It is one of the enduring myths of the great liberal delusion that all people aspire to the same values as the values of the Enlightenment. Our ideals, flowing from the Enlightenment, include universal Human Rights and equality for all. So firmly is this ideal built into our psyche that we measure our societal worth by our insistence on pursuing this ideal without exception (barring exceptions, of course). It should not be necessary to point out that these are my ideals, too. I may further add that I hold these ideals to be superior to anything else humanity has hitherto devised.
It is, however, inescapable that Human Rights and equality for all are not ideals that all people share. What is more, significant sections of humanity are actively opposed to them. Indeed, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the ideal of equality for all human beings are so strongly opposed by so many, that no fewer than 45 states signed the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI), adopted in 1990, expressly to challenge the universality of the UDHR, and specifically its applicability to Muslims, and to instead safeguard the pre-mediaeval and inhuman Shari’a as the framework for human relations and interactions. It is neither a slight nor an insult to say that Muslims do not hold to the UDHR as an ideal, on the contrary, it is an affirmation.
The signing of the CDHRI may, on the face of it, seem like a retreat from a universal ideal, but to the 45 signatories and their famed 1.7 billion co-religionists, it is anything but. Their action is the safeguarding of a far higher ideal, one ordained by none other than God himself. Muslims hold to the ideal of their supremacy over all others and the subjugation of all others to them, whether they violently strive to realise this ideal, or merely avoid the degradation of contact with non-Muslims. To give some idea of the flavour of this supremacy, for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman is to elevate her, and the children she might bear, to Islam. For a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man is to relegate her, and the children she might bear, from Islam. It is therefore a logical impossibility since a woman’s children belong to her husband, and no one can ever leave Islam.
Muslims are not equal to non-Muslims and there is no need for anyone, especially non-Muslims, to do anything about that inequality. Muslims are already superior. They are already supreme. God made it so fourteen hundred years ago. If reality deviates from this, then there is something wrong with reality and it is incumbent on Muslims to put right such abomination. If they are not in a position to put it right, then they must avoid sullying themselves by unnecessary involvement with that reality. You do not need to invade, occupy or oppress a Muslim country to trigger such “putting right”. Your mere existence will suffice.
So, for non-Muslims to offer equality to Muslims, even if those Muslims find themselves in the most abject of conditions, is a deeply humiliating presumption. Should Muslims condescend to accept such Human Rights and equality with non-Muslims, it would be so as to exact revenge for the affront of having had Human Rights and equality offered to them — forced on them, as they would see it — while they were in no position to spurn it. It is this that underlies the trashing of generous and humane Sweden. It is this that underlies the never-ending demands for special treatment where everyone else accepts equality (special treatment is nothing more than the rolling back of such integration as they’ve been unable to avoid). Muslims will never let go of their supremacy and the inferiority of all others to them, even if they live peacefully next door, regularly offer you food across the garden fence, and have nothing to do with jihad. You are a lesser being and will forever so remain, unless, of course, you do the wondrous thing of converting to Islam.
Another enduring myth of the great liberal delusion is that the violence of Islam is confined to terrorists or “radicalised” Muslims. Men who beat their wives, parents who kill their daughters (filicide is legal in Islam), teachers who inflict falaka on their pupils, fighting as the first resort to settling disagreement, beating as the reflexive response to the smallest transgression, public whipping and caning of women by any male stranger, amputations for petty thefts, beheadings, stonings, etc., are normal parts of everyday peaceful Islam. Where any of these are not practised, it is not because we have a “peaceful Islam”, but because another ethos is powerful enough to impose itself on Islam, whether that is through the institutions of state, or the personal ethics of Muslims in that society.
If you do not recognise these horrors from your own Muslim upbringing, then Alhamdulillah. The serenity of the meal in Ramadan, the edifying musicality of the athan (especially at fajr), the smell of cinnamon on potato fritters, a roomful of giggling women dressing one another before a wedding, the waft of incense from a house, making a mess sucking the vermicelli from the bubur to avoid the cardamom, etc. — we want these beautiful things to numb us to the barbarism at the heart of this faith. And they might well do so, but those horrors remain very much in place, and integral to what makes Islam superior. Naïve liberals need these beautiful things so as to maintain their delusion. I suspect that people who distinguish themselves as “cultural Muslims” may be seeking a Muslim identity free of these unsavoury components, but recognise that the faith is irredeemable.
“HR” in CDHRI means something entirely different to “HR” in UDHR. The piety with which many in the West react to the question of Human Rights and Muslims is both absurd and suicidal. It is also callous. Our pompous, ignorant self-righteousness is costing us dearly, and is abandoning those thousands upon thousands of people in the Islamic world, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, victims of Islam all, who aspire to exactly the same ideals as those who inherited Human Rights and equality for all from the Enlightenment.
When gangs of rampaging Muslim men rape our women and reduce our cities to ashes, then, from their point of view, well would we deserve it for daring to presume ourselves equal to them. And this is still to say nothing of either Shari’a or terrorism. Many an educated liberal will simply steer well clear of all this and prefer to stick to the mantras of universal Human Rights and their absoluteness. It is a cop-out.