Press release: ICLA deconstructs “Islamophobia”

By: ICLA Admin

Released: September 22nd 2013

ICLA, the International Civil Liberties Alliance, today publishes a comprehensive white paper entitled “The Problematic Definition of “Islamophobia””, where the concept of “Islamophobia” is subjected to a comprehensive analysis. Specifically, the definition in question is the one presented by the representative of Turkey at the OSCE conference in Tirana, Albania in May, 2013.

Quite unconventionally, OSCE has published material about “Islamophobia” without providing any definition of the term, in particular [Guidelines]. Despite repeated calls by human rights activists for clarification, only in 2013 a definition was provided. Which, remarkably, is very similar to one given by the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a fact that in itself should raise concerns over its applicability to any issues pertaining to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The analysis is written by an ICLA team of experts, and demonstrates in meticulous detail that the definition is badly flawed on 13 major points, as well as on many more details pertaining to each of these points. The analysis shows the definition to be, various points, misleading, circular, self-contradictory and/or meaningless. It even turns out that, if the definition is to be applied as written, Islam as such will have to be considered “Islamophobic”, based on its own scripture and tradition.

It is the recommendation of ICLA that no institution aiming to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms make any use of this term. Any use of this and other ill-defined terms lends itself towards undermining fundamental freedoms rather than protecting them. In particular, ill-defined terms could be misused to justify the granting of special privileges and protections to specific groups, which would be contrary to principles of equal rights for all.

Instead, ICLA recommends that OSCE participating States and other relevant parties focus their efforts on protecting individual rights rather than group rights, and reject any request or intimidation calling for any form of special rights, status or protections for specific groups.

The release of the ICLA white paper on ”Islamophobia” is timed to coincide with ICLA participating in the annual OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Poland. At this conference, the paper will be presented at a public side event entitled “How bad definitions violate fundamental OSCE commitments”. Refreshments will be provided.

Event location: Opera Room, Hotel Sofitel, Warsaw, Poland

Event timetable: Thursday September 26th 13-15 CET.

ICLA may be contacted on i…@libertiesalliance.org or by telephone on +45 2194 4044

OSCE may be contacted on [email] or [phone] for accreditation and other practical issues.


The Problematic Definition of “Islamophobia”

By: ICLA Admin

The Problematic Definition of “Islamophobia”


The International Civil Liberties Alliance notes with concern a growing tendency in public discourse to use terms that are poorly defined or even undefined. This practice is especially worrisome when the topics being discussed are contentious, as it destroys clarity and hampers mutual understanding. Under these circumstances, it is crucial that precise, unambiguous definitions be provided, and that all parties discussing the issues agree on those definitions.

One such term that has seen frequent use in articles, publications, papers, and interventions is the word “Islamophobia”. Although opposition to its use is usually thought of as a “conservative” position, among those who find its use objectionable is also the British Muslim socialist Rumy Hasan:[1]

Since 11 September 2001, the epithet ‘Islamophobia’ has increasingly become in vogue in Britain — not only from Muslims but also, surprisingly, from wide layers of the left, yet the term is seldom elaborated upon or placed in a proper context. Invariably, it is used unwisely and irresponsibly and my argument is that the left should refrain from using it.

Shockingly, some on the left have, on occassion, even resorted to using it as a term of rebuke against the left, secular, critics of reactionary aspects of Muslim involvement in the anti-war movement. So what does the term mean?

As an example of its widespread usage, consider “Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through Education”, published jointly by OSCE/ODIHR, the Council of Europe, and UNESCO in 2011.[2] The document contains 49 instances of the word “Islamophobia” (including those used in footnotes and cited URLs), yet the closest it comes to a definition of the term is this brief description found on page 17:

“‘Islamophobia’, a term which is widely used by NGOs and frequently appears in the media, tends to denote fear, hatred or prejudice against Islam and Muslims.”

The above passage does not qualify as a usable definition of “Islamophobia”, yet surprisingly, the concept forms the basis for an official OSCE guideline book. It is not appropriate that an undefined term is used as basis for educational guidelines, especially when the topic referenced is controversial.

