“Why can’t we question Islamic motive”? JFH q/a with Human Rights Watch

May 18th, 2016 – Barnes and Nobles, E.86th Street, NYC
JFH attended a discussion led by Robert L. Bernstein, founder of “Human Rights Watch” (HRW). The occasion was a book signing for the release of Mr. Bernstein’s latest book “Speaking Freely“, an autobiography which details Mr. Bernstein’s life as a publisher for Random House and as a human rights advocate.
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While much of the discussion session of the event focused on Mr. Bernstein’s publishing career and his trips to the former Soviet Union which activated his human rights career, the question and answer session allowed IAIF and JFH to ask Mr. Bernstein’s opinions on current human rights today as they pertain to Islamism and terrorism. Most pertinent to the question at hand is the fact that Human Rights Watch has taken a positive position on the influx of Islamic populations into Europe. According to the HRW website, their position on the question of importing Muslims into Europe is as follows:
“Human Rights Watch recommends action by the European Union and its member states in four broad areas: (1) reducing the need for dangerous journeys; (2) addressing the crisis at Europe’s borders; (3) fixing the EU’s broken asylum system; and (4) ensuring that EU cooperation with other countries improves refugee protection and respect for human rights.” – HRW, Europe’s Refugee Crisis 
There is no doubt that people around the world want to see an end to the fruitless wars being conducted in the Middle East which are laying waist to so many human lives, however ending these wars and mass importing Muslim populations into the West are two different agendas. The question we had for Mr. Bernstein was one of “motive”, particularly the motive behind human rights violations committed against both Muslims and non-Muslims living in the Islamic world, as well as the motive behind international Islamic terrorism. The question of Islamic motive has become all the more relevant as the increase in the Muslim population in Europe has initiated deadly terrorist attacks as were seen in 2015 in Paris which left 130 people dead and the 2016 bombing of the Brussels international airport which left 30 persons dead, as well as the unleashing of mass sexual assaults on women in Germany, not to mention the burgeoning of retrograde Islamist movements seeking to implement Islamic Sharia Law in Europe through violence.  Islamic Sharia Law is inherently misogynistic, homophobic and oppressive to non-Muslims in general.
Pabitra Chaudhuri "IAIF" and Robert Bernstein "HRW"

Pabitra Chaudhuri “IAIF” and Robert Bernstein “HRW”

Mr. Bruno of, President of JFH, posed the following question to Mr. Bernstein (paraphrased):
“This question pertains not only to your organization but to most human rights movements globally today. During the eras of Nazi and Communist oppression, we looked to the ideologies behind these movements to determine what was motivating their crimes. We could see the correlation between Mein Kamfp and the Communist Manifesto and the actions of the people who espoused these beliefs.  However, today we are seeing similar human rights violations and terrorism going on, being conducted by many different groups but let’s focus right now on the question of Islam.  Why is it that when the Nazis or the Communists committed crimes against humanity that we were able to look at their ideologies and determine that these were the cause for their actions, but when it comes to Islamic crimes against humanity and terrorism we cannot look to their religion and founder to seek their motivation?  Most specifically, since the Islamic religion was founded by a man who mass murdered the pagans of Arabia, took slaves and sex slaves, preached hatred for pagans (shirk) and commanded his followers to do the same, and all of this can be found in the Islamic texts, why are we unable to talk about this as a motive for Islamic crime today when we can do so easily when speaking about Nazism and Communism?”
Pabitra Chaudhuri , VP of Indian American Intellectuals Forum Inc  later pointed out:
“in case of a single homicide or for any crime the investigators probe deep for the motive which can lead to a clue. However it is strange that in the case when Islamic terror strikes that the world just deals with the shock-waves  and reports  the diabolic nature of the strike, and express  resolve  for the people affected , telling the world not  to be cowered by terrorists, but what is never questioned is why the Islamists are on a mission to strike in the first place, risking their own lives, these questions are not examined.  What do the Islamists want to accomplish by attacking the USA or UK or France or Belgium or the succession  of attacks on India as well? Is it a misadventure  to  force upon  the  world their religious belief system?  Is it not driven by the likes of Anjem Choudary, the Bangladeshi origin Imam of Britain, who thundered  over the conference call to channel 7 ABC TV hosts that one day the flag of Islam will fly over the White House? In fact the secular minded people from Islam need to come forward to play a definitive role.”
Mr. Bernstein’s response was interesting because while he did try to offer a solution to Islamic terrorism, he did not tackle the direct question about “motive”.  To paraphrase Mr. Bernstein’s response he recommended that publishers should seek to decrease the amount of “hate speech” being printed and distributed from Islamic nations such as Saudi Arabia, particularly those preaching Wahhabist doctrines. Mr. Bernstein admitted that teenagers do not engage in Islamic terrorism without first being indoctrinated with hate materials.  While Mr. Bernstein may be correct in his assessment that limiting the proliferation of “hate materials” could reduce Islamist violence, he did not address the question for the motivation behind these ideas and actions.  There is no doubt that the systematic discrimination and even elimination of non-Muslims across the Islamic world and the historical and modern invasion of non-Muslim regions accompanied by religious pogroms and ethnic cleansing are sprung from a shared ideological motivation.  If we looked to Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto to determine the the motivations for the Nazis and Communists in their human rights violations, we must look to the Quran and the life of Muhammad to find the motive behind Islamist violence and oppression, both historic and contemporary.  We hope to further engage the human rights community to ponder the question of motivation as it pertains to Islam, just as they did for the rise of Nazism and Communism.

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