The World Council of Churches has a decision to make.
Is the organization going to advocate for religious freedom or is it going to side with Muslim extremists intent on harassing non-Muslims who say things they do not like?
Right now the organization seems intent on doing both things at once.
On Sept. 14, 2012, the organization cooperated with a global campaign to demonize a Coptic Christian filmmaker in the United States who mocked Mohammed in a film titled The Innocence of the Muslims. The film has been used as a pre-text by Islamist extremists to attack U.S. embassies throughout the world. In response to the riots, the WCC’s General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit issued a statement condemning the movie.
In good dhimmi fashion, Tveit stated the film is “gratuitously offensive to Muslims and to the faith of Islam, and I regret that it has been made.” The movie states that it was produced by people “who are not in any way representative of any mainstream religious group, nor indeed of particular countries or government. This incident shows how important it is to prevent incitement to racial or religious hatred. I believe such an insult to the heart of the Muslim faith is an insult to all peoples of faith. Christians and Muslims need to stand together in condemning such insults.”
Tveit then states that the violence that has erupted in Muslim-majority countries throughout the world is not “the appropriate response” because “it plays into the hands of those who wish to foment tension” and could “lead to negative stereotyping of Muslims and an increase in Islamophobia.”
Get that? Making a movie is an “insult.”
But storming embassies and killing diplomatic personnel – otherwise known as acts of war under international law – is something else altogether.
It’s not “the appropriate response” because it might cause people to think badly of the perpetrators!
How is that for moral leadership!
Not very good, actually, because it is not as if the WCC has responded forcefully to the vicious anti-Christian and anti-Semitic imagery that has been used to incite hostility toward Christians and Jews throughout the Middle East for the past few decades.
With his statement, Tveit rewarded Muslim extremists with what they wanted – a call for self-censorship in the West.
The problem is that self-censorship is not going to solve the problem of religious persecution in Muslim-majority countries, which brings us to the WCC’s efforts to oppose the “misuse” of the blasphemy law against religious minorities in Pakistan. Next week the organization is holding hearings about the problem, highlighted by the arrest of a young girl accused of burning a Koran a few weeks ago. These hearings are not taking place in Pakistan, where such a discussion might provoke an angry response, but in Geneva, where it is (relatively) safe (for now) to discuss such things.
The law, the WCC reports, was “originally supposed to protect the religious sensibilities of the countries Muslim majority” but that since 1986 it has been used to “persecute religious minorities and has become a major source of victimization. The current law currently imposes life imprisonment for desecrating the Holy Koran and the death penalty for defaming the Prophet Mohammed.”
To make matters worse, the law is “vaguely formulated and arbitrarily enforced by the police and judiciary in a way that amounts to harassment and persecution.”
In response the WCC has called on the government of Pakistan repeal “sections” of the law – and not the entire law itself.
This may seem like an improvement, but there’s still one problem. No matter how it is written, a blasphemy law can be subject to “misuse” and discriminatory application. A more far-reaching proposal might be to do away with the law altogether.
Still, it’s a start.
But Tveit’s statement, detailed above, indicates that the WCC is not fully committed to confronting the problem of religious freedom in the face of Muslim extremism.
What the WCC gives with one hand, the WCC takes back with another.
For the past several decades, the WCC has been a transmission belt of dhimmitude, or subservience to Muslim oppression. The organization shows Christians worldwide how to scrape and bow before Muslim extremists throughout the world.
The WCC seems to believe that if it can only teach those darn Israeli Jews to acquiesce to the inevitable and abandon their statehood (and dignity) – as Christians have done – in the face of their would-be Islamist overlords, there would be peace.
Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).