Islamophobia Ruse OSCE Stephen Coughlin


Working Session No 11
Tolerance and non-Discrimination I (continued):
Including Prevention and Response to Hate Crimes in the OSCE Area
And Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination,
Also Focusing on Intolerance on Religious Grounds

Warsaw, Poland
26 September 2016

Thank you madam moderator, ladies and gentlemen,
Extreme “right wing”, “hate speech”, “hate crime”, “hater” – are terms that get thrown around freely in forums like this. Of course when one hears these words, what comes to mind are Nazis, skin heads, the Ku Klux Klan and virulent anti-Semites, etc and, hence, we can agree with the concern.

As these terms tend to be used, however, they are more often directed at citizens who simply dissent from prevailing narratives that seek to brand them as haters or for being extreme right wing for the purpose of forcing them into a stereotype in furtherance of criminalizing them through their speech if they don’t conform. It is used to intimidate law-abiding citizens.

This has become the true language of stereotyping, stigmatization and discrimination – directed at citizens whose only fault is that they voice dissent from the Orwellian narratives that impose 2 + 2 = 5 as the price for being permitted the right to have a voice in a public forum.

As many in this forum seek to criminalize “haters” thus putting the power of the state behind enforcing “free expression,” it makes a mockery of the very idea of free speech and of a free citizenry. Now we see a new term emerging “message crime”.

For example: At a Side Event at the 2013 OSCE meetings here in Warsaw, we got principals to admit that Islamophobia has no core definition at the same time other OSCE forums were (and still are) advocating criminalizing Islamophobia. Among the most common responses then – as now – is that “we all know what it is”. When something means anything you want, it usually means nothing at all.

When a term that lacks a reasonably articulable definition is used to criminalize a class of citizens, it gives the state the power to intimidate citizens for any reason or no reason at all.

In a Side Event today, we again asked the question: “Can you define Islamophobia?” The answer we got was 1) Islamophobia doesn’t apply to normal disagreements, 2) that it was Islamophobic to ask the question, 3) that there would be no definition provided in that forum because 4) “we all know what it means,” and 5) that Islamophobia should be criminalized.

Why isn’t it considered a threat when someone says that “failure to designate Islamophobia a crime is detrimental to international peace”?

These “hate speech” narratives are designed to intimidate otherwise ordinary citizens. They impose a chilling effect on speech.

Unconstrained Analytics recommends that the OSCE and all participating States rethink the narratives they are so casually putting in motion on the assumption that “we all know what it means” when what it appears to mean is the suppression of dissent through intimidation under color of state authority. Thank you!

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