Criticism of suicide bombers censored at the UN

  • post Type / Humanists International News
  • Date / 26 July 2005

IHEU today attempted to call on the United Nations to condemn killing in the name of religion, but were prevented from doing so by the heavy-handed intervention of Islamic representatives. The IHEU call, at today’s meeting of the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, follows moves by Islamic clerics to legitimise the current wave of terror attacks.

At this afternoon’s meeting, IHEU representative David Littman attempted to deliver a prepared text in the joint names of three international NGOs: the Association for World Education, the Association of World Citizens, and IHEU, but was prevented from doing so by the intervention of Islamic members of the Sub-Commission. After repeated interruptions he was unable to complete his speech.

The Islamic members of the Sub-Commission objected to the speech as an attack on Islam. The text however(attached) is a report on recent critical comment on Islamist extremism by a number of notable Muslim writers and is a call to the UN Human Rights Commission by the NGOs “to condemn calls to kill, to terrorise or to use violence in the name of God or any religion”.

The text referred to recent decisions by high-ranking Muslim clerics confirming that those who carry out suicide bombings cannot be treated as apostates and remain Muslims(1), a fatwa by a Saudi cleric that innocent Britons were a legitimate target for terrorist action(2), and remarks by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, dean of the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Qatar University who has visited Britain, that terror attacks are permissible.

Commenting on this censorship, Roy Brown, President of IHEU said:
“This is part and parcel of the refusal by the Islamic representatives at the UN to condemn the suicide bombers, or to accept any criticism of those who kill innocent people in the name of God.

These actions follow the refusal of the Islamic states at the meeting of the Commission in April to condemn those who kill in the name of religion, and to categorise their attempts to criticise Islamic terrorists as “defamation of religion”.
“It is high time”, Mr Brown insisted “that the Islamic States at the UN recognised that the suicide bombers are acting in the name of their religion, and to unequivocally condemn their actions.”

The text of the speech that was censored follows:

Case Postale 205 – 1196 Gland – Switzerland

STATEMENT: Representative David G. LITTMAN. Tuesday (pm) 26 July 2005
57th SESSION: UN SUB-COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (25 July – 12 August 2005)

[The words in brackets were not read in the 10 minutes time allotted for a joint statement of 3 NGOs.]

Sir, this is a joint statement on behalf of the Association for World Education, the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the Association of World Citizens.

It is appropriate to speak out during item 2 against a taboo subject at the United Nations: the radical Ideology of Jihad that includes calls for killing and terrorism in the name of God.

[The annotated agenda refers to the Commissions’s basic resolution 8 (XXIII) of 16 March 1967, § 2 which requests: “information on violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms from all available sources for the use of the Commission“; and it goes on to request, from the Sub-Commission, “to bring to the attention of the Commission any situation which it had reasonable cause to believe revealed a consistent pattern of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any country including policies of racial discrimination, apartheid and…”]

On 18 July a fatwa was issued by the British Muslim Forum, approved by 500 UK Muslim clerics, scholars and imams. Before quoting the Koran, it stated that: “Islam strictly, strongly and severely condemns the use of violence and the destruction of innocent lives… Such acts, as perpetrated in London, are crimes against humanity and contrary to the teachings of Islam.” [1]

It has been argued that those who issue fatwas to kill innocent people in the name of Islam are not real Muslims [and should be treated as apostates]. But just before the London massacres a major conference of 170 Muslim scholars from 40 countries meeting in Amman, Jordan gave an opinion in a Final Communiqué, dated 6 July: It is not possible to declare these people apostates – they are Muslims. [The decision reads: “It is not possible to declare as apostates any group of Muslims who believes in Allah the Mighty and Sublime and His Messenger (may Peace and Blessing be upon him) and the pillars of faith, and respects the pillars of Islam and does not deny any necessary article of religion.”] [2] In this specific context, we advise members and others to read the report just published by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S.), entitled: “Islamic Legitimacy for the London Bombings.” [3]

On 18 April at the 61st session of the Commission, we organised a Parallel NGO Conference was held, entitled: [u]Victims of Jihad: Muslims, Dhimmis, Apostates, and Women[/u]. The matters debated during eight hours at the conference by historians, writers, and human rights defenders are of crucial interest for the human rights of all. The dire effects of the extremist Ideology of Jihad presented at the Conference have been adapted as written statements for the Sub-Commission and are here available; these 10 statements and 5 related ones are listed below with their titles.

