Recently, the Pakistani delegate to the UN demanded that his job description be changed so to include the role of seeking out and publicly condemning:
“abuses of free expression including defamation of religions and prophets”.
Oddly the UN agreed.
This is a surprising and dangerous addition to the role of the UN. It comes after years of Islamic (mainly the Saudi’s and the Pakistani’s) desperate attempts to work to change the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which states:
“…..a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief is the highest aspiration of the common people”
Actually, the addition to the role of the Pakistani delegate of condemning anyone who speaks out against religion is pretty mild in comparison to what the Saudi’s were pushing for:
“the limits set by the shariah [law]. It is not permitted to spread falsehood or disseminate that which involves encouraging abomination or forsaking the Islamic community”
– In fact, the entire document that the Saudi’s along with Iran and other fascist states wrote up in response to the UNDRH, known as the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, is nothing short of a totalitarian hell, surrounded every now and again by common sense. Here is a couple of particularly awful ‘rights’:
Parents and those in such like capacity have the right to choose the type of education they desire for their children, provided they take into consideration the interest and future of the children in accordance with ethical values and the principles of the Shari’ah.
– You can teach your children any way you wish, as long as it’s Islamic.
Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion or to atheism.
– One of the most basic human freedoms; discussion and free inquiry are here banned.
In 2006, a group called ‘Christian Voice’ threatened to picket strongly in force outside of the Cancer Care centre Maggie’s Centres, if they accepted a £3000 donation from Jerry Springer The Opera. Christian Voice told Maggie’s Centres that to accept the donation from a show full of ‘filth and blasphemy’ would be a public relations disaster. Maggie’s Centres therefore rejected the donation through fear and intimidation from a bunch of Christian fundamentalists. The donation would have been used to provide a better standard of palliative cancer care for sufferers and their families. But apparently that’s not as important as offending a few nutjobs and their make-believe fantasy World. The Christian Voice website, almost brags incessantly about how they successfully harassed theatres into dropping Jerry Springer The Opera, with threats of private prosecutions for blasphemy under the Incitement To Racial and Religious Hatred Act.
So, in light of recent religious controversies – Christians on the BBC insisting they are persecuted because a secular nation doesn’t allow them to discriminate openly against gay people. Or Middle Eastern Muslims overreacting again to anyone who says anything remotely ‘offensive’ about their particular fairy tale – I thought i’d write a list of what I believe should be the very basic limits of religious rights.
Religious list of Rights.
Religious list of non-Rights.
In response to the attacks on embassies, the violence, the murders that Muslims have committed because a film offended them, Afghan President Karzai said:
“This offensive act has stoked inter-faith enmity and confrontation and badly impacted the peaceful coexistence between human beings.”
– You may be thinking that he was talking about the brutality and the reprehensible nature of the Islamic response throughout the Middle East. But now, he was talking about the film. It is a pity his disingenuous sense of outrage isn’t similarly noted when Islamic media outlets continuously publish racist tripe like this. Published in ‘Arab News’ an English language publication in Saudi Arabia. It is considered a moderate paper. What it shows is rats, with the Jewish star of David as eyes, running in and out of a building called “Palestine House”. Racism, propaganda, hatred and hypocrisy all in one cartoon:
– Karzai, like most ‘outraged’ Muslims play the hypocrisy of the victim card all too often. The anti-Islam film no more ‘stokes inter-faith enmity and confrontation’ than any of the hundreds of racist anti-Jewish, anti-American, anti-homosexuality fascist literature daily coming out of the Islamic Press.
The ‘protests’ over the anti-Islamic film (let’s be honest, those are not protests about a shitty film by some unknown bigoted ‘film maker’ with a cheap camera. They are anti-western protests. They are protests from a sect of Islam that happens to be the most oppressive, dangerous, hypocritical, and violent cult of fascists on the planet today) have shown, much like the Fatwa against Salman Rushdie, and the reaction to the Danish cartoons also showed, and the Christian outcry and threats made because their religion was being satirised in a stage production to the point where they forced a cancer unit to give back a much needed donation – that religion still has far too much power that when misused (which is practically always), is deadly.
Those of us who believe in secularism, in democracy, and in freedom of expression, must always be ready to stand vigilant against such dangerous cults. We must not back down when charged with ‘racism’ if we criticise the abuses of certain religions. We must point out their hypocrisy when they play the victim. We must understand that religion does not deserve a special taboo status that disqualifies it from criticism or inquiry or disrespect. We must agree that there is a basic necessity to limit the more dangerous expressions of faith across the World, because at the moment, human decency is slowly losing ground to religious ‘extremism’ (though I am reluctant to use that word, as I do in fact consider religion in general to be ‘extreme’ and the more ‘moderate’ people as those who have adapted to more secularist principles) and those extremist principles – in an attempt to keep them quiet, and happy – are slowly becoming recognised by institutions like the UN. What regression is this. Secularism, freedom of expression and democracy transcend cultures. They are basic human rights. And they must be defended. The religious cause is not a moral cause; it is a cause of obedience enforced by threats and violence. It is, at its core, totalitarian and so every principle that sprang into mainstream political and social discourse during the Enlightenment, is the antithesis, and therefore will always be under threat. To defend Secularism is to defend the principles of the Enlightenment. To defend Paine. To defend Franklin. To defend Jefferson. To defend Beccaria. To defend Hume. To defend Diderot. Principles that we have shaped our lives, our way of thinking, and enshrine our common human decency, rather than deferring all to a vicious and cruel celestial dictator that we have no proof actually exists.