Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sharia Laws and UN Human Rights

The speech by Tarak Fatah below prompted the following dialogue;

Who speaks for or represents Islam is an eternal question?
Agree with Dr. Farooq, OIC does not represent the Muslims.

We do not have a religious authority, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in his last sermon said that he is leaving the Qur’aan to his followers. It is up to the individual to read, learn and understand one’s responsibilities of living a righteous life.

Thank God we do not have one, nor was it ever intended by Islam or the Prophet. Even if we were to have a religious authority, wasn't Islam anathema to the business of clergy?

Now when it comes to governance of the people, it should be the people who decide what kind of governance works for them respecting every one's individual rights.

The hallmark of civil societies is their ability to reign in on their base temptations as a majority to cause the minorities to obey and adapt. Most of the Sharia laws are of spiritual guidance to one, however the part of Sharia laws that deals with the governance of people has not adopted to the needs of civil societies, nor is it needed. The intent was justice, and the civil laws of the societies serve justice and are universal, and serve the public at large much better. The exclusive Sharia Laws of governance do not serve the Inclusive societies that are emerging since the Middle of the last century and are not needed.

We have to remember that the society during the life of Prophet Muhammad was pluralistic, many faiths co-existed and the Prophet had honored each one to practice their faith as it worked for them. Madinah pact was a testimony to that. However, when the governance part of Sharia Laws were written, the society was mono-religious and lacked sensitivity to other faiths and other people who differed from them, hence those laws did not reflect the practice of Prophet Muhammad to honor people who differed from Islam. Those man made laws do not have the elements of Islamic inclusiveness in them, as they do not contain universality of application.

Research is warranted to study formation of Islamic societies (not religion of Islam) during Multi-religious and Monopolistic-Religious times Islam has existed.

Mike Ghouse

In a message dated 9/21/2008 1:21:27 A.M. Central Daylight Time, farooqm59@YAHOO.COM writes:

Salam and greetings.

The OIC doesn't speak for Muslims?
I would tend to agree that it may represent the unrepresentative governments of the Muslim World, but it does not represent the Muslims.

Is apostasy subject to ANY punishement according to Islam?As a Muslim, I definitely don't think so. Should the apostasy issue be used to silence critiques even among the Muslims? Absoutely not. For those who are interested, please see the Apostasy and Islam Blog ( and "On Apostasy and Islam: 100+ Notable Islamic Voices affirming the Freedom of Faith."Do the dictatorial or hereditary monarchies in the Muslim world have anything to do with Islam?I don't think so. Indeed, what we observe in the Muslim world's political infrastructure does not represent the legacy of revolution brought about by the Prophet Muhammad, rather it is rooted in the legacy of counter-revolution of Amir Muwabiya.

Can the practices of discrimination among different types of Arabs, between Arabs and non-Arabs and on top of that abusing the migrant works from various poor Muslim-majority countries represent some sort of apartheid?
Many would agree.

However, I can't but wonder why Mr. Fatah was raising these issues at a parallel conference of IHEU, which is essentially anti-religion in its stance. Indeed, IHEU does not represent humanism in general, but secular humanism, which is akin to secular fundamentalism.

OIC does not represent Muslims. Agreed. But I am wondering who was Mr. Fatah's intended audience through IHEU and whom does he represent?

Recently, there has been some discussion on this forum about Stephen Schwartz. Maybe I have not read enough of the works of Mr. Fatah. Would Mr. Fatah be kind enough to clarify if his thoughts and positions are any different from Mr. Schwartz's on the pertinent issues?

Best regards.

Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq

From: Tarek Fatah tarekfatah@ROGERS.COM
Friday, September 19, 2008 4:53:59 PMSubject:
Islamic countries want Shariah Law into UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights


For sometime now Saudi Arabia has been using the UN Human Rights Council to water down the 1948 UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights and introduce Sharia law into the UN. Riyadh is using Egypt and Pakistan as well as Iran in using the 57-nation OIC to pursue the Saudi agenda. This week the International Humanist and Ethical Union sponsored a talk at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to oppose the OIC move. The IHEU was also joined by the Cairo Centre for Human Rights in opposing the introduction of Sharia Law into the Human Rights discussion.

