I went to listen to the head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Secretary Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, deliver a speech on his views about Islam’s future in Europe, as well as to see who would show up. I’m curious that way.
While waiting outside the building for the doors to open, I had a chance to exchange some words with a fellow concerning the upcoming seminar, but the conversation quickly became centered on his views concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and how ending it would usher in a new era of peace solving in the region, which, according to anonymous gentleman, would also help defuse the current conflict between Islam and the West.
The panel included the heads of the UPI, Raimo Väyryen and the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, as well as Dr.Marko Juntunen, Ph.D in philosophy. After a brief introduction by the UPI spokesman, OIC Sec-Gen Ihsanoglu took the floor and began his speech by first flipping through the well used stack of notes sitting in front of him, until he found something that caught his interest. Apparently he’s delivered the same speech in a variety of different ways, but what choice morsels would he pick for his Finnish audience?
Talking points for the discussion that evening.
It’s only of late that Islam has made an incredible entrance into Europe, but that has more to do with European political elitism, and the EU’s policy of seeking a counter-balance to US foreign policy than anything positive Islam itself has to offer. Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia provides the details. The OIC Secretary General had alot to say about how Europe is indebted to Islam, by taking us through his guided tour of European history in an attempt to co-opt every every postive aspect of European culture and its technological advances in every department.
Towards the end of the evening there was an answer and question period in which I was able to both comment and offer a question of my own. I took exception to the OIC Secretary General’s understanding of the Mohamed cartoon crisis, and took him to task. I stated in my own words as well as quoting from an op-ed that appeared in the J’lem Post by Gerald Steinberg:
“I must take exception to the remarks by OIC Sec-Gen Ihsanoglu, that “there is no such thing as the right to insult.” Contrary to what the Secretary-General says, Freedom of speech does in fact mean the right to insult. Regardless of how tasteless it may be, it is a crucial, integral part of freedom of speech, one simply can’t survive without the other.Also, while it’s understandable that professor Ihsanoglu presents the Organization of the Islamic Council in the best light possible, I find it necessary however, to bring to light some of the troublesome aspects of the OIC itself and its agenda, that Sec-Gen Ihsanoglu is unwilling to touch.While the OIC presents itself as being concerned with human rights as well as being a bridge for peace and understanding to the non-Muslim world, many of its own member states are the chief violators of human rights and promoters of the vilest forms of anti-Semitism seen since the rise and fall of National Socialism in Germany, during the 30’s and the 40’s. The evidence is undeniable, it’s a fact which has led the US House of Representatives to approve Resolution 1361 adopted on Sept. 23 of this year, with the expressed aim, and I quote:“defeating the campaign by some members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to divert the United Nation’s Durban Review Conference from a review of problems in their own and other countries, by attacking Israel, promoting anti-Semitism, and undermining the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”So my question to professor Ihsanoglu is: In light of the US Congress resolution, Can OIC sec-Gen offer his own personal assurances that the O I C is not going to use the conference, to attack Israel, as well as focusing on global blasphemy, which “would legitimize arbitrary restrictions of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the freedoms of expression and opinion, all in the name of protecting religions from ‘defamation’ and ‘blasphemy.?
The OIC Secretary General’s response, was to refuse to honestly address the issues I raised, choosing rather to categorically reject, out of hand, the fact that OIC member states engage in the worst forms of anti-Semitism, with a simple minded disingenuous response: I quote:
OIC Sec-Gen Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu: “Well there are many other things to speak of..I don’t know what you mean by eh…this person asked me, “What is the alternative to Islamism?” I don’t know anything called Islamism, I know Islam, in fact I don’t know what Islamism is. Now, coming to the very important question, addressed by the last person, sir you are under the wrong impression.Tundra Tabloids: How so?Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu: We are not anti-Semitic, (unclear) believing in moderacy and decency as part of my belief, my doctrine, I am a Muslim, and when I pray, I pray for all prophets including Moses, Jesus and Mohamed. So you cannot speak about any Muslim, good or bad, as anti-Semitic, this is a theory, this is not the case.Now coming to the Durban Conference, We have to, for those who follow these issues. The Human Rights Council in Geneva has been issuing resolutions related to the defamation of religions and the protection against hatred. This is the Human Rights Council, and the Human Rights Council mandated to discuss this, and there are certain rapporteurs appointed by the High Commission. They do the report and according to this report they accept or refuse this resolution. This is the framework, legal framework.When it comes to OIC’s position, I have to tell you our group there is very active, and we’re proud of it. But we being active there, we say, to European countries who are members of this, eh, and other Western countries of this commission, the Council, the Human Rights Council, “Please, lets work together…please lets work together”.We are not anti-Christian, we are not anti-Semitic, we are not anti-anybody. but we are anti-insult, we are anti-defamation, we are anti-abusing the freedom. The freedom sir, does not mean insulting, this is not acceptable, this is incitement to hatred on a religious basis, on a racial basis is prohibited by international convention.If you say that this publishing of the cartoons is still a matter of freedom of expression…Tundra Tabloids: Yes it is.Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu: I must then as you one question, why did the same newspaper refuse, the same editor who allwed these uncivilized cartoons, “on my prophet”, why he did not allow publishing a similar cartoon on Jesus Christ? The same newspaper?I’m against any cartoon, impolite, against any prophet, against any revered symbol of any religion. I have to repsect that this is part of my doctrine. But I’m asking a question, when he refuses one on Jesus and accept, and even solicit and provoke and make a competition and then publish them. Why?Here I think we have a little problem, not freedom, but a problem, it’s not a problem it’s a matter of morality which is (unclear) it’s public morality.
OIC Sec-Gen Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu: “Well there are many other things to speak of..I don’t know what you mean by eh…this person asked me, “What is the alternative to Islamism?” I don’t know anything called Islamism, I know Islam, in fact I don’t know what Islamism is.
Andrew Bostom: At least he got this right: “I don’t know anything called Islamism, I know Islam, in fact I don’t know what Islamism is.”
NOTE: The UPI does not mention the TT’s comments and question to the OIC sec-gen at all.
In one of his landmark essays, von Grunebaum made clear what he termed the “ ultimate impenetrability” of Islam to Western ideas, in particular, “objectivization of experience and its interpretation as a rational system.”
This was never achieved in Islam, as even during the so-called halcyon era of Muslim intellectual achievement, in the late Middle Ages, the Islamic orthodoxy, von Grunebaum notes, “… in self-defense was prepared unhesitatingly to narrow down the scope of the Muslim experience by pushing Hellenizing philosophy and the natural sciences to the periphery…”