They include a background historical analysis of Jihad by Dutch academic Johannes Jansen of Utrecht University; of Negationism by Bat Ye’or: specialist on Jihad, dhimmis,’dhimmitude’ and author of a recent book Eurabia [2005]; of the treatment of Apostasy in Islamic law and its inconsistency with International Human Rights Instruments by Ibn Warraq; and of women in Islam by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dutch Parliamentarian, writer of “Submission,” a TV film produced with Theo van Gogh, who was slaughtered in an Amsterdam street last November by a fanatical Islamist.


* * * * *

In our written statement E/CN.4/Sub.2/2005/NGO/4, we provide a warning by Dr. Ahmad Abu Matar, a Palestinian academic residing in Oslo, published on a reformist website the day before our NGO Conference. He stated that many Muslims in Europe foster conflict instead of coexistence and that they are being influenced by an extremist fundamentalist brand of Islam – and moderate Muslims are not speaking out adequately against this activity. [4] [See also our written statements: E/CN.4/Sub.2/2005/NGO/2 and E/CN.4/Sub.2/2005/NGO/3]

Mr. Chairman, the most essential and basic human right is the right to life! Several NGO appeals have been made to both the Commission and the Sub-Commission to condemn calls or references to God in order to justify any form of violence or hatred, and the use of any appeal to religion to kill civilians: men, women and children – but to no avail. [e.g. 1999 Spiritual Appeal, confirmed at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Geneva in 2003 by representatives of all religious faiths.]

[In 1981, an Islamic explanation on ‘Holy Jihad’ was published as a UN General Assembly document after the 3rd Islamic Summit Conference in Mecca on 25-28 January 1981 (see GA doc. A/36/138 – Jerusalem / Al-Quds). It explains “to the world that Holy Jihad is an Islamic concept which may not be misinterpreted or misconstrued, and that the practical measures to put it into effect would be in accordance with that concept and by incessant consultations among Islamic states.” After this clarification in a UN document, Jihadist bombings and hostage taking began the next year in southern Lebanon by Hizbullah, to be followed later by Hamas.]

16 years ago [5] we warned both the Commission and the Sub-Commission on the lethal danger of the genocidal 1988 Hamas Charter [co-authored by the late Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi]. The Charter’s slogan in article 8 – borrowed from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Charter of 1928 – has since become the Islamist blueprint for global terror. It declares that: “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its Constitution; Jihad is its path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.” Regrettably, this and other extremist Jihadist interpretations of Islam have been approved by several Muslim clerics worldwide, including Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, [dean of the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Qatar University] a senior spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood – and a personal friend of the Mayor of London. [6]

On 30 December 2002, before the war began, the then Hamas leader al-Rantisi posted a Hamas website appeal for Muslims to flood Iraq with martyr/shahid ‘Islamikaze’ [7] bombers. It stated: “The enemies of Allah… crave life while the Muslims crave martyrdom. The martyrdom operations that shock can ensure that horror is sowed in the [enemies’] hearts, and horror is one of the causes of defeat.” [8]

Only by an unambiguous public rejection of this murderous cult of hatred and death can the grave dangers of a clash of cultures and civilisations be avoided. On 24 Oct. 2004 thousands of moderate Muslims reacted in both print and websites against this cult of death. [Details of some reactions are in our E/CN.4/Sub.2/2005/NGO/3: English translations from MEMRI]

