In the ‘Resistance is futile’ category, OIC chairman explains that he is tired of hijacking multi-faith conferences people objecting to being subjected to the sharia worldwide. That its time to take action on ‘islamophobia’.
Again, for those who followed the OIC brief by Maj Coughlin, they would see how the date of this video, Jun 28, 2011, conforms quite well with his timeline for OIC influence operations and plans to do an end run around, for one thing, the US 1st amendment.
Transcript below the fold:
EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU – ISLAMOPHOBIA AND OIC’s MISSION
At the Rumi Forum
June 28 2011
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’m very pleased to be here once more. As before, I’ve been asked to speak about Islamophobia and the OIC. Islamophobia is an old phenomenon. A new name for old phenomenon. And today, we see different manifestations of this phenomenon. In different parts of the world. And particularly, in the West. The difference between the manifestation of Islamophobia in Europe and in America. Islamophobia is taking a new trend here in America after 9-11. But, of course, it has its roots before 9-11. In Europe, it has been always there, but after the fall of Berlin Wall, Islam was reinvented or revisited as the enemy, the potential enemy of Europe and the West where the mechanisms of defense and the balance of equilibrium should be strike to sustain the vigor and dynamism of the West against a given enemy. And Islam was chosen to be the enemy to substitute communism. It is very strange to see that old feelings, bad feelings which comes from middle ages, and which has been reintroduced as new ideas about Islam. And we were astonished to see scholars writing books about these issues and putting old wine in new bottles. I would like to suffice myself by one small quotation from President Clinton when he said that the danger of Islamophobia in Europe has reached the level of the danger of antisemitism in 1930s. And I think this is the best way to express that. It went to the point that last year in a European country which was a former colonial power people desecrated the tombs of Senegalese soldiers who died for the flag of that country during the First World War in the army of that colonial power. Sometimes fighting their fellow brethren, Muslims.
So when they died and they put in the cemeteries in that country, now we find people go there, Europeans, and desecrate this. As if these people were the conquerors to the land, not the defenders who sacrificed their lives. So the phenomenon of Islamophobia is really rampant and nowadays by the rise of the right wing political parties and the rise of the right wing, the new fascists, the new Nazis, the racists political movements, they all target Islam and the Muslims as an enemy. The political movements which appeal to the far right, to the marginal groups, to attract their votes, these political movements are picking up in Europe. This is why I foresee that the Islamophobia will be more of a threat to the Muslims in Europe and this country. Luckily, in this country, president Obama knew this course had changed to a certain extent these feelings. Which were baseless. Because as I was alluding to in one of my – in my speech yesterday in the Institute of Peace in the United States, in that attack against the Trade Center and Oklahoma, which was perpetrated by some American citizen, was first attributed to a Muslim, to a Jordanian. And then later on, immediately, people started saying, this is a Muslim who did it. So this prejudice tells – and that was, I think in 1995 or ’96. So far before the 9-11 events. We in the OIC, of course, the publication of this uncivilized, rude, unpolite Danish caricatures of our prophet, peace be upon him, were the apex of this Islamophobic trends. I must say that the indifference by the Danish government, insensitivity by some European powers, to this publication and just consider it a matter of freedom of expression, not a matter of respect and consideration for others, that this stance has created a lot of anger and reaction in the world – in the Muslim world. Now let me tell you that in OIC we were dealing with this issue very closely from day one I became secretary-general. And we established an observatory for Islamophobia. Which started to monitor the different cases and events related to Islamophobia in the West.
And then this observatory started to compile a report, annual report, on Islamophobia and until today, we have published two annual reports. A report of 2008 and 2009. And for those who are interested to see these reports, they are available on our website. Plus there’s a window of the observatory on our website where it’s very full up, every day, every week, the activities and the publication of this observatory, which I think is very important. And if you are interested in interacting with the Islam – the observatory, you’re welcome to that. Now let me – the last part of my brief introduction, dwell on what we try to do internationally. We have tried very hard through the general assembly of the United Nations and Human Rights Council in – Human Rights Council in Geneva, to find a joint ground with Europeans to combat this Islamophobia. To try and invite people to abide with the international rules, with ethics, with the – invite them to be responsible in their way of exercising their freedom. We have exhausted all arguments. But unfortunately, many European countries, particularly where the right wing is in power, they are neglecting this. Overlooking this. Because they made Islamophobia. Even some of these countries, which I will not name, made OIC a domestic issue for political bargaining. And we have seen this in the review of Durban Agreement in Geneva last summer.
