowledge of “the other”, and the negative propaganda perpetrated in the absence of knowing the other side or knowing the other side in the wrong context. The Abrahamic faiths of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are not exclusive. They should not be construed as being in in conflict or competiton. Many of the underlying principles are common and the ethical foundations overlap. They all seek justice, prosperity and tranquility. They encourage tolerance and protection of human dignity.
Let me in this context underline Islamophobia, which needs but lacks a commonly agreed definition. It has often been defined as “fear or suspicion of Islam, Muslims, and matters pertaining to them”. This is a rather narrow context. It constitutes a contemporary manifestation of racism. It signifies intolerance and discrimination against Muslims. Islamophobia is not a new phenomenon. There are historical, cultural, religious, and psychological reasons behind it. In the post-September 11 period, this phenomenon has acquired a new and disturbing dimension, and the social climate facing Muslims, especially in Western countries, has deteriorated. As a result, pre-existing prejudices and discriminatory tendencies against Muslims have been rendered conspicuous.
Islamophobia leads to hate crimes and as such generates fear, feelings of stigmatization, marginalization, alienation and rejection. The net result is heightened anxiety and rising violence. Islamophobia is also an assault on people’s identity and their human dignity.
Key elements in discrimination and intolerance against Muslims include:
a) Ancient hatreds, old prejudices,
b) Powerful new opposition to immigration,
c) Antipathy towards Muslims in general, and a belief that Islam is not compatible with democracy, human rights, and contemporary values,
d) Political rhetoric, coupled with biased and/or misleading media coverage,
e) Identification of terrorism and violence with Islam.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would now like to briefly touch upon what should be done to correct this situation.
First, Western countries need to recognize the problem and be ready and willing to adopt a multifaceted approach.
Second, they need to take account of the importance of the intellectual front in the fight against intolerance and discrimination against Muslims and to devise sound strategies to tackle the issue in the areas of value systems and perceptions.
Third, they must define hate crimes broadly and address the information deficit; that is to say, collect, analyze, and disseminate information related to hate crimes. Clear criteria for reporting and registering of hate crimes must also be established.
Fourth, they must enact adequate legislation and implement this legislation effectively. In conjunction with national legislation, they should also implement international commitments and agreed norms.
Fifth, Western countries should help to strengthen Muslim communities and civil society organizations and try to enable them to work with local and national authorities. In this respect, community outreach programmes will be of great use in confidence building and in creating community cohesion and a sense of living together.
Another point that deserves urgent attention is education. Younger generations, in particular, should be provided with educational programmes that will foster tolerance, understanding, and respect towards “the other.” Another education-related area is of course training of law enforcement officials.
Finally, in the field of public discourse related to Muslims and Islam, two points need to be underlined:
Responsible politicians, both in government and opposition, must underline the importance of accurate and unbiased political discourse. Media can play a very positive role in promoting inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue and harmony and tolerance. The real threat to tolerance and to multicultural societies emanates from the extremist on either side. It is extremely important not to let the extremists on both ends to divide humanity along artificial, ethnic, cultural or religious fault lines. They should be denied such an opportunity by display of a genuinely common and united front.
Let me underline that the call for tolerance, and inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue is an appeal to those who believe in constructing rather than destroying. Many European countries have simultaneously been facing the challenges of managing increasingly diverse and multicultural societies. The richness of diversity we observe encompasses religious, cultural, racial and linguistic aspects.
The debate around multiculturalism is often framed within the context of integration and has many connotations. What we must strive towards instead is the identification of our shared values and commonalities. We must strive towards creating strong and ‘cohesive communities’ where every individual has a sense of belonging to his/her community and State, as well as a stake in its well-being.
But how to create ‘cohesive communities’? In order to embrace diversity and multiculturalism we must pro-actively engage the diverse voices that make up our new communities and formulate a commonly forged new identity. And this implies dialogue, but meaningful dialogue. This dialogue must occur at all levels – at the level of nation states, at the regional level and at the community grass roots level. We must discuss our differences, but we must also renew our commitment to discovering our shared understandings and common experiences.