This was the first time the OIC move was opposed by Muslims at the UN. Also there was Naser Khedar, the Danish MP and head of the Danish political party, the Liberal Alliance.Here is the text of my speech at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which sent the Arab League delegate into a fit.Tarek

18 September 2008 - 10:09

The OIC does not speak for Muslims

Tarek Fatah
UN Geneva

I speak to you as a Muslim who was born in Pakistan and lived there for 30 years and moved to Saudi Arabia where I worked for 10 years. Since 1987 I have called Canada my home. As an author, journalist and Muslim activist, I have seen the role and agenda of both the soft and hardcore jihadis unfold before my eyes and across the Muslim world.

I approach the issue of freedom of speech and freedom of expression embodied in the 1948 UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights as defending a treasured right that few of my co-religionists can dream off, let alone cherish or possess. We are over a billion strong, but almost all of us live under varying forms and degrees of dictatorship and oppression. Barring a few exceptions such as Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia, and very recently Pakistan, Muslims live under the tyranny of rulers like those of Iran and Saudi Arabia who have used the religion of Islam as a tool to secure absolute power, and to trample all over the human rights of their citizens.

Barely a day goes by without news of gross violations of human rights of Muslims living in so-called Islamic countries. Whether it is honour killings of sisters and mothers or the harassment of gays and calls for their death; whether it is imprisonment of political opponents or attacks on minorities, we Muslims who live in the West are constantly reminded of the rights we enjoy under secular parliamentary democracies as individual human beings.

It is our lives as Muslims in the West that compels us to step forward and expose the duplicity of the OIC when it seeks to water down the 1948 UN Human Rights Declaration and substitute it with so called Islamic human rights. We are alarmed that not only is the UN declaration under attack, but that the Rappateur on Freedom of Expression is being asked to report back on those who are brave enough to question medieval superstitions that challenge the elementary norms of reason and rationalism . Allowing the OIC States to oversee individual human rights is like putting the fox to guard on the chickens.

Life in the OIC countries is the reason why millions of Muslims have escaped and taken refuge in Europe and North America. We are testament of their failures. They rule their populations with a sense of entitlement that they believe is their God-given right, and millions suffer under their tutelage. I urge you to not fall for the charm offensive of those who falsely claim to speak on behalf of Muslims and Islam. They do not, and their record speaks for itself.

While the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran claims he is answerable only to Allah, the King of Saudi Arabia claims to rule in God’s name. Next door in Egypt, a military dictator has monopolised power for 30 years, jailed his critics and his opponent Ayman Nour continues to rot in prison. The difference is that while Iran and Saudi Arabia oppress Muslims in the name of Islam, the Egyptian dictator does so in the name of American sponsored moderation. The result for the ordinary Muslim is the same: the complete absence of human dignity that can only be guaranteed if the 1948 UN Declaration is honoured and implemented in letter and in spirit.
The use of Islam to slaughter fellow Muslims is not a new phenomenon. In 1965 Islamist vigilantes massacred a million of their fellow countrymen in Indonesia; in 1971 Pakistani armed forces conducted a genocide that killed one million Muslim Bangladeshis in the name of Islam. In 1979 an Islamist Military man, General Zia ul Haq who presented himself as the ultimate saviour of Islam, hanged the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. Five years later, the Sudanese Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood hanged the great Islamic scholar Muhammad Mahmood Taha after accusing him of apostasy.

After stifling individual liberty and freedom of thought and debate that would include even discussing Islam and how it has been used to oppress and plunder, the Islamists, led by Saudi Arabia and Iran, have brought their agenda to the United Nations Human Rights Council with the aim of legitimising their suffocating ideology. After depriving their own populations of the rights the rest of humanity seeks to embrace; after creating failed societies, the Islamists are using the OIC to validate the crimes that have led to trauma and dysfunctional societies across the Muslim world. We should not let them succeed.

