A debate with ‘Human Rights’ Watch

If you recall, a while back, I and a number of other campaigners and rights organisations wrote an open letter to ‘Human Rights’ Watch Director Kenneth Roth criticising his apologetic stance towards Islamism. The letter was recently published in the New York Review of Books Blog along with a response from the organisation.

It’s basically the same old, same old.

HRW insists that it is possible that ‘a government guided by political Islam might be convinced to avoid such discrimination’ by saying there is a difference between the Taliban in Afghanistan and Erdogan in Turkey but Erdogan is not like the Taliban because of the role of secularism in Turkey and not because of ‘diverse, interpretive strains of Islam’.

It goes on to say that those of us who signed the letter ‘insist on “separation of religion from the state,” presented as “the most basic guarantee of rights.” But that is obviously not what the people of Egypt and Tunisia, when given a choice, voted for.’

Whilst I have discussed why this is so elsewhere, suffice it to say that irrespective of people’s ‘choices’ – if you can really call it that – shouldn’t HRW be more concerned about well err, human rights? If a ‘majority’ (which can sometimes even be a minority in parliamentary democracies) chooses to bring the death penalty back or vote the far-Right British National Party into power in the UK, would HRW be as eager to call for engagement? It is only eager to do so when it comes to the people of the Middle East and North Africa because in its worldview Islamism represents the will of the people.

HRW goes on to say: ‘So what exactly do the letter writers propose? A military coup should not be recommended lightly. Taking the position that adherence to democratic principles can be achieved only when non-Islamic parties prevail, as Bush did, is a disaster for those principles. Promoting tolerance of women and gays by way of intolerance for Islam, an approach epitomized by Geert Wilders of the Dutch Freedom Party, does not seem a productive approach.’

And there you have it in a nutshell – the despicable post-modernist approach which defends Islamism and will paint anyone that opposes it as advocates for military coups, far-Right politics and racism.

Listen up, Human Rights Watch: We are opposed to military coups, racism and far-Right politics. That is exactly why we are also opposed to Islamism, which is our far-Right. We are merely reminding you to do your job and defend human rights. That is your job, isn’t it?

Then please do it and stop making excuses for the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists.

As I said in an earlier blog, Human Rights Watch, you are disgusting!

If you agree with the open letter criticising the Human Rights Watch director’s position in defence of Islamism, you can sign a petition here.