Political and community leaders from all sides must set a leading example in terms of responsible discourse. These leaders have the ability to influence- and form- public opinion and attitudes – which in turn has the ability to influence actions. Political leaders must serve as a positive example in terms of engaging and reflecting the diverse interests that characterize our societies.
Today’s challenge for multicultural societies is aptly illuminated by the recent tensions and disturbances in various European countries. These incidents underscore the need to create an environment in which peaceful means are sought in order to discuss our differences. While freedom of expression and freedom of speech are core values in democratic societies, we must be careful not to exploit them intentionally and deliberately provoke groups whose values we do not understand or share. Extremists on the far right must not be allowed to use existing tensions as political capital for renewing the anti-immigration debate and inflaming misunderstandings between communities.
I believe that cultural and religious differences are a reality; however these differences should not divide us. The path to be followed should be based on the acceptance of diversity. We should also adhere to a set of fundamental values and forge identities on the basis of commonalities and not differences. Only by embarking on a dialogue based on creativity and cooperation can we shape globalization in a meaningful and positive way. Only so can we approach cultural differences peacefully and, more importantly, solve the underlying problems.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In this context, let me inform this august gathering of OIC’s endeavours. Combating intolerance and discrimination on religious ground is matter of vital concern at OIC. Accordingly, the Organization is at the forefront of seeking concerted international action to address the issue in a manner that takes care of interests and concerns of all parties. Our efforts are mainly guided by the Ten Year Programme of Action which underscores the importance of intercultural and interfaith dialogue that would underwrite peace, security and stability in a globalized world. In order to draw attention and address the increasing phenomenon of Islamophobia particularly in the Western societies, I established an Observatory within the OIC General Secretariat to follow anti-Islamic acts and movements which have been producing annual reports the last of which has just been published and available on the OIC web-site. Furthermore, I have also appointed a distinguished Turkish diplomat- Ambassador Omur Orhun- as Special Envoy on this matter of trascendental priority at OIC.
I would also like to underscore the significance of the OIC initiative contained in the Human Rights Council resolution 16/18. It was during my address to the 15th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva that I outlined a new approach towards evolving a consensus against incitement to violence and intolerance on religious ground that could endanger peaceful coexistence. It , in fact, must be viewed as being antithetical to the very notion of a globalized world. I am glad that the eight points in the proposed approach found resonance with all the negotiating partners. They formed the basis of the consensus reflected in HRC resolution 16/18. The importance of the consensual adoption of this Resolution cannot be over emphasized. Neither can it be discounted as a triumph of multilateralism. It has since been gathering support of multiple stakeholders as the least common denominator. Its merit lies in acceptance as the framework for building on the consensus.
It reaffirmed OIC’s credibility as well as demonstrated ability to seek, promote and build consensus on even the most sensitive of issues in contemporary international relations. It clearly demonstrated that, as a mature International Organization, OIC was not wedded to either a particular title or the content of a resolution. We just wanted to ensure that the actual matter of vital concern and interest was addressed.
Finally, let me conclude by emphasizing that in a world faced with the menace of terrorism, the implications of not evolving are normative framework to discourage hate speech and other forms of incitement to hatred, discrimination, and violence, cannot and must not be ignored. The Resolution 16/18 provides with a good basis for concerted action by states, at both the national and the international levels. It must be utilized accordingly. We would, otherwise, be faced with the unaffordable risk of the agenda hijacked and set by radicals and non-state actors.
Only by embarking on a dialogue based on creativity and cooperation can we shape globalization in a meaningful and positive way. Only so can we approach cultural differences peacefully and, more importantly, solve the underlying problems.
Therefore, through active cooperation between our countries, we must send a strong signal to the world at large, a signal that a clash of civilizations is not our fate, that there is another way that leads to peace, security, stability and prosperity.
Furthermore, I am convinced that a frank discussion on the fundamental values of justice, freedom and equality is necessary. The quest for justice is an eternal topic in the philosophical traditions of all our countries. An exchange of ideas on ethical, religious, legal, social and secular concepts could provide key impetus for fostering the necessary understanding between countries with diverse heritages.
Before concluding my remarks, I would like to reiterate my thanks to the organizers of this symposium and express my confidence for fruitful deliberations.
I thank you all.