Northern Light

The Muslim World enters Denmark's election campaign

The Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) has entered Denmark’s election campaign. Yesterday it took issue with an election add from the Danish People’s party that features a 400 years old drawing of the Muslim prophet Mohammed and a text reading ”The right to free speech is a Danish value – censorship isn’t”.

Don’t forget, the OIC was the driving force behind the cartoon riots in the Muslim world back in January and February 2006, and in the UN it has for years been conducting a campaign against enlightenment values such as the right to free speech, including the right to challenge and ridicule religious dogma, and freedom of religion, including the right to say no to religion. In January 2006 the OIC called for sanctions against Denmark.

The OIC denounced the add as islamophobic, and subsequently concluded in a statement by its Jeddah office:

”The Muslim world while taking note of this unprovoked propensity of some Danish circles to demonize Islam, its figures and symbols remains vigilant and watchful to this trend which might, again, lead to increased tension.”

Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of Danish People’s party, repudiates the accusations.

”This is pure nonsense. The add features a 400 years old drawing of Mohammed, and as we knew during the cartoon crisis with the 12 cartoons of Mohammed published by Jyllands-Posten, Mohammed has been portrayed again and again, and this is just another drawing,” she said.

”We want to do as we please in Denmark. We didn’t do it to provoke, but due to the fact that a drawing – a 400 years old drawing of Mohammed – is a symbol of free speech in Denmark because we defended our right to free speech.”

A couple of comments:

1. I don’t think free speech is a Danish value. It’s a universal value embedded in the UN Declaration of Human Rights with its history in Denmark.

2. Islamophobia is an intimidating and intellecually dishonest term because it wants to establish a false parallel to concepts such as racism and anti-semitism. Criticising or ridiculing an idelogy has nothing to do with attacking human beings. I am very critical of Communism, but I am married to to Russian woman who used to be a loyal citizen of the Soviet Union, and my father-in-law is still a believer in Communism, but that doesn’t mean that I dislike him. On the contrary, I love him very much.

As Denis Prager has put it:

”The term is not ”Muslim-phobia” or ”anti-Muslimist”, it is Islam-ophobia – fear of Islam – yet fear of Islam is in no way the same as hatred of all Muslims. One can rightly or wrongly fear Islam, or more usually, aspects of Islam, and have absolutely no bias against all Muslims, let alone be a racist.

The equation of Islamophobia with racism is particularly dishonest. Muslims come in every racial group, and Islam has nothing to do with race (…) If fear of an ideology rendered one racist, all those who fear conservatism or liberalism should be considered racist.”