Saturday, May 02, 2009

This is NOT freedom of expression. A response to the International Islamic Fiqh Academy

The Orwellian use of language by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in their most recent communiqué is almost breathtaking.

For those who are wondering who I am talking about, the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) is an offshoot of the Jeddah-based Organization of the Islamic Conference. The IIFA is a body consisting of scholars and jurists of the Muslim world that focus on issues presented by the contemporary world and propose Islamic answer to those problems.

In this year’s meeting, the issue of freedom of religion and freedom of expression were key issues.  In a communiqué released at the conclusion of its international five-day conference on Islamic jurisprudence in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates on Thursday, IIFA recommended that Muslim countries enact laws that allow freedom of expression and not to exploit freedom to malign Islam and its sacred symbols or cause chaos in society. 

Note the use of the word allow.  True rights are not allowed.  They are recognized and acknowledged. No one can give you rights and no one can take them away.  True rights are inherent; you are are born with them simply because you are human.

According to Arab News, the IIFA communiqué defined freedom of expression as the expression of views on personal or public matters that are beneficial to society and the person communicating the views. “Freedom of expression is a protected right in Islam to be practiced within certain legal restraints,” the statement said. These legal restraints were defined as not abusing the dignity of others, adherence to truth and objectivity, and not being irresponsible. The communiqué further urged Muslim countries to strive to persuade other countries to make laws to protect sacred religious symbols of Islam and stop distorting them in the name of freedom.

This is not freedom of expression. This is a call to suppress all expression that disturbs the Umma (the Islamic community or nation).  The only freedom “allowed” by the IIFA is the freedom to be a Muslim, to speak favourably about Islam, to promote Islam or, alternatively, to shut up and say nothing at all.  Again, this is not freedom; this is Newspeak with an Islamic spin where inherent rights are allowed privileges, the suppression of rights is called the protection of rights, and where the expression of one’s ideas can only be legitimate if it agrees with what the Islamic society believes.

1 comment:

J. Habakuk Jephson said...

IIFA's views on freedom of expression sound disturbingly similar to those of Ed Stelmach. Go to and see his posts from the last week of April.