Friday Ephemera

Flattery & Lies

What’s the term I’m looking for? Vanity? Hubris? Ah, yes. Pathological denial

Concerned about what they see as a rise in the defamation of Islam, leaders of the world’s Muslim nations are considering taking legal action against those that slight their religion or its sacred symbols. It was a key issue during a two-day summit that ended Friday in this western Africa capital. The Muslim leaders are attempting to demand redress from nations like Denmark, which allowed the publication of cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 and again last month, to the fury of the Muslim world.

Though the legal measures being considered have not been spelled out, the idea pits many Muslims against principles of freedom of speech enshrined in the constitutions of numerous Western governments. “I don’t think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy,” said Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. “There can be no freedom without limits.”

The report urges the creation of a “legal instrument” to crack down on defamation of Islam… “In our relation with the western world, we are going through a difficult time,” [OIC secretary general, Ekmeleddin] Ihsanoglu told the summit’s general assembly. “Islamophobia cannot be dealt with only through cultural activities but (through) a robust political engagement.”…A new charter drafted by the OIC commits the Muslim body “to protect and defend the true image of Islam” and “to combat the defamation of Islam.”

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference seems to imagine that self-esteem is a default entitlement and that “defamation” should also extend to matters of inconvenient fact; and thus believers – or rather Muslims - have some fictional right not to be criticised or mocked for publicly airing absurd and objectionable beliefs:

The OIC - backed by allies in Africa and by Russia and Cuba - has been pushing for stronger resolutions on “defamation” since a global controversy arose two years ago over cartoons in a Danish newspaper which Muslims say insult their religion. The “defamation” issue has become especially sensitive this year as the U.N. prepares to celebrate in the autumn the 50th anniversary of the 1948 Universal Declaration, long seen as the bedrock of international human rights law and practice.

That would be the declaration originally intended to protect against the most appalling acts of discrimination - many of which are, of course, still affirmed and perpetuated by orthodox Islamic jurisprudence. But perhaps we should peel away the rhetoric of victimhood, used so indecently, and look at what’s actually being demanded here: A right not to hear that one is being irrational, dishonest or mortifyingly stupid, regardless of just how irrational, dishonest or mortifyingly stupid one actually is. That’s a license of no small magnitude, and one that a person of good faith would neither grant nor desire. It’s one thing for a Muslim to perform whatever mental contortions are required to add the honorific “peace be upon him” to the name of a vain and murderous Bedouin who claimed to talk with God while beheading hundreds of his victims; but to enshrine that pathological dishonesty in international law would be intellectual vandalism on a jaw-dropping scale. 

Mecca_beckons_3Speaking at the OIC, Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, mustered the chutzpah to announce, entirely without irony, that “Islam has unjustly been associated with violence.” But events in India, China, the Czech Republic, Afghanistan, Germany, Britain - and, of course, the president’s own country - tell a rather different story. And the supremacist imperatives within Islamic theology, to which jihadists worldwide appeal, are, for many, a matter of religious duty, not some invention of infidels. The association of Islam with intolerance, racism and violence is impressed on the public consciousness first and foremost by those Muslims who, on an all but daily basis, behave in monstrous ways and warp the minds of children in the name of their religion. If the OIC devoted similar indignation and resources to inhibiting the perpetrators of such acts and denouncing what they do, maybe Islam’s public image would be more flattering than it is.


As I hope the above makes clear, the perversity on display in Dakar is remarkable, if not surprising. Like so many Islamic organisations, the OIC expends much more effort denouncing those who criticise aspects of Islam than it does denouncing those who commit atrocities in Islam’s name. If Muslim groups wish to repair Islam’s public image, to whatever extent it can be repaired, their efforts should be directed at the root of the problem, not at those who dare to point out that a problem exists.

Of the many strange ideas aired at the OIC, one of the strangest is the claim that freedom of religion means the right to have one’s beliefs, and thus one’s vanity, flattered at every turn. This is a novel interpretation, to say the least, and just a tad self-serving. But freedom of religion necessarily entails freedom from religion and the freedom to change one’s mind. Islam is, of course, uniquely barbarous in this regard, and most forms of Sharia mandate punishment, and often death, for those who wish to upgrade to a better faith, or indeed to none at all. For any speaker at the OIC to grumble about how Islam is perceived without first addressing the issue of apostasy and its punishment, and the issue of jihad and the dhimma, and sacralised racism, and blasphemy and censorship, and about a dozen other issues, is inexcusable moral flatulence.

As I wrote in one of my first posts,

Religious freedom is presumed to entail sparing believers any hint that others do not share their beliefs, and indeed may find them ludicrous. There is, apparently, no corresponding obligation for believers to embrace ideas that are not clearly risible, monstrous or disgusting.

Related. And. Also. Plus



Wow. Well said.


There has been no such thing as Czechoslovakia for over 15 years now :)


Oops. Corrected. Thanks.

Rob Crawford

Don't forget there's a specific "Islamic Declaration of Human Rights" that reiterates the same rights as the Universal Declaration, then slaps the caveat "except where sharia says otherwise" at the end. They've been playing this game for decades.


the Profit (may a goat crap on his head) can suck my nads. these lightweights are living in the 6th century. it's like thawing a block of ice only to find a bunch of half-witted bipeds... a time-capsule of ignorance, the islamic culture is...

Spiny Norman

“I don’t think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy,”


No, Mr Chairman, that is precisely the sort of freedom of expression that is being protected.


