Amnesty International’s Secretary-General Claudio Cordone is defending jihad when it occurs in “self-defence.” The issue arose after Amesty International suspended Gita Sahgal, one of its senior officials in London, for expressing the view that Amnesty’s collaboration with former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzem Begg “fundamentally damages” the group’s reputation. Sahgal pointed out that “to be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment.” (And worse, I would have thought)
Begg isn’t just Britain’s most famous Taliban supporter. According to Steve Emerson and Tom Joscelyn, he is also a friend and supporter of Anwar al-Awlaki, imam to some of the 9/11 hijackers, and an inspiration to both the Christmas Day bomber and the Fort Hood mass-murderer.
Following Sahgal’s suspension for criticizing Amnesty International’s alliance with Begg, supporters petitioned the organization on her behalf. That led to Cardone’s spirited defense of Begg. He argued that Begg advocates detainees’ due process rights within “the same framework of universal human rights standards that we are promoting,” Attempting to reconcile this extraordinary claim with Begg’s association with violent jihad, Cardone asserted that advocacy of “jihad in self defence” is not antithetical to human rights.
Sahgal’s supporters promptly pointed out that the concept of defensive jihad “is a thread running through many fundamentalist and specifically ‘salafi-jihadi’ texts.” For example,
it is mentioned by Abdullah Azzam, mentor of Osama bin Laden, and founder of Lashkar e Tayyaba. It is the argument of ‘defensive jihad’ that the Taleban uses to legitimize its anti human rights actions such as the beheading of dissidents, including members of minority communities, and the public lashing of women.
There are, then, “human rights” activists who fairly can be said to share al Qaeda’s values, and the head of Amnesty International is one of them. Fortunately, as Sahgal and her supporters illustrate, there are also human rights activists, including harsh critics of the U.S., who are as appalled by those values as we are.
Via Andy McCarthy.