In the aftermath of the recent
A bold statement considering most other politicians shy away from the subject.
While Blair’s comments may have opened the door for greater public debate, he followed his pronouncement by backtracking with a standard clarification of his meaning.
In an article in the Mail Blair wrote, “There is not a problem with Islam. For those of us who have studied it, there is no doubt about its true and peaceful nature. There is not a problem with Muslims in general. Most in
Blair now serves as envoy to the Middle East on behalf of what is known as the “Quartet” (the United Nations, the
The term “Islamophobia” has made its way into mainstream dialogue, but it is a word that is difficult to define. As with “racism”, perception is frequently based upon political ideology without addressing the true nature of the question.
In a era when parsing words has become the national pastime, getting to the “truth” of anything is a major hurdle because we are no longer able to get honest answers about anything.
If “truth” is the primary qualifier to what determines Islamophobia and what does not, then it seems to be a simple question to answer. The trouble comes when officials like Mr. Blair add a qualifier whenever they do speak up. That alone should be enough to define the impact of Islamophobia.
It is a fact that Lee Rigby was beheaded in the streets of
In March 2011, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) introduced something called Resolution 16/18 which was initially greeted as a victory for free speech by Western countries. At first glance the resolution seemed to propose a departure from suppressing critical speech against any religion to fighting discrimination and violence against individuals based upon their religious beliefs.
That is the way it was interpreted by the West. However, as pointed out in this column on June 3, nothing is ever the way it appears when negotiating in the Islamic world. Everything is always slightly off-center. Once again the West was snookered by an OIC proposal.
What the OIC was really presenting was a long term goal to protect Islam, and only Islam, from defamatory speech and to criminalize any speech that put Islam and Muslims in a negative light. In other words, it was a strategic move by the OIC to institute global blasphemy laws that was written in way that made it seem agreeable to the West and open for interpretation.
Awareness of the dangers of Resolution 16/18 is growing, however. The U.N. Human Rights Council recently adopted a new Resolution A/HRC/22L 40 which keeps the same title as Resolution 16/18 with some alarmingly dangerous new elements.
One example is the assertion that “terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.” While that seems harmless enough, it creates a significant problem since the overwhelming majority of terrorist activity is carried out by Islamic extremists.
Is it Islamophobia to point that out or is it simply the truth? Everyone knows the answer. Even Tony Blair. Yet, we persist in either being politically correct or failing to speak out in fear of the consequences while all the while hoping the problem will disappear.
Islam has been around for 14 centuries. It is not going to disappear.
Muslims who pray in the streets of
Islamic terrorism exists. It is a fact of contemporary life. Denying it will not change it, and calling it Islamophobia is not facing reality.
At least Tony Blair had the courage to speak out a little. Now he, and other world leaders must step up and become even more outspoken.
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Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in
Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@magellantravelclub.com Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.
As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 71 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in
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