Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Afghan War, the UN and Islam.

Recently I received this email from CFI (Center for Inquiry in Amherst NY):
Last week (March 26/09) the United Nations Human Rights Council has handed another victory to Islamic states in their decade-long push to limit freedom of expression out of “respect” for religious beliefs. A new Council resolution decries a “campaign of defamation of religions” in which “the media” and “extremist organizations” are “perpetuating stereotypes about certain religions and sacred persons,” and urges UN member states to provide redress “within their respective legal and constitutional systems.” Capitalizing on concerns about racial profiling and discrimination in the era of the war on terror, the language conflates criticism of Islam with anti-Muslim bigotry and seeks to stifle peaceful speech in the name of “dialogue” and “diversity.”.....

“The concept of ‘defamation of religions’ is both absurd and dangerous.” said Ronald A. Lindsay, CFI’s president and chief executive officer. “Legally speaking, it’s gibberish, and any ban on so-called ‘defamation’ would effectively prevent any critique of religious beliefs or practices.” In the opinion of a broad range of civil society organizations, these pronouncements do nothing but lend legitimacy to the repression of political and religious dissent around the world, particularly in Islamic countries. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, for example, which carry mandatory sentences of death or life imprisonment, are frequently used against members of the Ahmaddiya community, a peaceful minority Muslim sect.

Through its UN representative, Dr. Austin Dacey, CFI participated in the negotiations over the resolution during the March session of the Council in Geneva, and delivered an oral statement before the plenary meeting on March 24. Most worrisome, according to CFI, is that the present language equates religiously insulting speech with “advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence,” a category of speech that is prohibited by existing treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which have the force of law. “Now the argument becomes very awkward for Europe,” said Dacey, “since many European states have laws against hate speech, Holocaust denial, and even blasphemy (for example, in Austria) that have been upheld by their regional human rights courts. The Islamic states will say they simply want to extend the same protection to all beliefs.”

Yes its true that the above resolution has no "teeth", but ask Salman Rushdie about the "fatwa" that was issued against him 20 years ago. Did he fear for his life? In light of the above, the recent news of the "Talibanization" of Afghan President Hamid Karzai is troubling. Karzai approved a new Afghan law that effectively removes the rights of girls and women (as per orthodox Islamic law) including the legalization of rape within marriage. So this is what Canadian and NATO troops are fighting to uphold in Afghanistan. This is the democracy that has cost Canada over 100 lives and billions of dollars.

So lets see, to criticize the Muslim faith is blasphemy, and to fight for the Afghans so that they may practice their own form of democracy which is repugnant to us what we are doing. Dumb eh?

Do we need another excuse to say goodbye and good riddance to Afghanistan? I think its past time to cut our losses and bring the troops home, and by the way, it may be time to rethink our membership in the UN, as blasphemous as that sounds.

One last though. Its interesting that in recent weeks both Harper and Obama have been talking less about winning in Afghanistan and more about keeping the lid on it. Do you think that Karzai sees the writing on the wall and it may be time for him to warm up to the Taliban in order to survive after the good guys have left? This is realpolitik in action.

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