Freedom of speech in Europe and North America is increasingly under threat because of a growing confusion among Western leaders over how to define “human rights.” The problem is being compounded by politically correct Western governments, which seek to enforce multicultural compliance with Islamic Sharia law as a way to appease Muslim lobby groups.
These and other political and societal “drifts” were catapulted to center stage by a well-organized and highly articulate group of free-speech activists who attended the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM), a major international conference on human rights — this year held in Warsaw, Poland from September 24 to October 5 — and sponsored annually by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
In recent years, the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings and the OSCE have been the focus of an intense lobbying campaign by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim countries that are aggressively pressuring Western countries to make it an international crime to criticize Islam.
In August 1990, the Muslim member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation officially adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, an alternative document to the 1948 United Nations’ document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Cairo Declaration states that people have “freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with Islamic Sharia law.”
The Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE), in a written submission to the Human Dimensions Implementation Meetings’ Working Session on Fundamental Freedoms, pointed out that today the term “human rights” has two incompatible meanings. In the non-Muslim world, “human rights” refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms that all people — men and women — are guaranteed individual rights.
By contrast, in the Muslim world, “human rights” are defined according to the Cairo Declaration, which holds that men and women are not equal and that it is the duty of men and women to follow the will of Allah. Dignity is granted only to those who submit to Allah’s will. The Cairo Declaration divides all human beings into two separate legal persons within its defined categories, namely men and women, believers and non-believers. Any rights or freedoms are binding commandments from Allah as delivered through Mohammed, the Muslim prophet.
The BPE asked the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to clarify which definition of human rights is being referred to during discussions at the Conference. The statement says:
When BPE discusses the plight of young girls and women with respect to forced marriages, violence, and/or FGM [female genital mutilation], BPE always refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whereas the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation refer exclusively to the Cairo Declaration, which has ramifications on the status of the girl or woman. OSCE participating states that are also member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation thus refer to a different set of human rights at the HDIM. It follows that within the Human Dimension of the OSCE there are two diametrically opposed sets of human rights.
The International Civil Liberties Alliance, in a written statement to the Human Dimensions Implementation Meetings’ Working Session on Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief, said:
Since the Organization of Islamic Cooperation created the Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, commonly known as the Cairo Declaration, we have witnessed a distortion of the concepts of human rights and religious freedom. This declaration has created a new and secondary standard in human rights based on Sharia Law, which is entirely incompatible with OSCE’s human rights standards, inspired as they were by the declaration of 1948.
The International Civil Liberties Alliance statement continues:
Sharia law is a system of religious and political regulations destructive of all the principles promoted through the OSCE, i.e. democracy, human rights, freedom of religion and belief, etc. Sharia Law has been defined by the European Court of Human Rights on February 2003, as “incompatible with democratic principles…”
The International Civil Liberties Alliance concludes:
Therefore, OSCE’s commitments and works done by its various departments are devoid of sense if all the partners, state-members, NGOs or other contributors are not using the same definition of Human Rights. A definition is required that clearly rejects any interpretation originating in the Cairo Declaration.
In a report entitled, “The Battle Has Begun,” Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese advocate for free speech, summarized her impressions of the Human Dimension’s 2012 conference:
This is one of the important observations we made: The tide has shifted. The freedom lovers are no longer on the defensive; the opposite is true. The OIC side was isolated; the Counterjihad received many supportive thumbs-up gestures. We made new allies.
She also wrote, however:
Lastly, I was more than surprised to see a member of MPAC [Muslim Public Affairs Council, a Los Angeles-based lobbying group] take the floor on behalf of the U.S. delegation. Since when has MPAC represented the U.S. government? And with diplomatic status! This is wrong and an outrage. We ask our friends in the U.S. House of Representatives to weigh in.
She was referring to Salam al-Marayati, a radical Muslim whom the Obama Administration named as its official representative to the OSCE’s premier conference on human rights. Al-Marayati is the controversial founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
About the Author: The writer is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group, one of the oldest and most influential foreign policy think tanks in Spain.
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