Such reactions greatly multiplied following the barbaric civilian carnage in London on 7 July. Amir Taheri, reputed author and columnist for a London Arab daily, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat made a crucial point: “Until we hear the voices of Muslims condemning attacks with no words [of qualification] such as ‘but’ and ‘if,’ the suicide bombers and the murderers will have an excuse to think that they enjoy the support of all Muslims. The real battle against the enemy of mankind will begin when the ‘silent majority’ in the Islamic world makes its voice heard against the murderers, and against those who brainwash them, and fund them.” [9]

This was followed on 9 July in the same Arab daily when Al-Arabiya TV Director-General Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed wrote, under the title [u]Expel Extremism Today[/u]: “For over 10 years now, I myself and other Arab writers have warned against the dangers of the reckless handling of the extremism that is now spreading like a plague within the British community. (…) Like many other diseases, extremism is a contagious one. (…) The British authority’s leniency regarding fundamentalist fascism has allowed many, including Arab and Muslim intellectuals and journalists, to adopt ideologies that promote extremism and defend criminals such as bin Laden and Al-Zarqawi. The situation has escalated to the extent that Arab and Muslim intellectuals fear the repercussions of condemning extremists. The battle we face is against the ideology, as opposed to against the terrorists themselves. (…) The time has come for British authorities to deal harshly with extremism, before complete chaos is un-leashed onto British society. In the past, we talked about stopping them. Now, it is time to expel.” [10]

We agree with both analyses. Those who brazenly justify their indiscriminate killing sprees in the name of Allah threaten the entire world with their crimes against humanity, cloaked and justified under the guise of Islamist Jihad Ideology. [11] British Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking in the House of Commons on 13 July, referred to this “extreme and evil ideology.” We have seen its devastating results in two dozen countries from New York to Bali; in the ongoing and indiscriminate slaughter in Iraq and Israel; not forgetting the hostages in the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow three years ago and the faces of the murdered children in Beslan.

Sir, all of humanity is concerned by these vile assaults on our common future. In the words of the English 17th century poet, John Donne, we are all “involved in Mankind.”

The time has come for the distinguished representatives of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Arab League, and individual Muslim religious and secular leaders to be heard at the United Nations, united in an unambiguous condemnation of those who defame Islam by calls to kill in the name of Allah, or of Islam – not just a condemnation of the acts, themselves. Indeed, the OIC and other States have an urgent responsibility to include such a condemnation in the resolution on the “defamation of religions” that they have sponsored since 1999 at the Commission.

After more outrageous bombings in London last Thursday, and the carnage at Sharm el-Sheikh last week and – despite security walls – more on the horizon, we solemnly call on all the members of this Sub-Commission to adopt a clear resolution by consensus, or a Chairman’s decision, in which any call to kill, to terrorise, or to use violence in the name of God or of any religion is categorically condemned.

In face of this gathering storm: a global Jihadist cult of hate, death and destruction against the “Other,” we are again reminded of the words of John Donne:

“And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”


1. BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk/4697365.stm Published: 2005/07/19 15:41:43 GMT

2. “Islam struggles to stake out its position,” by Judea Pearl, International Herald Tribune, 20 July 2005, page 8. This article first appeared in the Boston Globe. King Abdullah’s conference address is at: http://www.MaximNews.com

3. Dated 20 July 2005, prepared, edited and translated by Reuven Paz, Director and Editor of the Project for the Research of Islamic Movements (PPISM): http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/sib/7_05/london_b.htm

4. www.elaph.com (17 April 2005) http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP92105
MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series – No. 921, 10 June 2005.

5. 31 January 1989 at the 45th session UNCHR, holding Arabic & English texts of the Hamas Charter of 18 Aug. 1988.

6.”Britain acts to expel Muslim firebrands,” by Alan Cowell, International Herald Tribune, 21 July 2005, pp.1, 5.

7. Raphael Israeli, Islamikaze: Manifestations of Islamic Martyrology (London /Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2003)

8. MEMRI Special Dispatch Series – No. 457, 9 Jan. 2003. Extracts reproduced in E/CN/Sub.2/2004/NGO/25*. See also E/CN.4/Sub.2/2004/NGO/26 for references to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbullah, and Al-Qaeda.

