Center for Inquiry Joint statement with International Humanist and Ethical union UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: 21st Session 10 – 28 September 2012 Speaker: CFI Representative, Raheel Raza, Friday 14 September 2012 Agenda Item 2/3: Reports on Somalia and Northern Mali Islamic Extremism and the OIC

 Madam President

The reports on Somalia [A/HRC/21/36] and Northern Mali [A/HRC/21/64] highlight a far wider problem that we are also witnessing in Libya, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia: the excesses of those dedicated to violent, extremist interpretations of Islam. The destruction of Sufi shrines and the imposition of strict sharia in northern Mali; the targeted killings already this year of more than 400 Shias Muslim in Pakistan, and the appalling use of blasphemy laws in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to silence, imprison and incite violence against those of different faiths, are all symptoms of this disease. When and how did the religion of peace become transformed in to a religion of violence and extremism? Well, Madam President, we don’t have very far to look.

For more than 30 years, extremist interpretations of Islam have been promoted and funded by Saudi Arabia, a member State of this Council. Can the failure of the OIC to effectively tackle this problem possibly be related to the fact that the OIC itself receives substantial funding from the same source? Madam President, extremism and violence carried out in the name of Islam are doing more than any actions of the West to fan the flames of hatred against Islam. Since 1979 the benign faith of our grandparents has been hijacked by politicians, governments and well-funded militias to promote extremism, violence and terror.

So the key question for the OIC is this: Will they continue to bleat about Islamophobia in the West whilst ignoring Islamic extremism at home, or is it too much to hope that they will finally decide that enough is enough, and take positive steps to tackle the problem at its source? Thank you Madam President