Well, I think they are trying to… We have to see this as a general picture of a war against spirituality. That means, they are not particularly attacking Islam, but they are attacking spirituality as a whole." So what they are doing now is shifting the focus, after they have finished off Christianity, they are now attacking Islam. But the whole war is against spirituality as a whole."A blasphemous anti-Islam film from the US followed up with insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from France shows a Western attack on Islam. This last week in yet another anti-Muslim move, a French magazine published a caricature of the prophet of Islam (PBUH), sparking more outrage in the Muslim world and with no stoppage or condemnation by France or any other Western governments. Press TV has interviewed Mr. Manfred Petritsch, an international activist and prominent finance expert. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview. Press TV: 1.3 billion people… Muslims. And we have this new wave of attack on Islam. These people, these Western countries, the Western people, those who are attacking Islam - Who are these people and why is it they are doing so? Petritsch Well, I think they are trying to… We have to see this as a general picture of a war against spirituality. That means, they are not particularly attacking Islam, but they are attacking spirituality as a whole. The attack against Christianity has been happening already since a long time and Christianity is more or less destroyed. So what they are doing now is shifting the focus, after they have finished off Christianity, they are now attacking Islam. But the whole war is against spirituality as a whole.
You see, these blasphemous attacks are happening against Christianity all the time, but nobody is doing anything anymore because society and also the people who represent the Christian church are not putting up a fight anymore. They have lost and now they are shifting focus to Islam to also try to destroy their spirituality.Press TV: We saw in the United States the blasphemous film that sparked tensions and protests all across the world. The US Ambassador to Libya was killed; more than 40 people across the world were killed in those protests. And right in the midst of all these protests and tensions, France allows a person, a magazine, a publisher to print another set of blasphemous material, this time cartoons insulting the prophet of Islam. And yet the French authorities did not do anything to stop that although they knew that it might create further tension in the world - they didn’t stop that. At the same time, they stopped the French magazine that published nude pictures of the British princess. So, what is going on here? Why is this happening, why the disparity? Petritsch Well, this shows you exactly the double standard the West operates in many ways. So if it is against what they want then they of course stop it, like the photos of the princess, which is of course, wrong to invade her personal life. But how can the insult of a whole religion be less important than the personal feelings of one person? So, on the one hand the same government or the same system in France closes down a magazine because of nude pictures, but on the other hand allows insulting cartoons against a whole religion. And this shows how the West always uses double standards, in many ways… This exposes it, that what they are doing is a lie. Press TV: Do you think the attacks will continue - the attacks on Islam? Petritsch As I said before we are talking about a war against spirituality… You see, a lot of people believe that the cause for all this protest is the film. But I think it’s not the film, the film was just the ignition point. There was a whole explosive mixture existing because of the American foreign policy or the foreign policy of the West as a whole against all Islamic countries; against the war they are fighting; against this double standard they are doing; against the killer drones, which are killing hundreds of civilians. And all this explosive mixture was there and now the film came along and was the ignition point. So I think the people are not protesting specially against the film, they are protesting against the whole attitude of the West towards the Islamic countries. Press TV: The issue of human rights particularly the issue of European countries talk more often than not about the issue of human rights in terms of, they want those countries that they say violate human rights to be brought to justice and they themselves say that they are the biggest advocates of human rights in the world. A lot of people say that the sanctions against Iran that primarily affect ordinary people in the country; they say these sanctions are in essence in violation of human rights of the Iranian people. What do you think? Petritsch Absolutely. Anybody who reads the Charter of the United Nations sees that sanctions must not cover, for instance, medical supplies or food and things like that. That means anything that touches the basic human rights of people you cannot sanction, right? But they are doing it, so they are violating not only their own laws, but also the laws of the United Nations. But who is there to take them to court? That is a big problem, you know. Press TV: You come from Switzerland. Switzerland is part of the countries that are imposing sanctions against Iran. Is that something legal in terms of the Swiss Constitution, the Swiss internal laws? Petritsch: No. The Swiss government is acting illegally because Switzerland and the spirit of Switzerland, is based on neutrality. That’s what Switzerland is all about. And it’s about humanitarian aid. That’s also why the Red Cross has its headquarters there, and UNICEF and all these humanitarian organizations. So what the Swiss government is doing by blindly following the sanctions of the United States and of the EU is, in my opinion, definitely breaking the laws and the spirit of Switzerland. That is not correct because they’re taking sides, and Switzerland does not take sides -- it always helps, normally, people who are suffering. And I know that the Iranian people are suffering because of these sanctions. Press TV: How does Switzerland explain, justify the sanctions against Iran? Petritsch: The Swiss Foreign Ministry and the government say that they cannot step out of line, out of this NATO policy. They cannot be something different because otherwise they will suffer themselves. But I think that the Swiss politicians should have enough backbone to say to the EU and NATO countries ‘you can do what you want, but we have our own policies’. Press TV: Switzerland is not taking independent policies? Petritsch: No. That is a big problem that a lot of people see, that more and more, Switzerland is losing its independence, its own free decision-making, its neutrality. This has a couple of reasons: First, the reason is that we are, in Switzerland, under huge pressure from the outside because we are surrounded by NATO countries and by EU countries. So you can imagine being a small island in this sea, we are under huge pressure - just like Iran. They don’t like independent countries. They don’t like countries that don’t follow their policies. So this is a huge pressure. The problem is that our government is collapsing to these pressures and they shouldn’t do that. Press TV: Let’s talk about a different topic, the issue of terrorism in the world. Militants, insurgency, a lot of al-Qaeda fighters, al-Qaeda insurgents who have been fighting American and NATO forces in the past 11, 12 years, these people are now fighting in Syria against the Syrian government. When they fight in Afghanistan, they are called insurgents, they are called terrorists. When they fight in Syria, they are called freedom fighters. How does that sit in terms of double standards in the way that the West is looking at these people, the same people, but different titles when it comes to different countries? Petritsch: Well, here we have again the proof that the West works with double standards. So for the West, there is good terrorism and bad terrorism.
Good terrorism is the terrorism, which works against their enemies, and they use it. Bad terrorism is the one, which works against themselves.Turkey is a very good example. Turkey allows bases for al-Qaeda terrorists, training camps where they’re supplied with weapons, and then sent to Syria to cause terror. But at the same time, the government fights terror, which comes from the outside, from Iraq, from the PKK. Here we have a perfect example of how on the one hand they support terrorism when it is to their own good; and on the other hand, they fight it when it is against them. This shows how the West always uses double standards in many ways. Press TV: Is there anything else that you wanted to discuss? Petritsch: I would like to say to your viewers that Iran has many friends in the West who are realizing more and more that the way Iran is treated is wrong. Also, that there is a completely wrong picture about Iran out there. The reason is that the Western media purposely is showing the wrong picture about how the Iranians are, what they think, what they want. I hope that with more and more information, we can open up the minds of the people more so that they understand that what their governments are doing is wrong against Iran. We are fighting here an information war. The question is, who will win this information war? We are up against a huge enemy with endless resources, who control all the media and therefore they can show this wrong picture. The question is can we counter that? SC/GMA/JR