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News Analysis

Expert: Islamist Org Working to Prohibit Criticism of Islam

Tue, January 15, 2013

by: 
Ryan Mauro

Deborah Weiss, Esq. is an expert on the defamation of religions U.N. resolutions set forth by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.  She writes for several online news sites and is a contributing author of the book, Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West's Fatal Embrace." 

The following is ClarionProject.org National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro’s interview with Deborah Weiss:

Ryan Mauro: What is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and what is its end goal?

Deborah Weiss: The OIC is the largest Islamic organization in the world, claiming to represent 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.  It’s comprised of 56 UN Member States plus the Palestinian Authority.  They tend to vote together as a block in the UN and are arguably the most powerful voting block in the UN as a whole.  They are certainly the most powerful voting bloc in the UN’s Human Rights Council.

Though the OIC holds itself out as a “moderate” organization, it is clear from its own documents and its concepts that it is anything but moderate.  Its long term goal is the worldwide implementation of Sharia law and the supremacy of an Islamic State.

In its immediate activities, it is working to solidify the relationships among Muslim majority countries, to unify the Muslim voice, to support the so-called “Palestinian struggle” and to restrict all speech that is critical of anything related to Muslims or Islam including Islamic terrorism and Islamic persecution of religious minorities.

Mauro:  Tell us about the OIC’s concept of “Combating Defamation of Religions” and its impact.

Deborah Weiss:  “Combating Defamation of Religions” is a concept which gives an idea or religion, in this case Islam, protection from criticism, as opposed to what we have in the American legal system which only gives defamation protections to people. 

Additionally, the OIC’s definition of defamation includes anything that sheds a negative light on Islam or Muslims, even if it’s true and even if it’s opinion.  In fact, it goes even further and condemns any free expression that would violate Islamic blasphemy laws even when, and perhaps especially when, expressed by non-Muslims.  So it’s the OIC’s attempt to pressure non-Muslims to comply with Islamic blasphemy codes.  Its target is the West and failure to comply with its demands is deemed “Islamophobic” even when no actual bigotry or prejudice is present.

The impact of putting the concept of combating defamation of religions into effect has numerous consequences and implications.

First, though it’s called “combating defamation of religions,” the OIC interprets and applies it to Islam only without any reciprocity for other religions.  In fact, the concept of protecting Islam from “defamation” is used in many OIC countries to persecute religious minorities.  The concept gives credence to Islamic blasphemy laws, which not only operate to suppress freedom of religion, but also violate human rights.  For example, in Pakistan, Ahmadiyya Muslims believe in a prophet after Mohammad. They generally have a peaceful, egalitarian interpretation of Islam.  Yet, they are considered heretics, and it is not only illegal for them to practice their faith, but it is criminal.  Merely sending out a wedding invitation with an accurate quote from the Koran can land an Ahmadiyya Muslim in jail.

Last, but not least, the implementation of the concept of combating defamation of religions has serious consequences for freedom of speech.  This is the main concern from a Western, and specifically American perspective.  The OIC as well as other Islamist organizations continue to work hard to stifle free speech.  They are constantly placing pressure on Western governments and societies to refrain from saying or dong anything that violates Islamic blasphemy codes, even though they don’t word it this way.

For example, the OIC encourages “hate-speech” laws in Europe that make it illegal to speak negatively about Islam.  And in America, though the government has thus far declined to make such speech illegal, it is enacting policies that discourage such speech even when it’s critical in protecting US national security.

Though not necessarily a direct result of the OIC’s UN resolutions, the implementation of the concept of combating defamation of religions has resulted in America’s recent cleansing of all national security training material for the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the National Counterterrorism Training Center.  National security and intelligence professionals will still learn about terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, but will be deprived of teachings regarding the underlying[Islamist] ideology, disconnecting the motivation from the terrorist behavior.  This ties one hand behind America’s back in fighting the War on Terror and is very dangerous.

Mauro: In March 2011, Secretary of State Clinton urged the OIC to “move beyond a decade-long debate over whether insults to religion should be banned or criminalized.” At the United Nations in September 2012, President Obama spoke against banning anti-Islam speech in the wake of the violence following the publicity surrounding the Innocence of Muslims YouTube video.  What is your criticism of the U.S. government’s relationship to the OIC then?

Weiss: While President Obama might have spoken out against the legal ban of anti-Islam speech, his administration has worked to implement policy bans on such speech in a way that is both unprecedented and has grave national security implications.  Whereas the National Security Strategy Memo, the guiding document for all American national security policies, previously proclaimed that radical Islam is the most dangerous ideological threat to American freedom in the 21st century, now all mention of it has been deleted.

Government agencies discourage use of the words “jihad”, “Islamist”, “caliphate” and others.  Any connection of Islamism or radical Islam to terrorism is verboten, even when the terrorists identify themselves as Islamic.  Terrorism is merely a symptom of a deeper problem, and the refusal to address the underlying ideology that motivates it makes it more difficult to identify terrorism in its early stages and more difficult to defeat it.

The OIC has a strong anti-freedom and anti-Israel agenda.  Despite this, the Obama administration works with the OIC on numerous fronts, sometimes excluding Israel from participation.

You might be interested to know, Ryan, that although Obama said we shouldn’t ban anti-Islam speech after the “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video, he also asked Google, the parent company of YouTube to check its terms and conditions to determine if the video violated them, and to remove the video if it did.  Fortunately, YouTube insisted on keeping the video posted.

As to Hillary Clinton’s comment urging the OIC to move beyond the banning or criminalization of religious insults, all I can say is that she has no authority to effectuate this in the Muslim world. The OIC must have been laughing all the way home as they exited the December 2011 State Department Istanbul Conference where Secretary Clinton promised to use the “peer pressure and shaming” to silence the speech of Americans critical of anything Islam-related.  The result of that conference brought the OIC one step closer to making their goal of criminalizing such speech a reality.

 

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.