Saturday, March 17, 2007

Why does the Islamic world support the mass murder of Muslims in Darfur? (Adam LeBor)

What has been going on in Darfur since 2003-2004 (and now eastern Chad as well) constitutes, by far, the most large-scale ongoing mass murder of Muslims anywhere in the world. So far, the overwhelming response by governments and public opinion in the Arab world and the larger Muslim world has ranged from indifference to active support for the genocidal regime in Khartoum. (There have been scattered exceptions. For some protests against this situation by Arabs and Muslims, see here & here & here.) As Adam LeBor points out, this matters. It matters a great deal.
Question: When do Muslim states deem the lives of fellow Muslims not worth saving? Answer: When they are black Africans.

Islam holds that all Muslims, no matter what their colour or ethnic origin, are equal members of the umma, the community of believers. [....] The 57 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) seem to think otherwise.

The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, this week issued its report on the continuing slaughter in Darfur. Echoing the findings of previous UN investigations, it documented how Sudanese government forces and their proxy militia, the Janjawid, are committing murder, mass rape and kidnap: [....]

Since the start of the conflict in spring 2003, more than 400,000 people have been killed, or died of disease or malnutrition, while more than two million have been made homeless. The Fur, Zaghawa and Massalit ethnic groups of Darfur, Sunni Muslims, are victims of the first genocide of the 21st century — their menfolk massacred, their women raped, their villages razed, their children thrown into burning houses. Their tormentors abuse them as abid, Arabic for slave, or zurka, meaning “dirty black”. The Prophet’s sermon does not resonate in Darfur.

Sudan demanded that the report be rejected by the UN’s Human Rights Council. You might expect, with all the furore about the abuses of Muslims in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere, that the OIC would welcome the report. You would be wrong. The OIC rejected the report. It demanded that it should not considered by the Human Rights Council. [....]

So continues Darfur’s danse macabre, helpfully choreographed by Sudan’s allies. The Arab and Muslim world’s continuing indulgence of Sudan’s onslaught has been a big factor in weakening the UN’s sporadic efforts to stop the carnage. The Security Council did not even discuss Darfur until April 2004, a full year into the crisis. “Sudan was initially very successful at keeping itself off the Security Council agenda, with the full support of the Arab group,” said one UN official working on Darfur.

For many Muslim governments the weary reflexes of anti-colonialism still triumph over saving lives. Far better to show solidarity with Khartoum than cede an inch to Western concepts of human rights — because that would set a dangerous precedent for the decrepit monarchies and dictatorships that rule much of the Arab and Muslim world.

Does it matter which resolutions are passed or opposed in the labyrinthine UN bureaucracy? It does. During the Bosnian War, Muslim countries exerted sustained pressure at the UN on the Western powers to intervene against the Serbs. Pakistan and Turkey, in particular, were vocal defenders of Bosnia, attempting, unsuccessfully, to toughen up the Security Council resolutions. Madeleine Albright, then US Ambassador to the UN, recalled how she witnessed US prestige draining away over the West’s failure to save Bosnian Muslims. The growing Muslim anger over Bosnia eventually galvanised President Clinton and Nato into action.

Muslim states, especially Pakistan and Algeria, which have sat on the Security Council during this crisis, have consistently watered down the same type of resolutions over Darfur that a decade ago they tried to strengthen for Bosnia. Rather than issue sanctions against Sudan, the members of the Human Rights Council repeatedly condemn Israel. All of this Sudan, correctly, interprets as a licence to carry on slaughtering.

There is much talk of what the West must do to save Darfur. Whatever our obligations, the crisis is also a chance for the Islamic world to save lives. It’s a tragedy for the people of Darfur, for all of us, that the hypocrisy and double-standards of the OIC make this an opportunity wasted.
Read the whole thing.

--Jeff Weintraub

=========================
London Times (Online)
March 17, 2007
When Muslims ignore the Prophet
Don’t have a black skin and come from Darfur

Adam LeBor

Adam LeBor is author of Complicity with Evil: the United Nations in the Age of Modern Genocide

Question: When do Muslim states deem the lives of fellow Muslims not worth saving? Answer: When they are black Africans.

