The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is a familiar character here at the Tundra Tabloids, who managed to piss off the OIC’s official propagandist during his time in Helsinki.
The Tundra Tabloids was more than happy to oblige, because every time this imbecile opens his mouth, he reveals the true face of Islam. He is the Counter-Jihad’s ‘poster boy’, so to speak, whose speeches and interviews only serves to help our cause.
The more Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu speaks, the more he shocks, disgusts, and gets people to roll in the aisles and laugh till their sides ache. So the next time the Counter-Jihad’s own poster boy, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu comes to town, invite him in for a talk, make sure the video is rolling and the sound is catching every word!
Now, straight from the “you just have to read or hear to believe it” file, is the OIC’s Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, in his own words in an interview conducted by the Jyllands-Posten, the paper that published the dreaded pictures of Mo. Crack open a bottle of the best brew or uncork a good vintage of wine, and kick back and read his best lines, they really are a treat! They’ll have you rolling in the aisle!
Today’s Zaman: The secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Eklemeddin İhsanoğlu, has told a Danish newspaper that Western institutions which deal with Islamophobia agree that hatred against Islam and Muslims is worse than racial discrimination.
Incitement to religious hatred is a new form of racism, and Western institutions dealing with Islamophobia are unanimous in saying that the phenomenon of Islamophobia is worse than racial discrimination,” he stated in a recent written interview with the Danish Jyllands-Posten daily. İhsanoğlu stressed that discrimination is discrimination whether on religious or racial grounds. İhsanoğlu also clearly expressed that the OIC is neither against criticism of religion nor is it calling for a ban on any criticism of religion.
The full text of the written interview with the questions of Jyllands-Posten, a copy of which was also sent to Today’s Zaman, is as follows:
Can you explain why you believe that criticism of religion can be defined as racism?
First of all, let me be very clear on one point. We are neither against criticism of religion nor do we call for a ban on criticizing religion. The history of religions, including Islam, is a history of criticism and debate which has led to the formation of different sects and schools of thought. These debates have always been there at the academic, scholarly or theological level. As for debates which are conducted at the level of public opinion, we have no problem with any criticism, as long as they are objective, fair and conducted in a responsible manner.
[TT: Here he opens up with a salvo that spins the truth on its ear. NO ONE criticizes Islam, and lives to tell about it. period. Other religions, yes, Islam, no. Of course he has a problem with criticism, that’s why he wants it banned!]
The problems start when the religious beliefs of individuals belonging to any religion or venerated religious figures, i.e., prophets, whether Muhammad, Jesus or Moses, are ridiculed, denigrated or targeted with campaigns of insults with apparent or declared intent to incite hatred against the followers of this or that religion. I am quite surprised to see in the Danish press insinuations that I and the OIC are opponents of freedom of expression, endeavoring to stifle this freedom by calling for a ban on the criticism of religion.
[TT: What brass, the man is clearly defining his opinion that the rights of the gods outweigh the rights of man, then he has the nerve to wonder why he is considered to be an opponent of free speech]
Everybody is entitled to criticize anybody or anything. How it is done is completely up to one’s own norms, values and style of expressing his or her ideas. We have no problem whatsoever with this. However, when the freedom of expression is abused to ridicule and demonize, with the intention of sowing seeds of hatred against a group of people or citizens, then problems begin because the rights of the victims of these incitements come to the fore. It is not only the OIC and I who express this belief.
I believe that many Western dignitaries, including the UN secretary-general and the UN high representative for the Alliance of Civilizations have expressed the same opinion. Moreover, the international community has given its frank endorsement to this opinion, through resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council, passed with large majorities. Thus we can say that this opinion is the opinion of the international community and is internationally legitimate.
[TT: Ishanoglu contradicts himself in the first paragraph, he graciously allows us the privilege to criticize, but if we ridicule, eh..criticize, then we run afoul. The fact that western leaders are giving him lip service isn’t a validation of his point, but a dark warning that people who should know better, are willing to throw our liberties under the bus.]
Can you give an example of the kind of criticism that should be defined as racism?
We believe that incitement to religious hatred is a new form of racism. Western institutions dealing with Islamophobia are unanimous in saying that the phenomenon of Islamophobia is worse than racial discrimination. In practical terms, in many instances it is difficult to determine what constitutes incitement to religious or racial hatred, which are both proscribed as against international human rights.
