Defending the right to defend free nations
Memorandum of Understanding relating to the formation of a European network of advocates for human rights and personal freedoms, in opposition to Sharia Law and other forms of oppression.
Recognising the need to make a statement outlining the shared principles that will act as the foundations for future cooperation, the above-listed organisations have agreed the following:
We believe that our nations, our people and our traditions, are all in need of defence.
Islamic extremism threatens our rights, our freedoms, and even our very lives.
But it would not be so dangerous a foe if, unlike previous generations, we had not become paralysed in the face of this extremism.
We are paralysed by moral relativism, political correctness, cowardly appeasement, strict self-censorship and self-loathing.
We should not be afraid to speak our minds, to fly the flags of our nations, to say plainly what we believe to be right and what we believe to be wrong.
But instead, we seem ashamed of our identities, our traditions, our heritage.
We are tolerant and accepting, but often only because we fear to make a stand against intolerance and hatred.
We have, it seems, already begun to surrender.
It is almost as if we no longer believe in all that should make us proud; all that makes our countries distinct, and all that unites them.
Our politicians refuse even to talk about it.
Our newspapers insult and attack those who refuse to bow down – those who refuse to submit or surrender their freedoms – as if they are responsible for the assaults on freedom about which they protest.
And all the while, we let the radicals decide the modern face of Islam in Europe.
We all know that a battle is being waged, not between Muslim and non-Muslim, but between fundamentalist and reformer.
But what are we willing to do?
The more we capitulate, the more we appease, the harder the reformer has to fight.
The more we abandon our own principles, the more we forget our pride, the more confident the fundamentalist becomes.
That is why we need to be loud.
We need to send a message to the fundamentalists, to our governments, to the press, and to anyone who may have given up on the people of Europe:
We believe in the rights enshrined in the laws of our nations.
We believe in the freedoms long-enjoyed in our lands.
And we believe in the democratic traditions that best protect both our rights and freedoms.
We believe in equality under the law and due process, regardless of race or religion.
We believe in freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of conscience and freedom of worship.
And we believe that it is our right to speak out against those who would threaten these freedoms, as well as those who would enable them to do so.
In 2004, the European Court of Human Rights declared that “freedom of thought, of religion, of expression and of association as guaranteed by the [European] Convention [on Human Rights] could not deprive the authorities of a State in which an association, through its activities, jeopardised that State’s institutions, of the right to protect those institutions.”
In other words, the European Court of Human Rights recognised that we have a right to defend our democratic institutions from those who, in attacking these institutions, would exploit the rights and freedoms granted to them in the Western world.
Unfortunately, much of the modern Islamic world continues to deny the rights of its people and to suppress their freedoms.
And there are also some – not just the supporters of Sharia Law – who wish to see this model of oppressive, divisive, supremacist religious totalitarianism imported into Europe.
Within some Muslim communities it has already begun.
Honour killings, child grooming, hate preachers, home-grown terrorists, and women encased in the Burqa.
Much of the time it is Muslims themselves who are the first victims.
We must not be afraid to say what should be obvious to all:
Our way is better.
Not different, better.
Individual Muslims may well have plenty to offer, but there is much about Islamic culture that we cannot stay silent about.
We are committed to countering extremism, wherever it be found.
And we will guard against anything that would threaten our diverse and tolerant nations.
We are anti-extremist, anti-fascist, and anti-racist.
We will protest peacefully, but we will defend ourselves if need be.
We will be loud, and we will not back down.
Because the defence of our countries, our people, our rights, our freedoms, our values, and our futures demands nothing less.
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