Islam holds that all Muslims, no matter what their colour or ethnic origin, are equal members of the umma, the community of believers. “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a nonArab over an Arab, also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black over a white, except by piety and good action,” said the Prophet Muhammad in his last sermon. The 57 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) seem to think otherwise.

The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, this week issued its report on the continuing slaughter in Darfur. Echoing the findings of previous UN investigations, it documented how Sudanese government forces and their proxy militia, the Janjawid, are committing murder, mass rape and kidnap: “The situation is characterised by gross and systematic violations of human rights and grave breaches of international law.”

Since the start of the conflict in spring 2003, more than 400,000 people have been killed, or died of disease or malnutrition, while more than two million have been made homeless. The Fur, Zaghawa and Massalit ethnic groups of Darfur, Sunni Muslims, are victims of the first genocide of the 21st century — their menfolk massacred, their women raped, their villages razed, their children thrown into burning houses. Their tormentors abuse them as abid, Arabic for slave, or zurka, meaning “dirty black”. The Prophet’s sermon does not resonate in Darfur.

Sudan demanded that the report be rejected by the UN’s Human Rights Council. You might expect, with all the furore about the abuses of Muslims in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere, that the OIC would welcome the report. You would be wrong. The OIC rejected the report. It demanded that it should not considered by the Human Rights Council. In fact, the OIC says, the report does not even exist.

Babacar Ba, the OIC’s representative to the UN in Geneva, said: “We didn’t recognise the mission to have fulfilled its mandate and we rejected the report.”

Instead, the OIC argued that the report was, in UN parlance, a “nonreport”. Why? Because the investigators did not visit Darfur. Why did they not visit Darfur? Because the Sudanese Government refused to issue them visas. The answer, the OIC and Sudan agree, is to dispatch a new mission, its members to be approved by Sudan and doubtless to agree, as Khartoum claims, that the situation is “improving”.

So continues Darfur’s danse macabre, helpfully choreographed by Sudan’s allies. The Arab and Muslim world’s continuing indulgence of Sudan’s onslaught has been a big factor in weakening the UN’s sporadic efforts to stop the carnage. The Security Council did not even discuss Darfur until April 2004, a full year into the crisis. “Sudan was initially very successful at keeping itself off the Security Council agenda, with the full support of the Arab group,” said one UN official working on Darfur.

For many Muslim governments the weary reflexes of anti-colonialism still triumph over saving lives. Far better to show solidarity with Khartoum than cede an inch to Western concepts of human rights — because that would set a dangerous precedent for the decrepit monarchies and dictatorships that rule much of the Arab and Muslim world.

Does it matter which resolutions are passed or opposed in the labyrinthine UN bureaucracy? It does. During the Bosnian War, Muslim countries exerted sustained pressure at the UN on the Western powers to intervene against the Serbs. Pakistan and Turkey, in particular, were vocal defenders of Bosnia, attempting, unsuccessfully, to toughen up the Security Council resolutions. Madeleine Albright, then US Ambassador to the UN, recalled how she witnessed US prestige draining away over the West’s failure to save Bosnian Muslims. The growing Muslim anger over Bosnia eventually galvanised President Clinton and Nato into action.

Muslim states, especially Pakistan and Algeria, which have sat on the Security Council during this crisis, have consistently watered down the same type of resolutions over Darfur that a decade ago they tried to strengthen for Bosnia. Rather than issue sanctions against Sudan, the members of the Human Rights Council repeatedly condemn Israel. All of this Sudan, correctly, interprets as a licence to carry on slaughtering.

There is much talk of what the West must do to save Darfur. Whatever our obligations, the crisis is also a chance for the Islamic world to save lives. It’s a tragedy for the people of Darfur, for all of us, that the hypocrisy and double-standards of the OIC make this an opportunity wasted.

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