It’s enough to make one’s blood boil. The Islamic bloc in the United Nations won’t accept the inclusion of gays in any discussion of human rights. And why not? Because the member nations don’t believe we’re worthy of legal protection. In a letter to UN human rights officials, the Organization of the Islamic Conference says “abnormal sexual behavior” has “nothing to do with fundamental human rights.”
It’s unclear what the bloc– which represents 56 Islamic UN member states and the Palestinian Authority – considers to be fundamental human rights. Many of these nations don’t consider freedom of speech a human right. If you’re a woman, you definitely aren’t worthy of human rights. Want the vote? Forget it. So maybe it’s not a surprise the bloc says it will oppose a new UN report critical of discrimination and violence against sexual minorities.
With its letter, the Islamic bloc has drawn a line in the sand. Clearly, member states want to continue business as usual, which means persecution, prison and executions for GLBT folk. In what was probably an unintentional irony, the bloc’s hateful letter was sent to the UN on Valentine’s Day.
Other than feeling angry and frustrated at this barbaric view of human rights, is there anything we in Canada can do about this? There sure is. We aren’t powerless. There are things we can do. Some are easy, but others will require personal sacrifice. Here’s a short list:
- Write letters to the prime minister and MPs. Tell them they have a duty to defend human rights and should publicly chastise the Islamic bloc for its stand.
- Also tell them Canada should launch economic boycotts of Islamic bloc nations, despite any economic harm to Canada. Freedom has a price.
- Support political parties that are openly supportive of gays. Give a donation – money talks.
- Write letters to newspapers expressing your outrage. Even if you convince only one person that it is important to fight against homophobia you will have done a good thing.
- Write to the embassies of Islamic bloc nations and let them know what you think of their idiotic behavior. If nothing else, venting is cathartic.
- Form a group and sponsor a gay refugee. You might save a life.
- Choose your foreign holiday destination based on its human rights record. It’s in your own best interests anyway.
- Don’t buy products from countries that abuse gays. Be aware this could include the gasoline you use to run your car – you can always buy an electric car.
- Write letters to companies that do business in abusive nations and let them know you won’t purchase their products until the barbaric nations clean up their acts. They will read them.
- Befriend members of barbaric nations who have immigrated to Canada. They came here because they didn’t like their home country. You can identify with that, right?
- Make Canada a role model for tolerance for the rest of the world. A nation can lead by example. So can an individual – take a look at Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.
This has nothing to do with religion and it’s certainly not a call to arms against Islam. Islam is not anti-gay any more than Christianity is. Any group that espouses homophobia must be opposed - loudly.
Silence changes nothing.
– Rachel Morgan is editor of OutWords.