Sunday, May 22, 2005

A heartening sign of dissent in Muslim world

Sometime this past winter, three prominent Arab intellectuals sent a letter to Kofi Annan and the U.N. Security Council calling for the creation of a new international court for the prosecution of those accused of inciting hatred and violence. It came with a petition signed by thousands of liberals across the Muslim world. A very good omen. Here's a translation of a letter. To bolster their argument, the writers include several instances of clerics using fatwas to encourage attacks.

Here's an excerpt:
[W]e, the signatories of this letter, a group of Arab and Muslim liberals, would like to draw your attention to an extremely dangerous source of terrorism. This source is the purported religious pronouncements “fatwas” issued by some psychotic members of dogmatic Muslims encouraging the commission of terrorist acts in the name of and under the banner of Islam. It is not enough for the Security Council to adopt resolutions “condemning” terrorism. What will be more effective is the establishment of an International Tribunal affiliated to the UN organization for the prosecution of individuals, groups, or entities involved, directly or indirectly, with terrorist activities including, but not limited to, “fatwas” issued by religious clerics in the name of Islam calling upon Muslims to commit terrorist acts.
One good reason to abandon the Left is that the Left has abandoned true liberals like the brave men who wrote this letter. If they get any help from Americans, it will be from the Bushes and the Wolfowitzes, not from the Moores and the Chomskys. It is also interesting how little attention this call for action has received from the mainstream media. The Associated Press, Daniel Pipes and Middle East Transparent reported on the letter--and now it seems that Kofi Annan has gone and dropped it down the memory hole. Even so, let's hope the petitioners succeed. The U.N. has all the initiative of a tree stump, but perhaps someone at slightly less lethargic International Criminal Court will see fit to take up the issue.


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