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The OSCE: Yet Another Avenue for Islamists to Control Speech
by Andrew E. Harrod and Adam Turner
Although more attention goes to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) prominent attempts to police speech in Western nations regarding Islam-related topics through the UN and the "Istanbul Process", Muslim and Islamist desires to restrict critical speech concerning Islam-related topics and promote a positive image of their religion have also played a role in yet another international organization's efforts to address the debate about Islam and Muslims. On October 28, 2011, a conference, titled: "Confronting Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims in Public Discourse," was held at the Vienna headquarters of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE is an international grouping encompassing 56 states from North America (Canada and the United States), Europe, and the former Soviet Union. At this conference the Danish-Pakistani general-secretary of the Initiative of European Muslims for Social Cohesion (Die Initiative Europäischer Muslime für Sozialen Zusammenhalt or IEMSZ), Bashy Quraishi, called for "guidelines against Islamophobia in public discourse" and stated that "freedom of speech in Europe entails responsibility, something often forgotten by political leaders and journalists." Also, General Quraishi as well as numerous other participants at the conference extolled the civilizational contributions of Islam – and Muslims – to humanity. Perhaps not too surprisingly in this politically correct world, in the end the OSCE seemingly acceded to Quraishi's desire to protect Muslims from insulting speech and promote a positive view of Islam.
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