"Islamophobia" and the defamation of Islam are the most conspicuous forms of racism and intolerance today, and a global U.N. conference on racism planned for 2009 should come up with practical solutions to deal with them, an Islamic bloc representative told a preparatory meeting in Geneva Monday.Islamophobia is, of course, a construction by activist Muslim organisations used as a label against enemies of its violent, expansionist doctrine.
The 2009 meeting is intended to review a U.N. conference on racism, held in Durban, South Africa, just days before 9/11, but the 56-nation Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC) wants Islam to be high on the agenda.
"The world since 2001 has not remained static and witnessed new forms of racism and racial discrimination," Pakistan's representative to the U.N., Masood Khan, said at a meeting of the planning body, or "prepcom bureau," according to prepared remarks.
Speaking on behalf of the OIC, Khan told the meeting that "there has been a stark rise in hate crimes, discrimination, racial profiling and intolerance against Muslims in many countries."
He also said the 2009 gathering should focus on "the continued plight of Palestinian people and non-recognition of their inalienable right to self-determination."
Khan's reference to the Palestinian situation suggests that if the planning body has its way, the review conference may echo a major theme of the 2001 Durban meeting. Critics, including the U.S. government, said the Durban conference was tarnished by a strong anti-Israel bias, as some participants tried to revive the U.N.'s earlier "Zionism equals racism" position.
The 2009 meeting is currently being called the "Durban review conference." Critics have labeled it "Durban II" - not a reference to the venue, which has yet to be decided, but because they predict a repeat of some of the controversies that prompted a walk-outby the U.S. delegation in 2001.
The Hudson Institute's "Eye on the U.N." project, which is observing the process in Geneva, described it Monday as the U.N.'s "latest anti-Jewish and anti-American extravaganza."
U.N.-watchers' concerns have been reinforced by the appointment of Libya to chair the prepcom bureau, and the inclusion among its 20 members of countries such as Cuba, Iran and Pakistan. The countries were elected by the U.N. Human Rights Council, a body, which has itself been criticized by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others for a skewed emphasis on Israel.
Iran's delegate, Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, referred in his speech Monday to "new forms of racism" after 9/11, "under the pretext of so-called war against terror."
The envoy for another prepcom bureau member, Egypt, speaking on behalf of the African nations, raised concerns including "the Israeli occupation of Palestine" and the publication by a Danish newspaper of cartoons caricaturing Mohammed, "which deeply hurt over a billion Muslims around the world."
The Egyptian delegate also decried the "largely insufficient" steps taken since 2001 "to redress and reverse the situation of the descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade."
Along with Zionism, slavery was one of the issues that caused dissent in Durban.
The document that came out of the Durban conference "note[d] that some States have taken the initiative to apologize and have paid reparation, where appropriate, for grave and massive violations committed [in the slave trade]."
"We further note that some have taken the initiative of regretting or expressing remorse or presenting apologies, and call on all those who have not yet contributed to restoring the dignity of the victims to find appropriate ways to do so ..." it added.
When part of the evidence are the cartoons published in a Danish newspaper you know that the intolerance bar will be set at an intolerantly low level.