It likely comes as little surprise to anyone who follows the EU bureaucrats in Brussels that they enjoy cracking down on what they consider hate speech. The latest push for regulation in the EU will apparently involve hate speech directed toward Muslims.
At least that’s the takeaway from Mohammed al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League. In an interview with Reuters, al-Issa said Europe should do a better job integrating migrants and said that the EU ought to ban hate.
“Europe must do more to assimilate Muslim immigrant populations and criminalise religious hate speech, said the head of a global Muslim missionary society trying to help Saudi Arabia mend its reputation as a promoter of intolerant ideology,” Stephen Kalin and Michael Georgy of Reuters wrote.
“We believe that European countries, where there is much debate now, and other countries around the world … need to enhance national assimilation programs and criminalize hatred and contempt for adherents of religions because this threatens the safety of the community,” al-Issa said.
“The League has programs and curricula that enhance national assimilation and which can courageously and forcefully confront all forms of extremism, as well as special programs to thwart efforts to infiltrate the Muslim community.”
Now, before I begin my dissection of the MWL and certain Quranic suras, let’s acknowledge the obvious: there’s no denying that hate groups that are explicitly anti-Muslim have flourished in Europe in the past few years. The English Defense League, PEGIDA and Stop Islamization of Europe have all excised some influence on Europe’s polity, particularly since the start of the migrant crisis. How much of a threat these odious groups pose to European Muslims is a matter of debate, but the point is that there is a political element in Europe that isn’t just critical of Islam but actively anti-Muslim.
Now that we’re on the same page about this, let’s talk about Saudi Arabia, the Muslim World League and certain problematic parts of the Quran which — if taken literally — constitute religious hate speech.
Take Saudi Arabia. In spite of Mohammed bin Salman’s supposed reforms (which are questionable at best, but I digress), apostasy and blasphemy against Islam still remain punishable by death in the kingdom, which sounds an awful lot like “hatred and contempt for adherents of religions.” (LGBT rights and free speech aren’t looked upon too favorably either, but that’s a story for another day.)
Oh, yes, and then there’s the Muslim World League. As Reuters notes, both the MWL and its state sponsors in the House of Saud “have been accused for decades of spreading the strict Wahhabi strain of Islam, often criticized as the philosophical basis for radical Islamist militancy worldwide … Critics say the mosques and Islamic centres around the world controlled by the MWL promote intolerance and hatred of some religions and Muslim sects — a charge the group denies.”
Of course, if they wanted to ban religious intolerance, they could always start with their own holy book:
“(T)he Christians say the Christ is the son of God … may God’s curse be upon them!” — Quran 9:30.
“Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for God is Exalted in Power, Wise.” — Quran, Sura 4:56.
“Those (Christians and Jews) are they whom God hath cursed. And those whom God Hath cursed, thou wilt find, have no one to help.” — Quran, Sura 4:52
Now, these aren’t the most violent parts of the holy book, but they are the parts that demonstrate that, yes, there are bigoted suras within the Quran that specifically encourage the kind of religious intolerance al-Issa is presumably talking about.
There are two things to note here. First, among the holy books, the Quran is the only one that specifically calls out other religions in hyper-violent language like this.
Second, there’s no shortage of hate preachers, both in Europe and abroad, willing to use those suras to foment extremism. When men like Anjem Choudary and Abu Hamza use these Quranic passages, they’re trying to get people to go to Syria and Iraq and shoot down jets.
In short, al-Issa isn’t just calling for a ban on groups like PEGIDA and the English Defense League. If this ban was applied across the board, it would definitively ban hate preachers. It would also ban the Muslim World League, which has a history of extremism.
Now, of course, such legislation would be childish and accomplish roughly nothing. Groups like PEGIDA and hate preachers are already looked upon with scorn and are doubtlessly infiltrated with scads of government narcs. If anything, the latter seems to pose a greater threat to both Europe and the world at large, given the number of exports to the Islamic State group and recent terror attacks in Paris, London and Nice. This is a moot point, however, given the uselessness of banning speech that doesn’t directly incite violence.
However, it is interesting to see an emissary for Islam propose something that would likely end up with his group, a lot of his co-religionists and the very book they believe to be the word of Allah getting banned along with the undesirable elements they wish to silence.
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