The UN is Appeasing Muslims - AgainMy translation of this article in the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, via Antipsykopatisk Senter:
FN bekymret over profet-tegninger
UN Concerned over Prophet Cartoons
by Ole Damkjær
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights understands the concern in Muslim countries over the 12 cartoons of the prophet Muhammad and expects UN experts on racism to deal with the matter. At the same time as Islamic countries in a meeting in Mecca are going to discuss joint action against Denmark, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has involved herself in the discussion.
The leader of the UN's work on human rights is saying in plain words that she is concerned over the drawings that Jyllands-Posten printed in September, expressing "apologies" for statements and actions demonstrating a lack of respect for the religion of other people. In a letter to the 56 member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), she states: "I understand your concerns and would like to emphasize that I regret any statement or act that could express a lack of respect for the religion of others". In a complaint to the High Commissioner, the 56 Islamic governments have asked Louise Arbour to raise the matter with the Danish government "to help contain this encroachment on Islam, so the situation won't get out of control." Two UN experts, on religous freedom and on racism and xenophobia, are said to be working on the case. The Islamic governments have expressed satisfaction with the reply from Louise Arbour.
Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has stated that he neither can nor wants to interfere in the freedom of speech of Danish media, has confirmed that he is aware of the letter to the UN High Commissioner, but has got no comment to it.
According to the director of the Danish Center for Human Rights, Morten Kjærum, the attitude of the High Commissioner is "by the book.""The concern of the High Commissioner reflects that the ban on discrimination is one of the most important and general within human rights law, because we know how disastrous it is when different groups are pitted against one another,« says Morten Kjærum.
Mohammed cartoonists on Arabic meeting agenda
The episode concerning twelve Danish cartoonists who were hired to draw caricatures of the prophet Mohammed for the daily Jyllands-Posten continues to cause unrest in the Muslim world. Today 56 Islamic countries are holding a top meeting in Mecca in Saudi Arabia, and on the agenda is a discussion of a united front against Denmark. Also the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has involved herself in the discussion. She has written a letter to the 56 Muslim countries expressing her apologises for the lack of respect for others religion that the episode has caused. She has also asked the UN's racism experts to look at the case. Prime Minster Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was aware of the Commissioner's letter but decline to comment further.
UNCHR: Protecting Religion– Specifically Islam
In an astonishing move on 12 April 2005, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) moved from promoting respect for human rights to promoting "respect for all religions and their value systems". On Tuesday 12 April 2005, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) passed Human Rights Resolution 2005/3 entitled, "Combating Defamation of Religions". Islam On Line (IOL) reported it this way: "The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted on Tuesday, April 12, a resolution calling for combating defamation campaigns against Islam and Muslims in the West." IOL quotes Cuba's delegate who claimed that Islam has been the subject of a "very deep campaign of defamation". The resolution was pushed forward by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). It was put under Agenda Item 6 that deals with racism and all forms of discrimination." The OIC nations managed to gain majority support and the resolution was passed this year. Khan reports that the United States, United Kingdom and Israel were amongst those nations that voted against the resolution. Russia and China voted in favour while India was among those who abstained.
UN refugee commissioner warns Denmark
The United Nations High Commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres has warned Denmark against closing its borders to poor refugees, during a visit to Copenhagen yesterday. His comments came after the Employment Minster Claus Hjort Frederiksen, suggested that Denmark should stop immigration of persons from Somali, Palestine, Iran and Iraq as they place to heavy a burden upon society due to their poor education. The Minster was praised by the Danish Prime Minister for starting a necessary debate, though he admitted it would be against international law if Denmark began screening refugees and immigrants after which country they came from. The High Commissioner emphasised at a press conference that some politicians and the media are responsible for creating a problem which does not exist as they are lumping together refugees, economic immigrants and even terrorists.
Death threats and a bounty on the heads of illustrator
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned Danish travellers to Pakistan of increased hazard after a Danish newspaper's decision to publish cartoons of Muslim prophet Mohammed escalated into a bounty being placed on the heads of the cartoonists. Daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoon drawings of Mohammed in September, sparking angry reactions from Denmark's Muslim population and a number of Muslim countries. A bounty of DKK 50,000 had been put on the head the cartoonist responsible for the drawings, daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende reported on Friday. The Pakistani group offering the reward mistakenly believes that the 12 cartoons were created by just one person.
Islam vs. Free Speech: The Case of Denmark
As an expression of solidarity, you can send in this draft message:
I would hereby like to express my support for the newspaper Jyllands-Posten publishing cartoons of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Freedom of speech is the lifeblood of a democratic society, and cannot be tampered with. Muslims in Denmark freely exercise this right, even to say things that people in Denmark find greatly offensive. A leading Danish mufti in 2004 said that Danish women not wearing the veil “were asking for rape.” Another imam wanted to import the sharia concept of blood money to Denmark, and pay the equivalent of 100 camels for a man’s life. If Muslims in Denmark think these are acceptable statements, they cannot by any right claim to be offended by a few simple drawings. At least not if they really mean that Islam is compatible with Western democracy. Jyllands-Posten should know that this case is being followed by individuals from all around the world, and that you have the support of thousands of people who don’t want to see their freedom slip away. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen should also be commended for his clear and principled stand in this case, as Dutch ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out. In an age where too many political leaders shy away from defending the basic values of our societies, it serves to Denmark’s credit to have a leader who still possesses a backbone.
I would also like to condemn the actions made by the ambassadors of several Muslims countries in this case, and those of Turkey in particular. The behavior of the Turkish government is incompatible with that of a nation with a desire to become a part of a Western community such as the EU. If Turkey thinks that the EU shouldn’t be a Christian club, than Turkey should respond in kind by withdrawing from all “Islamic clubs” such as the OIC. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has earlier stated that anti-Islamism should be viewed as a ”crime against humanity”, has pushed for criticism of Islam to be treated as racism within the EU and is now backing an effort to curtail the freedom of speech of the citizens of an EU nation. These actions are not those of a secular politician such as Ataturk, but more closely mirror the attitude of the Ottoman sultans of old. They indicate that a Turkey within the EU would threaten the freedom of European citizens, and clearly demonstrate that Turkey is not yet ready to become a part of the European community.
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