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Opinion

Obama's State Department has joined the Islamic assault on Western liberty

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Opinion,Op-Eds,United Nations,State Department,Islamic Jihad,Freedom of Speech,Freedom of Religion,Islam,Human Rights

Not satisfied with expunging any reference to Islam from government documents containing the word "terrorism," the Obama administration is embarking on a wider anti-free-speech policy mapped out by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Comprised of 56 countries and the Palestinian Authority, the OIC claims to speak for the world's 1.5 billion Muslims.

Clearly it does not, as Islam involves different intellectual currents. But the powerful OIC still presumes to speak for Islam in the international community.

When the UN's Universal Declaration of human rights was created in 1948, Saudi Arabia joined apartheid South Africa in rejecting it.

The Saudis found it violated Sharia, and the South Africans saw it as a threat to their racist society. Most Muslim majority states, however, supported the resolution.

Although non-binding, the UNDHR has evolved to become the foundation for international human rights. Among its basic principles are religious and gender equality.

As a more fundamentalist version of Islam has swept across the world, the OIC has strongly embraced Sharia and in Cairo, 1990, adopted its own version of human rights.

In this version, all religions are not equal and women, most certainly, are not equal to men. The OIC refers to the Cairo declaration as a declaration of human rights subordinated to Sharia, making the document the poster child for an oxymoron.

Criticism of Islam or Mohammed is prohibited by Sharia, and the penalty can include death. Apostasy is also punishable by death — as Meriam Ibrahim, a pregnant Christian woman and a convert from Islam, knows, as she awaits her execution in the Sudan.

The OIC is not satisfied with the implementation of Sharia in Muslim countries, even against non-Muslims; it wants to criminalize criticism of Islam everywhere.

Responding to free speech objections from Western Europe and the United States, the OIC went back to the drawing board and with the help of the U.S. Department of State under Secretary Hillary Clinton came up with a document -- Resolution 16/18 -- that spoke of protecting minority religions and dropped the offensive, criticism of religion, prohibition. Or so it seemed!

Once the resolution passed, the OIC had its own unique interpretation of what it meant. The civil liberties organization, BPE (Burgerbewegung Pax Europa), which believes that Islam is world's greatest threat to liberty, put it this way:

"When BPE discusses the plight of young girls and women with respect to forced marriages, violence, and/or FGM [female genital mutilation], BPE always refers to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whereas the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation refer exclusively to the Cairo declaration…." BPE sees the Cairo declaration as sustaining oppression.

The collusion between the Obama administration and the OIC was showcased at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s 2012 conference on human rights.

Participants were shocked to see Salam al-Marayati represent the United States. Al-Marayati is the founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a group the Gatestone Institute says is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

As part of its continuing stealth Shariah campaign, OIC has also been pressuring Western countries to implement blasphemy laws. Of course, they are not called that.

Instead, they refer to denigration of religion or hate speech. The prominent Austrian civil liberties advocate, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, was convicted for "denigrating religious beliefs" after she gave a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam.

In the West, a belief system has no protection from defamation, except to be defended in the free market place of ideas. The OIC, however, has recast defamation from protection of individuals to protection of ideas.

The OIC views any criticism of Islam or its practices as Islamophobia, even if substantiated by facts. And the Obama administration is lending support to this position.

Clinton was the closing speaker at the jointly sponsored OIC and Obama administration conference in Turkey where she reaffirmed the American commitment to 16/18.

Since the conference, the OIC has issued a report calling freedom of speech the cause of Islamophobia.

The threat to our liberty is not just from the OIC but also from an administration that would rather placate Islamic sensitivities than stand up for our freedoms.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati. He formerly was a faculty member at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Illinois, Urbana.
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