I have to say that we have noticed since just last year a positive development in the American position. And I had contacts this year and last year with American high responsibles who are in charge of this file. And we can say that we find better understanding and cooperation with the United States of America vis a vis this issue. And we acknowledge that major media in this country are more responsible than their counterparts in some European countries. And that shows the sensibility and the sense of responsibility when one exercise his own right of freedom of expression. The 1965 convention on civic and political rights, which was adopted and ratified by many countries, but almost all countries of the world, stipulates in article 19 and article 20 that no freedom could be used to instigate hatred based on religion, gender, race, or whatever. What we are trying to do is to invite people to be responsible. And to use their freedom of expression, freedom of thought, not to insult us. This is the basic language we are really trying to – and on this note, I can say that we have managed to, to a certain extent, to achieve some of respect and I think some countries in the West, in Europe, have learned the lesson where they are, themselves, are more responsible than it was the case in 2005. Thank you.
J. SALEH WILLIAMS:
Asalaam alekum. Good morning, Mr. Secretary. I’m J. Saleh Williams. I’m with the Congressional Muslim Staff Association. I want to just thank you first and the OIC and its representatives here in the United States and New York, how they’ve reached out to the Muslim Staff Association in dialogue in how to increase relations between the OIC and our representative government here in the United States. I have a question. How is, in combating Islamophobia, globally but also here particularly in the United States, one way is for leadership, particularly from the president and Congress to openly engage Muslims in America and throughout the world and create constructive, positive relationships, which will counter – I see the vast majority of Americans who are neither Islamophobic, but not necessarily also have a positive disposition, they’re just learning, we’ll never fully gain, you know, the trust of everyone, but that’s not the objective. But constructive engagements always a strong way to convince the masses who are trusting in leadership that the Muslim community, domestically, internationally, are partners with the United States. And so I want to know how is the OIC promoting this type of engagement, particularly seizing the opportunity with president Obama’s Ankara speech and the Cairo speech and how is OIC maybe helping to promote or massage forward some of the initiatives that the president outlined particularly in the Cairo speech?
Well, we have been keen to do that for the last four years. And we have organized here a major symposium with Georgetown University. And the proceeding of this meeting has been published, temporally publication by al-Aweed [PH] Center. And then the book on Islamophobia will be published soon by Oxford University Press. Apart from this, we have been engaged with the Department of State. On this issue as I alluded. During the previous administration and now with the new administration. The main issue here, I think, is to deal with Islamophobia, we have to know that the people in this country are different than in other Western countries. This is a society of immigrants. And immigrants have this kind of solidarity among themselves. And they welcome newcomers. So we don’t feel these bad feelings. Some bad feelings in different frameworks, social frameworks. Here, a different framework and different psychology, mentality. The old settlers welcomed the newcomers. This is why Islamophobia has no root in this country. So I think it could be dealt more easily. It needs, as you refer to, working on the grass roots. And working with the grass roots needs societies, NGOs, pioneering personalities, and, of course, political parties. We have – then, the Muslims in this country need to engage with all this. They need to engage with legislators. We all understand that president Obama’s Cairo speech, Ankara speech, his speeches before that, inauguration day speech, all these speeches has created a new environment, a new – a positive, a new psychology. And we have to make use of that. We don’t know how far that will go. But we have to seize the opportunity. And I think institutions like [UNCLEAR] like CAIR, like others, ISNA, and many others, you’re more aware about them than me, they can do a lot.
J. SALEH WILLIAMS:
I just want one small, short follow up. President – former President Bush made an appointment to Mr. Chumbar [PH] to be the OIC special envoy at the very end of his tenure, his term. Miss Farah Pandith was recently appointed special representative for State Department to Muslim global communities. But she’s been very clear that her mandate is not to be a proxy for the OIC special envoy. Would the OIC, had they made any statement to the State Department that they would like to see a special envoy again appointed? Would that be constructive? Thank you.
Well, I think President Bush’s decision to appoint a special envoy was very wise and timely decision. And [UNCLEAR] has been – and Dr. Rice has been in touch with me from those days. And that consultations resulted with the appointment of Sada Kumbar [PH] Though he has stayed in his office very short period, but he started very energetic way and he, in a short period, make a positive contribution. Now with the new administration, of course, he resigned because it was a political appointment. And according to the rule, he had to resign. We are aware that the administration is about choosing a new name to be special envoy. We’ve been told that Mrs. Farah – or Mrs. Pandith appointment was not for the position of special envoy and that was the official statement as well. And now we have – we know that the search is about to end for the new name and we are looking forward to that.
