1. Skip to content

National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Baroness Warsi and the OIC

Posted: Mon, 25 Nov 2013 13:00 by Anne Marie Waters

Baroness Warsi and the OIC

Baroness Warsi's partnership with the OIC means it is only a matter of time before we are completely silenced in the name of religious freedom, argues Anne Marie Waters.

Baroness Warsi, our unelected "Minister for Faith", in a speech at Georgetown University in Washington on Friday, stated that the UK is "committed to working with the United Nations Human Rights Council to implement Resolution 16/18."

We are? I can't remember agreeing to this – can you?

She then went on to make this hilarious statement: "The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also remains a key partner in our quest to promote religious freedom."

I genuinely don't know whether to laugh or cry.

It is difficult to know where to begin with this, so I'll start with Resolution 16/18 – a proposal which received the support of the United States back in 2011. Hillary Clinton, who could well be the next US President, set up a meeting in Washington D.C. that year. The aim of this get-together was to explore ways to implement the provisions of Resolution 16/18 around the world.

Resolution 16/18 calls upon UN member states to combat "intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief." It was initially introduced in March 2011 at the UN Human Rights Council by the OIC. This coterie, dominated by Islamist states, had made several previous attempts to have a resolution passed which aimed to criminalise "defamation of religions" but had failed. This time, due to some clever re-wording, the tactic worked and non-binding resolution was agreed.

Following this, the Istanbul Process was created in July 2011. This meeting was attended by Hillary Clinton who praised the US and the EU for agreeing the resolution at the Human Rights Council. The conference had been convened by Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the OIC. This is a man who frequently speaks out against Islamophobia, and calls for a "proper understanding of Islam".

The Istanbul Process continues and last met in Geneva in June 2013.

Baroness Warsi's commitment (on behalf of the UK) to work with the OIC to implement Resolution 16/18 seems to be grounded in the idea that the OIC are equally committed to religious freedom. In making such claims, Warsi shows herself to be either a) completely stupid, b) a damn liar, or c) both.

Why do I say this? Well, have a look at the commitment to religious freedom (and human rights generally) demonstrated by some of the OIC member countries:

The Islamic Republic of Iran – Iran demonstrates its commitment to religious freedom by executing people who leave Islam, or speak out against it. (Oh, and it also stones people to death for having sex). Article 513 of theIranian penal code states that "Anyone who insults the sacred values of Islam or any of the Great Prophets or [twelve] Shi'ite Imams or the Holy Fatima, if considered as Saab ul-nabi [as having committed actions warranting the hadd punishment for insulting the Prophet], shall be executed; otherwise, they shall be sentenced to one to five years' imprisonment."

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan – Pakistan is also deeply committed to religious freedom. So much so that blasphemy is a capital crime. Section 295-C of its criminal code says that "Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine."

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – as well as imposing the death penalty for "witchcraft" (and blasphemy and apostasy), Saudi Arabia does not allow anyone to build a church or read a Bible. So committed to religious freedom is Saudi Arabia that non-Muslims are not permitted to enter its holy city of Mecca. So committed to religious freedom is Saudi Arabia that simply sending a tweet deemed blasphemous can have you arrested and facing the death penalty, as the journalist Hamza Kashgari found out to his cost in 2012.

These are some of the countries that Baroness Warsi will be working with to promote religious freedom around the world. There are others of course, you can find them here.

It is worth noting at this point that the UN Human Rights Council, which initially passed Resolution 16/18, recentlyappointed Saudi Arabia to sit on its board. Saudi Arabia kills people not only for blasphemy but for adultery and homosexuality as well. Women there enjoy the official status of property and are not allowed to work or travel or even undergo medical treatment without the permission of a man. It's encouraging to know then that Saudi Arabia will be working for the promotion of both religious freedom and human rights around the world, isn't it?

We are living in a hall of mirrors – nothing is as it seems and we are being consistently and constantly lied to. Resolution 16/18 has got nothing to do with religious freedom, and everything to do with protecting Islam from exposure. The record of the countries behind it prove this beyond any doubt. Anyone who tells the truth about any aspect of Islam, or what happens in Islamic states, will no doubt be guilty of "negative stereotyping" of the religion, and criminalised if Resolution 16/18 becomes law in UN member states. That is the point of it, and Warsi has dragged our country in to helping to make this happen.

So to summarise; Sayeeda Warsi, a woman who failed to secure an elected place in Parliament in 2005, now enjoys a seat at the Cabinet table despite the fact that she remains unelected. She has used this position to commit the UK to assisting in the implementation of a resolution which will effectively criminalise anyone who dares to tell the truth about what happens in the name of Islam (this would be "negative stereotyping" you see). She has no mandate for this, and she wouldn't have if the people were ever asked our opinion on the matter.

She is assisted in her endeavours by the US Government. A Government headed by Barack "the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam" Obama.

Warsi was appointed to the Cabinet by David Cameron, a man equally committed to making us as sharia-compliant as possible. In October, he informed us that we were about to become the only non-Muslim country to issue Islamic bonds. The Prime Minister's ambition is to see London stand "alongside Dubai as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world."

Given the determination of the USA and UK to promote all things Islamic, and their partnership with Islamist states in their efforts to criminalise us all, it is only a matter of time before we are completely silenced.

So if you have anything to say about Islam — and the barbarism carried out in its name — I suggest you say it now.

Anne Marie Waters is a council member of the National Secular Society. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the NSS.

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Religion & Belief