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Statement by International Civil Liberties Alliance presented to Session 5 on Tolerance and Non-discrimination at OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting :: Liberties Alliance

Statement by International Civil Liberties Alliance presented to Session 5 on Tolerance and Non-discrimination at OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

By • on October 1, 2009

OSCE-Venue Feature

Statement by International Civil Liberties Alliance presented to Session 5 on Tolerance and Non-discrimination

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

Warsaw, September 30, 2009 

The International Civil Liberties Alliance is gravely concerned about the term “racism“ being applied much too broadly, covering, for instance, criticism of religion, and its misuse to both stigmatize political opponents and to stifle further political debate. Furthermore, the charge of “racism” is being used to cover up real problems like the widespread use of intimidation and violence, not least in immigrant and Islamic circles.

One case in point is the legal and peaceful pro-Israel demonstration held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in January 2009, in support of Israel against Hamas. Counter-demonstrators disrupted the demonstration with a siren, then assembled with shouts of “Heil Hitler”, “Kill the Jews ”, “Allah-hu Akbar” and more, accompanied by Hitler salutes. After the pro-Israel demonstration had ended, the pro-Palestine demonstration marched the square with shouts of “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, Muhammad’s army will return”, a reference to Muhammad’s violent assault on the Jewish settlement of Khaybar, Medina, and thus an implied threat of violence against Jews

We urge the OSCE to take note of these anti-Semitic incidents, which are by no means isolated cases. We also deplore the use of the term “hate speech” in connection with religions.

There is also the urgent need to protect individual rights, not privileged positions of the clergy. Most vitally, rights of humans are – at any time – more important than the rights of gods. Racism is not and should not be about religion at all.