Yeah. Asalaam alekum. I’m Radwa Azir [PH] a visiting scholar at [UNCLEAR] University. I have two questions. The first one, when you elected [UNCLEAR] to the OIC, there was a big hope about reform inside the organization. How to see the reform right now, especially you cannot change any of the organization at the last meeting in Jeddah. And this second question related to the first one, you mention about OIC, it was prepared many declarations about the human rights in Islam. And do you see any implements for this declarations inside the Islamic countries or if OIC has some policy toward that? Thank you.
Thank you for the question. Of course, we started the reform from day one. And now we’re ending our fifth year and in all these five years the reform campaign went very well. We have changed a lot in just the entire structure, new departments, new administrations, of course, the big change in the staff. We have more qualified people who have long enigmatic experience, academic experiences, public service experiences, which we elect at the very beginning. Now we – and we are expanding our activities. We have – when I start, we have two offices. One in Geneva and one in New York. Now we opened an office in Baghdad to deal with the situation there. And we are opening an office in Brussels for – to be accredited to the EU. And we will soon open an office in Somalia to follow up the crisis there. And of course we have reformed the news agency, IINA, the Fiqh Academy, critically it was reformed. And many other OIC institutions.
But more important than that, that OIC had in the first time in its history the blueprint, a blueprint for reform and development. Not only reforming OIC, but reforming or reshaping, reshuffling, the concept of OIC. To have a new concept. New concept of OIC can be summarized in two words. Solidarity and action. To achieve solidarity among member countries. Not by taking resolutions and decisions and saying in nice words and repeating the old rhetorics about brotherhood and solidarity. Not doing that. But doing projects and programs, implementing them to help different Muslim countries in their struggle to progress in a socioeconomic way. And you can look to our website and see the ten year program of action and you can follow from different channels, particularly our website, about our activities, different activities. This is the first point. Second point is the reform of charter. The charter, the old charter was made in early 70s. OIC was about twenty-five, twenty-seven countries. It was a totally different world. And that charter was really burdened for OIC to open its horizons and progress. From day one, I tried to do that. And I’m glad to tell you that in a record time, we have changed the charter from A to Z. And that charter was unanimously adopted in Dakar in 2008. It took us two years to work out the charter. And this has never happened in any other international organization, the charter being changed in such short period. I advise you to read the charter. Again, it is available on the website. You will see that it’s speaking a different language. Speaks about human rights. Speaks about woman rights. Speaks about democracy, good governance. And many values which our nations aspire to achieve. So we are working on that. We continue on this. Built in the ten year program of action and built in the charter, establishment of new, independent, permanent commission for human rights. To safeguard and promote human rights within OIC countries. Our next challenge is to do that. And we’re working on it. I think we’re coming to – this will be last question, because I have another engagement.
Yes. Yes, thank you. My name is Edward Allum [PH] I’m a professor of philosophy at a Catholic university near Beirut in Lebanon. We had a series of conferences on the common word, Christian and Muslim philosophers. I was wondering about that document. Just if, first of all, if – you were a signatory, I understand. If your signature was in your own name or in the name of the OIC. I was just wondering that. And then, at the conference, we had speculated about the dynamics that led up to the document. If you could speak just a little bit to that. And then finally, if – are there any plans, since a precedent was established, for this sort of document or are there any plans for a similar document in the future? Thank you.
Well, I don’t think we need more documents. We had enough documents. And we have a long experience of interfaith, interculture dialogue. Maybe one word or [UNCLEAR] maybe it’s the best. But I have my opinion on these things which is an opinion after experience. That these exercises are good academic exercises. Or bad academic exercises. Here, the one you referred to is a very good academic exercise. I don’t think we need more academic exercises. What we need is political exercises. The dialogue for the sake of dialogue has proven to be – in the time of need – is not working. When you have a problem, you face a challenge where you need this support for your cause, which is part of the agreed or common ideas, and you tell those who you have been engaged in that dialogue, come and help me, they said, well, inshallah, [UNCLEAR] So we have to rethink it. My proposal, my short recipe for that says that we need to have a well-defined objective. Number one. What would be the objective of such exercise or exercises. We should have definition. And this definition of objective should be agreed upon. By all parties to the interfaith. Number one. Number two, there should be an agenda agreed by parties and this agenda should be progressive agenda. That you start from A, you go to B, C to D and then until you reach the objective. This is number two. Number three, this dialogue should not be only by religious leaders or academicians. It should have political support and there should be political will behind it. If you don’t have this political will, all these exercises will end with nice meetings, exchange of good wishes. And then, at the best, it will end with good or bad work. And I think I would not waste my time and my energy and more religious time on such academic exercise. Cause I spent twenty-five years of mine doing the first one. So I don’t want to spend that. If I will be a party of that, I will go according to the recipe, which I explained to you. And this is what I advise. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Thank you.