For example, when a Muslim immigrant is discriminated against or physically attacked by extremists, the causes could be on either racial or religious grounds, or both. The daily attacks, either physical or verbal, against Muslims throughout the West are the proof of the negative effect of hate speech campaigns which have resulted in an eroding of the human rights of those Muslim victims.
[TT: Enter the unicorn. Islamophobia, the only ideology known to man that is to be relegated into the realm of race, and considered off limits. Puhleeeese! ]
We should not forget that anti-Semitism, which caused horrendous tragedies for European Jews last century, cannot be explained technically or lexically as discrimination based solely on race, since the Jews subject to the Holocaust were Europeans from different parts of the continent; it was also because of their religious affiliation. Within the same context, one should realize that the Palestinians, who have been suffering a grave tragedy for the last 60 years, are ethnically Semitic, but what happens to them is not defined as anti-Semitism.
What I am saying is that discrimination is discrimination whether on religious or racial grounds. I believe we are facing a gross campaign of disinformation on the part of some extremist quarters in the West and some European politicians who have little understanding of the matter and try to exploit the issue for domestic political gain by creating unnecessary fear of “the other.”
[TT: What nerve, he invokes antisemitism, and with the wave of the hand dismisses the fact that European Jewery are actually who they claim to be. The facts say that they are gentically linked to the ancient people of Israel.]
Why should it not be possible to criticize a religion?
In my previous answers, I have tried to explain my views about this. If I may elaborate; the criticism of religion has been there for centuries. Trying to humiliate, insult others and jeopardize their basic human rights solely over their religious beliefs, particularly in the case of Islam, which is followed by 1.5 billion people, is understood as an act which falls outside the borders of critical dialogue or civilized criticism.
Narrowing down the discussion on the freedom of expression to demanding the freedom to be able to denigrate even the most sacred religious values is neither civilized nor intellectual. Yet, at the diplomatic level, we are not even focusing on this aspect. What we are saying is that incitement to hatred should not be allowed, particularly if this specific act constitutes a crime within the parameters of international human rights documents. Article 20 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights requests governments to take measures at the national level against incitement to religious hatred.
What we are also advocating is that we should all abide not only by domestic laws and blasphemy laws, codes of conduct or ethics regulations, if they exist, but also by internationally agreed legal instruments.
[TT: See that? Especially in the case of Islam. When it’s left to religionists in Islam to define what’s offensive and what’s not, then what can critically be said will be left next to nothing. It’s that simple. Period, full stop.]
According to The Washington Post, you recently said that there is a “red line” that should not be crossed. What do you mean by that? And what will happen if the “red line” is crossed?
I think there has always been, and there should be, a “red line” for any irresponsible attitude, whether it is on the individual or group level. Nobody can deny that in the exercising of any particular freedom, one should act with a sense of responsibility. We might differ on the point where freedom stops and responsibility starts.
I would like to remind that all legal documents always strike a balance between freedoms and responsibility. With regard to the freedom of expression, the responsibility starts when there is an act of incitement to hatred proscribed by international law. It is important to recall that with the provision of freedom under human rights, it is only the freedom of expression which is linked with responsibility.
As for the red lines, I would like to say that a national flag, for example, is a sacrosanct symbol representing nationhood and sovereignty. Burning a national flag is considered a red line forbidden by law even in many Western societies. This red line should be respected by others if they want to have cordial relations with that nation. If you ask what my position was when Danish flags were burnt [after the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad] and diplomatic premises were attacked during demonstrations against Denmark in some OIC member states, I reply by saying that I was among the first who condemned these incidents as well as the violence surpassing the limits of peaceful reactions.
What we are against is not the criticism of religion per se but rather the intended objective of this criticism which, in this case, jeopardizes Muslim rights by creating an atmosphere of hostility and animosity that makes their life unsafe and strewn with prejudice. This is what international law prohibits. This would go against the values of living as a globalized human family. What humanity is in dire need of is to foster a culture of peace based on mutual respect, understanding and dialogue among civilizations and cultures.
Thanks Ishanoglu, if you remember, the Tundra Tabloids shook your hand as you arrived to the building in Helsinki from you limo, I was the guy who said, “this will be a very interesting evening”.