Well, the League of Arab States has released its Revised Charter Of Human Rights, and it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a bunch of Islamic states:
Based on the faith of the Arab nation in the dignity of the human person whom God has exalted ever since the beginning of creation and in the fact that the Arab homeland is the cradle of religions and civilizations whose lofty human values affirm the human right to a decent life based on freedom, justice and equality,
In furtherance of the eternal principles of fraternity, equality and tolerance among human beings consecrated by the noble Islamic religion and the other divinely-revealed religions,
Being proud of the humanitarian values and principles that the Arab nation has established throughout its long history, which have played a major role in spreading knowledge between East and West, so making the region a point of reference for the whole world and a destination for seekers of knowledge and wisdom,…
Yup, human civilization might — MIGHT — trace itself back to that region, but it outgrew that cradle a long, long time ago. And a cradle is just a bit confining for anyone besides a child.
Equality and tolerance? Tell that to women, Jews, African animists, and — quite often — Christians who have the great misfortune to live under Islamic rule.
And what was the last great development, technology, innovation, or scholarly thought to come out of the Islamic world? Gimme some that date within the last 500 years or so.
Just look at the way they fight. They use AK-47s and their derivatives (Russian), cell phones (Western, mainly Finland and the US), RPGs (Russian again), and a whole slew of Western technology. It’s a tacit admission that they’re incapable of even coming close to our level of technology.
Rejecting all forms of racism and Zionism, which constitute a violation of human rights and a threat to international peace and security,…
Hey, Zionism is racism! There’s a golden oldie that was a big hit back in the 70’s! God forbid the Jews should think that they are entitled to a homeland of their own, in the place where they got their start and where they’ve lived for millennia. And never mind that Arabs and Muslims are not only better off in Israel than Jews in any Muslim nation, but better off than their brother Muslims in those Muslim nations, Zionism is racism, and racism is bad. In fact, it’s the worst of all evils.
So, what are the goals of this declaration?
1. To place human rights at the centre of the key national concerns of Arab States, making them lofty and fundamental ideals that shape the will of the individual in Arab States and enable him to improve his life in accordance with noble human values.
I know that, in most cases, the use of the masculine pronoun is merely stylistic, and is not intended to reject the feminine. But in this case it pretty much is as the feminists often protest: the role of women in Islamic culture is that of valued property, not human beings.
2. To teach the human person in the Arab States pride in his identity, loyalty to his country, attachment to his land, history and common interests and to instill in him a culture of human brotherhood, tolerance and openness towards others, in accordance with universal principles and values and with those proclaimed in international human rights instruments.
That tolerance, of course, does not extend to those non-Muslims who violate Muslim laws in their non-Muslim nations. They don’t count as “human persons” and need to be punished. Beheading is the method of choice, but stabbing, bombing, shooting, and other ways of killing are also acceptable — the important thing is that the inhuman infidel be put to death for his heresy.
3. To prepare the new generations in Arab States for a free and responsible life in a civil society that is characterized by solidarity, founded on a balance between awareness of rights and respect for obligations, and governed by the values of equality, tolerance and moderation.
Gee, is this a tacit admission that the Arab States don’t currently allow a “free responsible life in a civil society that is characterized by solidarity, founded on a balance between awareness of rights and respect for others, and governed by the values of equality, tolerance, and moderation?” Sounds like someone got a little careless there and let out the awkward truth.
4. To entrench the principle that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.
Especially the rights of Muslims to not be offended by anything, and to do whatever they deem necessary to punish those who offend them — preferably in as gory a manner as possible. This right supersedes all others, and is the linchpin for all interactions betweeen Muslims and non-Muslims. (Review the history of blacks in the South — from before the Civil War through the Civil Rights movement — for some examples.)
That’s Article 1. Here are some choice bits of Article 2:
1. All peoples have the right of self-determination and to control over their natural wealth and resources, and the right to freely choose their political system and to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
That’s why the Muslim world is utterly bereft of monarchies, dictatorships, and hereditary rulers, and why there is such turnover in Arab leaders. One can’t swing a dead camel in the Middle East without hitting at least three Muslim democracies, and not one Muslim leader has held office for more than six or seven years.
Just ask the King of Saudi Arabia, the Emir of Kuwait, the King of Jordan, the dictator of Syria, the “president” of Egypt, the Sultan of Brunei…
2. All peoples have the right to national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Including the Jews, I presume.
3. All forms of racism, Zionism and foreign occupation and domination constitute an impediment to human dignity and a major barrier to the exercise of the fundamental rights of peoples; all such practices must be condemned and efforts must be deployed for their elimination.
Whoops, my bad.
4. All peoples have the right to resist foreign occupation.
This should come as a great relief to the people of Lebanon, who have to deal with both Syrian and Palestinian occupiers. But that is “Muslim on Muslim” oppression, so it’s OK.
And now for Article 3!
1. Each State party to the present Charter undertakes to ensure to all individuals subject to its jurisdiction the right to enjoy the rights and freedoms set forth herein, without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religious belief, opinion, thought, national or social origin, wealth, birth or physical or mental disability.
As long as those uppity women, dhimmi, and other non-Muslim men remember to keep their place.
3. Men and women are equal in respect of human dignity, rights and obligations within the framework of the positive discrimination established in favour of women by the Islamic Shariah, other divine laws and by applicable laws and legal instruments. Accordingly, each State party pledges to take all the requisite measures to guarantee equal opportunities and effective equality between men and women in the enjoyment of all the rights set out in this Charter.
I was wondering how they’d handle that, and I have to admit that I’m impressed. What an incredible weaseling — “within the framework of the positive discrimination established in favour of women by the Islamic Shariah, other divine laws and by applicable laws and legal instruments.” This means that women have the right to at least two Muslim men as witnesses when they are raped, the right to be escorted at all times by at least one male relative, the right to marry whomever their family chooses, the right to be divorced at any time their husband chooses, the right to be considered valuable property, the right to cover almost every inch of skin when they are in public, the right to be beaten by their husbands… why, I don’t know why NOW and the rest of the Western feminist movement don’t embrace Shariah law and push for it here — for the benefit of women, of course.
Article 4 has the ultimate weaseling, of course:
1. In exceptional situations of emergency which threaten the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States parties to the present Charter may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Charter, to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.
In other words, this whole thing — with some largely meaningless exceptions — can be set aside at whim.
I could go on (and I very well might, at a later time), but for now, that is all I can stomach.
This reads a whole lot more flowery and high-faluting than similar documents in the West — but gimme the classics any time.
Update: link added. Why didn’t anyone point that out to me?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.