9. Amir Taheri, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), 7 July 2005, translation in MEMRI Special Report, 8 July 2005 N° 36: http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sr&ID=SR3605:Arab Media Reactions to London Bombings: “A Chapter in Word War III”. Also Amir Taheri: “And this is why they do it”, in TimesOnline (London), 8 July 2005.

10. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), 9 July 2005. MEMRI Special Report – Jihad & Terrorism, 12 July 2005, No. 37 (Arab and Iranian Media Reactions to the London Bombing – Part II: “The Attacks Were Anticipated Due to British Leniency to Extremists Acting in Britain” / “Expel Extremism Today”: http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SR3705

11. In early July, Le Temps (Geneva) published a fascinating series of six one-page articles from a forthcoming book by Sylvain Besson, La Conquàªte de l’Occident. (Editions du Seuil, October 2005) Earlier this year appeared: Frères Musulmans: dans l’ombre d’Al-Qaeda by Emmanuel Razavi. Two recent books by Bat Ye’or will help those trying to find their way through this Islamist labyrinth: Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide (2002), and Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (2005) (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press / Associated University Presses for both books). See http://www.dhimmitude.org. For many articles by Bat Ye’or, and a whole section on “Human Rights and Human Wrongs at the United Nations,” (pp. 305-472), which includes four important texts on “Apostasy, Human Rights, Religion, and Belief: New Threats to Freedom of Opinion and Expression,” being the four presentations made at a Parallel Conference organised by the same three NGOs at the UNCHR on 7 April 2004, see Robert Spencer (Ed.), The Myth of Islamic Tolerance. How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims (New York: Prometheus Books, 2005), pp.428-52.

  1. Historical Background: Jihad Ideologies and their Muslim Victims – Prof. Johannes Jansen (Sub.2/2005/NGO/8)
    2. Muslim Victims of Jihad in the Sudan – Sudanese human rights activist Hamouda Bella (Sub.2/2005/NGO/16)
    3. The Culture of “Jihad and Martyrdom” in Egyptian School Textbooks – David G. Littman (Sub.2/2005/NGO/2)
    4. The Culture of Hate in Saudi Arabian Textbooks and Growing Arab Reactions – author DGL (Sub.2/2005/NGO/3)
    5. Jihad Ideology and Negationism lead to an Exclusion from Humanity – author Bat Ye’or (Sub.2/2005/NGO/31)
    6. Apostasy, Islam Law and Human Rights – Ibn Warraq, writer on Islam and Apostates (Sub.2/2005/NGO/6)
    7. Genocide and Slavery: Crimes Against Humanity in Sudan – Simon Deng, former slave (Sub.2/2005/NGO/15)
    8. Problems of Muslim Women and their Human Rights Defenders (Introduction: Women) (Sub.2/2005/NGO/5)
    9. The Plight of Muslim Women in Bangladesh, and other Muslim States – Taslima Nasreen (Sub.2/2005/NGO/28)
    10. Women Victims of Islam – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Member of Parliament (NL), Human Rts activist (Sub.2/2005/NGO/29)
    *11. Arab Criticism of Muslim Extremist Activities in the West – MEMRI (see NGO/2; NGO/3) (Sub.2/2005/NGO/4)
    *12. Written statement submitted by the Association for World Education (AWE) with the title: Background on “Traditional or Customary Practices”/Female Genital Mutilation (Sub.2/2005/NGO/27)
    (*) The 2 statements (with a single asterisk) were not adapted from the 18 April NGO Conference presentations.
    ** 13. Jihad & Martyrdom as taught in Egyptian primary/preparatory/secondary school text books (Sub.2/2004/NGO/27)
    ** 14. Hamas: Sheikh Yassin/al-Rantisi – UN & the grave worldwide cultural clash (Sub.2/2004/NGO/25*)
    ** 15. Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas/Hizbullah/Al-Qaeda:Terror Legacy of ‘Jihad-Martyrdom-Bombings’ (2004/ NGO/26)
    (**) The 3 written statements from the 56th Sub-Commission (2004) are listed here because of their direct relevance.
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