A "vain and murderous Bedouin" ... ? Don't sugar coat it, David, give it to them straight. Spot on, by the way.

John West

"The report urges the creation of a “legal instrument” to crack down on defamation of Islam… “In our relation with the western world, we are going through a difficult time,”"

What a coincidence, the Western World (Most of the rest of the world too actually) is going through a difficult time in our relationship with Islam, they keep trying to blow us up.



“A ‘vain and murderous Bedouin’...? Don’t sugar coat it, David, give it to them straight.”

Well, if you accept the first lie – i.e. that Muhammad was gorged on Allah’s teat – a hundred other lies will follow in short order. It then becomes quite difficult to be realistic about the problem. Hence the insane, circular arguments of the OIC and most other Islamic organisations.


"A ‘vain and murderous Bedouin’...? Don’t sugar coat it, David, give it to them straight."

It's important to distinguish between

a. Was Mohamed a 'vain and murderous Bedouin'?
b. Is it permissible to ask if Mohamed was a 'vain and murderous Bedouin'?

I would say yes to both but I would only expect a Muslim to answer yes to the second.


“There can be no freedom without limits.”

Yes, that's the ticket, limited freedom. And of course, the Islamic despots get to set those limits.



“I would say yes to both but I would only expect a Muslim to answer yes to the second.”

Well, there does appear to be a third option. There are believers who don’t try to sanitise or ignore Muhammad’s later career - when he was in a position of strength and violence was an option - and some revel in it. In a way, this is perhaps the most remarkable approach, in a psychiatric sense, though it’s also the most dangerous and morally disturbed.

If you want to understand why, for instance, radicalised schoolchildren in Lahore promise to “sacrifice their lives” (i.e. as ‘martyrs’) to kill the Danish cartoonists – “for the love of our Holy Prophet” – then it helps to understand how *they* understand Muhammad. Specifically, how the students sacralise Muhammad’s own violence and intolerance of criticism. Rationalising despotism and hair-trigger sadism is a curious exercise, but one that’s common among Islamist organisations. Indeed, it’s difficult to read the most credible accounts of Muhammad’s later life, by Muslims of the period, without one’s moral compass being jarred by what’s actually being championed as piety. Arguably, Muhammad’s behaviour may have been pretty normative for the time, but as yardsticks of virtue for modern believers, piracy, deception and slaughter aren’t the best inspirations for impressionable minds.


Ooohh! I'm scared...that "Muslim World" is such a big scary Boogey-man who's gonna eat you...if you don't stop calling him names!

Gee whiz!

No matter whether it's the "Muslim World," or the "Arab Street," that Islamic politicians (and Leftists) incessantly invoke, neither one is a quantifiable, poll-able demographic, and neither one should scare anyone.

This is classic totalitarianism on display: Islamic leaders suppress the development of a free press and stunt the growth of civil societies in their nations, purposefully so that they can wield this unquantified "ghost constituency" with out rebuttal on the world stage.

When Jakarta's social engineers can produce an accurate census of Java's inhabitants, then (and only then) I will consider an Indonesian politician's sampling of the "Muslims World" next to Gallup's or Brietbart's latest Obama/Hillary poll-product.

But, not before.


Doesn't this adoration for Mohammed border on blasphemy? It's hard to discern Allah with all this outrage over the "disrespect" of his "prophet"?


In an attempt to prevent any criticism of Islam, Muslims have come up with a ploy to stop criticism of all religions. However, in what is delicious irony, Muslims themselves have rejected any such proposal
The Saudi Shura council rejected an international recommendation to criminalize offences against all religions, stressing that the suggestion would imply the government's recognition of what it considered as pagan religions, media reports said Tuesday.

Some 77 of the 150 members of the Shura or consultative council, which has limited legislative rights, opposed the recommendation, while only 33 supported it.

The proposal states that the "Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with the Arab Islamic group of the United Nations will adopt an international recommendation that prohibits offence of all religions and religious figures by all means."

Talal Bakry, a Shura council member, opposed the move, saying that the recommendation means a full recognition of "the pagan religions" and thus will allow the establishment of non-monotheistic worship places in Muslim countries.

"This recommendation is a trap for the Muslim community, which can result in negative consequences on Muslims above all the others," Khalil al-Khalil, an opponent member, was quoted as saying in al-Watan Saudi newspaper.


This seems relevant:

“I re-read a series of quotes in which Islamic leaders — as well as a young girl on Lebanese television — call for jihad, war, and death; and I pointed out… that he [a Muslim] must be quite angry at these Muslims for their incorrect [i.e. violent] view of jihad. But instead of being angry at those who give his presumably peaceful religion a bad name, he condemned *me* for reading their quotes. This is evasion par excellence — to condemn those who raise Islam’s violent past and present rather than have to face the fact that the vision of idyllic peace that one associates with one’s religion has no basis in reality…

Islamic governments, as ideological states founded on claims to divine revelation, must jail — or worse — those who speak out against the clerics. This was the thug’s ideal: In lieu of rationally demonstrating the ‘truth’ of his beliefs, he would criminalise me, or jail me, or perhaps kill me, to stop the spread of ideas contrary to his. In Iran, this ideal has already been achieved; there I would have been arrested, condemned, and thrown into solitary confinement. But in America, the thug’s ideal is frustrated; without the power of the law to silence me he was reduced to name-calling...”

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