Proposed Charter of Muslim Understanding Under Fire At OSCE Meeting in Vienna

By • on November 6, 2009

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ICLA has been accused of hate speech in the plenary session at the OSCE Gender Equality meeting in Vienna.  This accusation, from COJEP, is the result of ICLA circulating Sam Solomon’s ‘Proposed Charter of Muslim Understanding’ at a previous meeting in Vienna.  They have now resorted to name-calling, referring to ICLA as a ‘so-called NGO’.  They are upset that the ‘Proposed Charter for Muslim Understanding’ asks Muslims to distance themselves from certain suras in the Qur’an.

The Charter provides an opportunity for moderate Muslims to distance themselves from Islamist ideology.  It allows them to reassure wider society that it is only a small minority that advocates violence.  If more Muslim individuals and groups came forward to sign the charter then it would go a long way to alleviate the fears that many now feel with regard to Islam in the West.  It is a tool to break down barriers and build bridges and should be received in this spirit.  To complain about this pro human rights Charter perhaps says more about the accuser than it does about the subject of the complaint.  The Charter speaks for itself and should be accepted by Islamic groups who are serious about respecting the values of modern Western society.

In issues relevant to the current meeting, the Moderator of the afternoon session was unhappy about an intervention from a counter jihad delegate that asked for a working group to be set up to look at the issue of violence in Islam.  The Moderator suggested that ‘monocausality’, that is blaming the problem of violence against women on a single factor, in this case Islam, does not do justice to the problem.  Another speaker suggested that problems within marriage don’t have anything to do with religion, but rather relate to the issue of whose rights are infringed.  The Keynote speaker in the afternoon session agreed that a working group needs to be set up to look at the issue of violence in Islam.

During the wrap up session the Austrian delegate took the floor and complained about discussion culture that prevailed at the meeting. In particular he expressed concern at the way that telling the truth had been depicted as hate speech.  He suggested that this attitude was unacceptable and that there are certain groups that condone violence and that this needs to be looked into if the problem of violence is to be solved.

More details on the Counter Jihad mission to the Gender Equality meeting can be found over at Gates of Vienna:

The OSCE: Islam and Violence Against Women

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