As a Canadian, I am deeply proud of my country’s contribution in the drafting of the 1948 UN declaration. As a Canadian Muslim I am conscious of the fact that the 1948 declaration gave me the rights to practise my faith as I deem fit in a country where my community is less that 3% of the population, yet is treated as equals.

Why should Muslims only enjoy human rights and freedom of expression to discuss their own religion where they live as minorities, yet never be able to do so where they form a majority? Why should I fear for my life simply because I ask why so many Muslim societies have failed despite their enormous natural wealth?

Today the same people who have smashed human rights with an iron fist where they govern, and oppress Muslims under their rule, have the audacity to appear before the UN and demand that that their vile policies be validated by the Human Rights Council and that anyone who dares to criticise the principles under which they govern as absolute monarchs, dictators or self-anointed guardians of Allah, be silenced. This should not happen. I as a Muslim urge you to not abandon the millions of Muslims who do not have a voice.

To suggest that any criticism of Islamism , the political ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Ayatollahs, is anti-Islamic is a bogus and fraudulent position. I would contend that my religion Islam demands that I stand up to these bullies and take away from their right to put padlocks on poetry and chastity belts on independent thinking.

People who were not insulted or offended when the Saudis demolished the Prophet Muhammad’s 1400-year-old House in Mecca, but who ran wild at the sight of Danish cartoons, can at best be described as men who have got their priorities wrong, and at worst as hypocrites.
These Islamists and the governments they control propagate man-made Islamic shariah laws as an alternative to western secular democratic law, yet they oppose any scrutiny of the very same shariah laws that sanction slavery, racism, misogyny and homophobia. My message to these dictators is this: If you continue to pour millions into Canada and other Western countries to promote Islamism, then don’t complain if we Muslims join our fellow citizens and put your political ideology to scrutiny.

Islam is a religion, but Islamism is a political ideology. They are not the same despite what the OIC claims. Everyone has a right to practise Islam without fear of persecution. However, Islamism is nothing more than the use of Islam to secure power over an already marginalized community of Muslims. Proponents of Islamism had better be prepared for criticism, not just from non-Muslims, but from Muslims, who have been the primary victims of this totalitarian ideology.

My message to the OIC is this: Please clean your own house before trying to subvert the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights. Go first and end the slave-like conditions of dark skinned Muslims in the Persian Gulf before spreading your failed ideology and recipe of failure to the UN.
Those who behead people in public and stone women to death, practise apartheid in their Kingdom and wave the sword of apostasy over the heads of their fellow Muslim critics, should be the last people to speak on behalf of their victims. Too many Muslims have fallen victim to your rule. We do not want the UN to be tainted by sanctioning these practices.

If the agenda of the OIC is allowed to succeed, and so-called Islamic Human Rights is allowed to deviously “compliment” the 1948 UN Declaration, then ladies and gentlemen, my speech today would be in violation of the Charter of Islamic Human Rights because I have spoken against the Shariah.

Equality of all human beings, not just in their dignity and respect, but equality of their rights before the law must remain sacrosanct. Otherwise you would have failed the one billion Muslims of this world who live under regimes that implement thought control as a holy doctrine.
Perhaps, I could best explain the relationship between Islam and Islamism this way. Islam is to Islamism, as Uranium is to weapons of mass destruction.

In closing, I want you to imagine a scenario from the good old days of the Cold War. How you would have reacted if the Warsaw Pact countries came to this session and said: “We want the rest of the world to embrace communism. However, there cannot be any discussion about the demerits or flaws of our political ideology because we feel offended when the rest of you discuss it; you are not experts”?. You would have laughed in their faces. You certainly would not have said: “We agree, there can be no discussion of communism in this forum”.

Today you have to reject the OIC demands with the same vigour that the free world rejected the Gulags.

Tarek Fatah is founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and author of “Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State” (Wiley 2008).
This speech was given at the IHEU parallel conference "An analysis and Discussion of Religion and Freedom of Expression at the Human Rights Council" held at the UN Human Rights Council on 17 September 2008.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.