In Europe today, it is what goes unacknowledged and un-commemorated that reveals the trouble we are in.
There are plenty of public campaigns and calls by politicians to demonstrate “awareness” of things that are either non-existent problems or second-order problems. Earlier this year, for instance, the President of Austria came up with an eye-catching initiative. Addressing the ban on women wearing full-face coverings in public places, Alexander van der Bellen, the former leader of the Green Party, said:
“If this real and rampant Islamophobia continues, there will come a day where we must ask all women to wear a headscarf — all — out of solidarity to those who do it for religious reasons.”
That day has not yet come. Non-Muslim women across Austria have not yet all been asked to wear the headscarf in solidarity with Muslim women who wear the headscarf. But it is possible that they will be asked to do so in the near future, whenever the President of Austria or another senior figure decides that “Islamophobia” has become even more “rampant” and that this requires all the women of Austria to cover their heads. By contrast, after real and deadly attacks on women across Europe, nobody knows precisely what to do.
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This study will likely result in more restrictions upon the freedom of speech in Canada, for note that the “anti-Islamophobia” motion M-103 states “that extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam,” a claim that is often made in order to foreclose upon any honest analysis of the motivating ideology behind jihad terrorism. This whole initiative is based upon the false assumption that “Islamophobia,” that is, suspicion of Islam or Muslims, is caused by “bigots” indulging in “hate speech,” when actually it is caused by jihad terrorists. If Iqra Khaled and her colleagues really want to combat “Islamophobia,” they will strengthen counterterror measures, and begin study of how jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism. But they’re not going to do that; they’re purposefully looking at this problem from the wrong way around, revealing that the real objective is to crush dissent from the government’s line on Islam and terrorism.
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In Istanbul, in October 2013, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, financed by dozens of Muslim countries that themselves shamelessly persecute Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus, demanded that Western countries put an end to freedom of expression where Islam was concerned, charging that the religion had been represented too negatively as a faith that oppresses women and that proselytizes aggressively. The signatories’ intention was to make criticism of the religion of the Koran an international crime.
This demand arose at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban as early as 2001 and would be reaffirmed almost every year. UN special rapporteur for racism Doudou Diene, in a 2007 report to the organization’s Human Rights Council, decries Islamophobia as one of the “most serious forms of the defamation of religions.” In March of that year, the Human Rights Council had equated this type of defamation to racism, pure and simple, and demanded that all mockery of Islam and its religious symbols be banned. This was a double ultimatum. The first goal was to impose silence on Westerners, who were guilty of colonialism, secularism, and seeking equality between men and women. The second, even more important, aim was to forge a weapon of enforcement against liberal Muslims, who dared to criticize their faith and who called for reform of family laws and for equality between the sexes, for a right to apostatize and to convert, and for a right no longer to believe in God and not to observe Ramadan and other rites. Such renegades must face public condemnation, in this imperative, so as to block all hope of change.
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