Licia Corbella, Calgary Herald, June 19, 2010
In what can only be described as Orwellian double-speak, the Organization of the Islamic Conference told the United Nations Human Rights Council–made up of many of the world’s worst human rights violators–that Muslims in western democracies face unbearable racism and discrimination, and demanded that the UN do something about it.
“People of Arab origin face new forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance and experience discrimination and marginalization,” an Egyptian delegate said on Wednesday.
Pakistan, speaking for the 57-nation OIC, tabled a resolution instructing the council’s special investigator into religious freedom to look into such racism, “especially in western societies” to “work closely with mass media organizations to ensure that they create and promote an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for religious and cultural diversity.”
Mahfooz Kanwar, a professor emeritus at Mount Royal University and author, said these resolutions–which are expected to pass owing to the over-abundance of “Islamist and other dictatorial states” that sit on the oxymoronically named UN Human Rights Council–would be funny for their sheer audacity and hypocrisy if they were not so potentially harmful and disturbing.
“I was born and raised in Pakistan and any honest person from there will admit that nobody in that country has religious freedom–or any kind of freedom–not Muslims and certainly not members of minority religions who are afforded even less rights and are often beaten, raped and killed for not being Muslim,” said Kanwar, a sociologist and criminologist. “As for gender equality, there is none. Women are considered property in Pakistan and virtually every Islamic country,” he added.
“If I were to go to Pakistan and do what I do here in Canada, write articles and books that are critical of those governments, I would not survive more than 24 hours,” Kanwar said.
Just last month, on May 28, Muslim suicide bombers stormed two Ahmadi Muslim mosques in Lahore, Pakistan and murdered about 100 worshippers. “That’s extreme discrimination. The Pakistani government declared long ago that Ahmadiyya Muslims are not real Muslims, they are infidels and therefore deserve to be killed,” said Kanwar. “And so, these ignorant fanatics listen to the semi-literate mullahs in the mosques and go out and murder the so-called infidels in suicide bombings with the hopes of going straight to heaven.
“The reality is,” he added, “the ONLY countries where Muslims can really practise their religion freely and without coercion or discrimination is in the West. In Muslim countries, they force you to worship the way the state wants you to worship or you face being attacked. That’s why Muslims are always killing Muslims. The Sunni kill Shiites and vice versa. They think anyone who doesn’t believe exactly like they do is an infidel and deserves to die.”
Kanwar acknowledges that there is some racism in the West, but it is “not systemic and is microscopic in comparison with any Muslim country.”
Organizations that track freedom and religious persecution in the world say that the worst offenders are the same states that have signed on to the resolution to condemn the West. Freedom House ranks the level of freedom in every country and when the lists are compared, the same countries that want the UN to condemn the West for discriminating against Muslims are among the least free countries in the world. These countries are also seeking at the United Nations to make it a crime for anyone to ever blaspheme Islam or Muhammad in the West, yet in their own countries, they have laws that state that non-Muslims have less rights than Muslims.
According to Kanwar and Voice of the Martyrs–a Christian non-governmental organization–in Pakistan, a Christian man’s testimony in court is counted as being worth half that of a Muslim man’s. A Christian woman’s testimony in court is worth only one-quarter of a Muslim man’s, making Christian women and girls prime targets for rape, since it’s near impossible for the perpetrator to be convicted under such laws.
Voice of the Martyrs, which monitors attacks against Christians around the world, states that “many Pakistani Christians have been falsely accused under law 295c of blaspheming Muhammad or the Qur’an, a crime punishable by death.”
In Egypt, where there is a large, though dwindling, Christian community, the country’s constitution gives more rights to Muslims, and Christians are treated as second-class citizens, denied political representation, and often discriminated against in education and employment, states Voice of the Martyrs. “While the constitution allows for freedom of conversion, Muslims converting to Christianity have often been unable to change their religion or their name on their identification cards. Without the freedom to make this change, Christian women remain designated as Muslims and are unable to marry Christian men,” states the Voice of the Martyrs website.