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Muslim Countries Seek to Restrict Free Speech Globally

The Cairo Declaration states that people have "freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with Islamic Sharia law."
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Photo Credit: YY

According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, MPAC is closely allied with the Muslim Brotherhood and has been a staunch defender of Islamic terrorist groups. Among other initiatives, MPAC has asked the US government to remove Hamas and Hezbollah from the list of US-designated terrorist groups. Al-Marayati, a vociferous critic of Israel, has also blamed Israel for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (See here for the full 81-page analysis of MPAC.)

The State Department defended its selection of al-Marayati, praising him as “valued and highly credible.” It added: “He was invited to participate in this year’s HDIM as a reflection of the wide diversity of backgrounds of the American people.”

In another conference submission, the Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa also drew attention to the plight of Muslim immigrants in Europe who want to leave Islam and convert to another faith. Islamic Sharia law calls for the death penalty for those who voluntarily “apostatize” from Islam.

The text states:

One case in point is a Bangladeshi man and his wife who is currently imprisoned in the United Kingdom after claiming asylum and being detained after officially renouncing Islam. Their asylum application was denied and they are now awaiting deportation to Bangladesh, where they will be killed according to Islamic Law for apostatizing.

OSCE member states were also urged to join the Brussels Process, an initiative launched by the International Civil Liberties Alliance in July 2012, in the European Parliament. The Brussels Process aims to “assist governments and civil society in protecting civil liberties and freedoms, and more specifically to defend the freedom of belief against attempts to implement Sharia regulations.”

In a separate statement, the International Civil Liberties Alliance also expressed “concern over the repetitive use of imprecise, confusing and ambiguous concepts and words in OSCE forums and working materials,” namely the term “Islamophobia,” even though this expression has no precise meaning nor internationally accepted definition. The OSCE was asked to provide a precise definition of the term.

The BPE called on the OSCE to “protect apostates, supporting their right to change their belief without the threat of death.”

A more complete collection of posts about the OSCE meeting can be found here and here.

The OSCE, the world’s largest security-oriented inter-governmental organization, is based in Vienna. Its 56 member states are located in Europe, the former Soviet Union and North America, and cover most of the northern hemisphere. The OSCE, created during the Cold War era as an East-West forum, has, among its as its mandates, issues such as arms control and the promotion of human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections.

The Human Dimension Implementation Meetings, Europe’s largest annual human rights and democracy conference, is a platform for OSCE member countries, civil society groups and international organizations. The Human Dimension Implementation Meetings is significant because of the high status the OSCE extends to civil society groups, which are on equal footing with participating nation states. In practice, this means they have the right to speak in the plenary, a status not granted by other international organizations.

Among the hundreds of conference participants this year’s Human Dimension Meetings was a group of seven freedom-of-speech activists from Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany and the United States. They represented civil society groups Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa, the International Civil Liberties Alliance, theStresemann Foundation and ACT! for America. Their primary objective was to draw attention to (and confront) the growing Islamization of the West.

Many OSCE member countries, which lack First Amendment protections for freedom of speech like those in the United States, have already enacted hate-speech laws that effectively serve as proxies for the all-encompassing blasphemy legislation the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is seeking to impose on the West as a whole.

Consider Austria, where an appellate court recently upheld the politically correct conviction of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, for “denigrating religious beliefs” after she gave a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam. The ruling showed that while Judaism and Christianity can be disparaged with impunity in postmodern multicultural Austria, speaking the truth about Islam is subject to swift and hefty legal penalties.

Sabaditsch-Wolff represented the civil liberties group Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa at this year’s Human Dimensions Implementation Meeting. On the second day of the conference, the BPE provided conference participants with a history lesson about the greatest achievement of the OSCE (previously known as the CSCE), which occurred at the height of the Cold War during the Helsinki Process, when the Soviet Union was cajoled into accepting the term “human rights” for the first time.

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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One Response to “Muslim Countries Seek to Restrict Free Speech Globally”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great article! Completely true.

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