At the Supplementary Human Dimension meeting in Vienna on July 12, 2013, in response to the repeated use of the term “Islamophobia” during various OSCE proceedings, Mission Europa Netzwerk Karl Martell requested a definition of the word.[3]

In response, the Turkish government representative Mr. Umut Topcuoglu quoted a definition[4] of “Islamophobia” originally presented by Turkey at the OSCE High-Level Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination: Combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims. The definition itself[5] was written by Ömür Orhun, the former Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims, and currently the Advisor and Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). While there is no officially announced OSCE definition of “Islamophobia”, the fact that OSCE materials make use of the term, combined with the lack of alternatives or criticism, makes the definition presented by Turkey the default for comprehending what the educational guidelines on combatting “Islamophobia” are seeking to achieve.:

Islamophobia is a contemporary form of racism and xenophobia motivated by unfounded fear, mistrust, and hatred of Muslims and Islam. Islamophobia is also manifested through intolerance, discrimination, unequal treatment, prejudice, stereotyping, hostility, and adverse public discourse. Differentiating from classical racism and xenophobia, Islamophobia is mainly based on stigmatization of a religion and its followers, and as such, Islamophobia is an affront to the human rights and dignity of Muslims.

The wording of this definition bears a close resemblance to that of an earlier definition of “Islamophobia”, which was also written by Ambassador Orhun and published by the OIC in 2011:[6]

“Islamophobia is a contemporary form of racism and xenophobia motivated by unfounded fear, mistrust and hatred of Muslims and Islam. Islamophobia is also manifested through intolerance, discrimination and adverse public discourse against Muslims and Islam. Differentiating from classical racism and xenophobia, Islamophobia is mainly based on radicalisation of Islam and its followers.”

It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the definition of “Islamophobia” implicitly accepted by the OSCE is essentially the same as the definition promulgated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

This is a clear conflict of interest, in that organizations with a vested interest in defining a particular term to their own advantage should not pen the official definition of said term.

Continue reading


Tea Party vs. Progressives on Obamacare

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Cross-Posted at Right Wing News and Gateway Pundit

You can blend in or blend out — the Tea Party chooses to take a stand and blend out. Leading the fray is Ted Cruz. Sarah Palin has written a kick butt article on Cruz Control. Take a moment and smell the tea:

More and more Americans are waking up to the nightmare of Obamacare as its rollout continues. Hardworking families are losing their employer-provided health care coverage. Businesses are cutting back their employees’ hours to skirt Obamacare’s mandates. Americans barely scrapping by are discovering that Obamacare has made health care completely unaffordable. Those who aren’t part of a protected special interest group have been left in the cold.

When you’re living on a fixed income, having to pay hundreds of dollars more each month for health care will cut into your ability to pay for basic necessities like food, electricity, or gas (which has increased 90% under Obama). Open your eyes, America. When the full reality of Obamacare strikes home, we’ll thank God that principled leaders like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee took a stand to stop it in its tracks.

But the permanent political class is handwringing and howling that if there’s a government shutdown the media will blame Republicans for it. Here’s a little newsflash, GOP establishment: Whenever anything bad happens, the media blames Republicans for it. That’s not an excuse to roll over and play dead. It’s a call to follow the advice I give my daughters: Woman up, stand your ground, and fight like a girl!

While Democratic Senate Minority Leader and major weasel, Harry Reid, is calling the Tea Party anarchists and telling the Republicans to sit down, shut up and take Obamacare like good little Marxists, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are moving forward fighting all the way and threatening a filibuster:

“The Affordable Care Act has been the law of the land for three years,” Reid said. “Democrats stand ready to work with reasonable people who want to improve it, but Republican attempts to take an entire law hostage simply to appease the Tea Party anarchists are outrageous, irresponsible and futile.”

Wait… did he just say resistance is futile? So the Dems are admitting they’re the Borg? Reid can go back to whatever alien planet or hole he calls home and stuff it.

He’s not alone though – witness the Progressive Republicans on the right who are attacking Cruz at every opportunity:

Fox News host Chris Wallace said on Sunday that top Republicans had sent him opposition research throughout the week on Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Many top Republicans are upset that Cruz is threatening to filibuster if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reinserts funding for Obamacare, after the House stripped the money from a recently passed continuing resolution bill, Wallace said.

“This has been one of the strangest weeks I’ve ever had in Washington,” Wallace said. “As soon as we listed Ted Cruz as our featured guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats but from top Republicans, to hammer Cruz.”

We the people are standing with Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and we will remember those who betray us on both sides of the aisle. In closing, take to heart Sarah Palin’s words:

The message only grows stronger. The grassroots is bigger than any one person. We the People will rise up, and we will make our voices heard. Right now, Ted Cruz is speaking for us in this Obamacare fight. God bless him for it.

Hang in there, Ted and Mike. You have millions of supporters among ordinary hardworking Americans. We support you because you don’t shy away from the fray. May your colleagues in the Senate gain the wisdom to support your excellent efforts so that you can see that the view is better from inside the bus than under it.

The only ones that should be viewing the underside of the bus are the Progressive Left. Death to Obamacare.