Article 22 of the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam states:
- Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari'a
- Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari'a.
This declaration - made by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and intended as an counter measure to the UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights - exposes the slippery slope on which Western societies tread when indulging Shari'a-based interpretations of rights and freedoms. If every such right and freedom is bounded by religious edict, then no such rights and freedoms will exist.
Accommodation without limit is in effect enslaving supplication. Any parent with a wayward histrionic child will know that. Churchill knew it. Even Roosevelt knew it. Certainly Lincoln and JFK knew it. Do our leaders (politicians, intellectuals and clergy) know it?
Apparently not. Many Western European countries (Holland, UK, France, Italy, Norway) have made allowances for these fundamental restrictions, the same restrictions that have produced deadly fatwas issued against those who propagate ideas hostile to Islam. Where does it end? Imams central to current Islamic orthodoxy (such as Qadi 'Iyad, who died in 1149) confirm that any Jew or Christian who reviles Mohammed, or commits blasphemy, should be burned or beheaded unless they convert.
Authorities in these same countries often inhibit the criticism of Islamic history and doctrine. One can easily exhibit, in the West's leading museums, Christ and Pope figures fornicating, or publish in our press cartoons of demonic Jews with Stars of David and skulls-caps feasting on Palestinian babies. Yet our media will not dare publish cartoons of Mohammed or demand an open, fear-free discussion of all the reasonable and varying interpretations of the Koran that stand as alternatives to the current immovable, literal and fundamentalist doctrine - to do so will engender an earthquake, as the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper found out.
To censor any criticism of Jihad, to disallow any open discussion thereof, is to accommodate fascist authoritarianism, anti-Semitism and anti-secularism. This supplication by its very nature is oppressive and dehumanizing. This is not what the French Revolution was about, nor the American Bill of Rights - never mind what brought Moses down from Mount Sinai.
If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that it is not pleasant for non-Muslims living in societies influenced by Sharia law. We see the ongoing burning of Coptic churches in Cairo, forced abductions and conversions of Coptic daughters, suicide bombings against the Baghdad Christian community, the de-Christianizing of Bethlehem, a simmering war on the Hindus in Kashmir, the illegality of bibles and crosses in Saudi Arabia, and Bahai's under enormous pressure in Iran. Our goal in the West should be to foster tolerance, not to make allowances for its erosion.
Until the Muslim world rejects its dominant fundamentalist ideology, until it allows a long overdue reformation in Islam, the hazards of Shari'a and the inviolability of Koranic law will remain an ominous threat to the West's ongoing freedoms, democracy and tolerance.
Leslie J. Sacks
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