An interesting lady
I love finding out about strong women that are not necessarily on the left side of the political spectrum.
Don’t let the upper class British accent or title fool you. Baroness Caroline Cox, 67, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords does not hold by the politics or the worldview of many of her fellow upper class Brits.
The modest demeanor and strong convictions of this Christian human rights campaigner were much in evidence at the Jerusalem Summit this week, as Baroness Cox stepped up to receive the Scoop Jackson Award for Vision and Values awarded annually by Summit organizers. (Richard Perle was the recipient of the first Jerusalem Summit Scoop Jackson Award in 2003)
The Baroness (“please call me Caroline”) is a life peer created by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She has spent a lifetime acting on behalf of human rights and performing real humanitarian acts. During the Solidarity movement days in Poland, Cox rode on the 32-ton trucks delivering medical supplies behind the Iron Curtain. In the ethnic conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh, Cox traveled repeatedly to Azerbaijan and Armenia to discover the truth for herself. She spoke out loud and often on behalf of Christian Armenians.
Cox has been in and out of the “no-go” areas of Sudan 28 times over the past four years. Her visits included buying freedom for Dinka and Nuer people from the heavily Christian southern region. For her trouble, Cox was sentenced in absentia by the National Islamic Front to imprisonment for illegal entry into the country. In Indonesia, she was shot at by jihad warriors.
On her visit to Jerusalem Cox remarked to a small group of British journalists that she would not be commenting specifically on the Arab war against Israel both due to her lack of first hand experience in the area but also because her expertise is “forgotten peoples.” One could say with certainty, she noted, that the amount of attention focused on Israel and the disputed territories ensures that neither Arabs nor Israelis are in any way “forgotten.”
“Coming from the killing fields of various regimes–many because of Islam, I began to study Islam,” Cox says. In fact, she studied so many areas first hand that she co-authored with her colleague Dr. John Marks, a powerful little book , entitled “The ‘West’, Islam and Islamism. Is ideological Islam compatible with liberal democracy?” (Civitas, London, 2003) Co-author Marks remarked to reporters that “there are many who don’t understand the nitty gritty about what Moslem culture is really about.”
The Baroness expressed her sensitivity to the dangers of Islamaphobia, but quickly added that she is greatly concerned by the “radicalization” of the Moslem population in Great Britain.
“My Muslim friends tell me that there are many young people who go around in respectable clothing but are in fact seething with hatred underneath,” she said.
Dr. Marks, a nuclear physicist and renowned British educator, told journalists he had recently attended a Muslim rally for support at the Friends Meeting House in Central London. The House is run by Quakers, renowned for their pacifism and humanitarian concerns. “I came out really chilled by the hatred,” Marks said.
“They say such people are only 1 percent of the Moslem population in Britain–but that’s still a lot of people,” he noted. Marks added that the vast majority of Britons now recognize the danger of radical Islam, “and they expect Moslem leaders to speak out.”
Baroness Cox explained that as in many European countries, the demographic reality means that many members of Parliament are now “deferential” to the growing numbers of Moslem constituents. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw has 8,000 Moslems in his district, noted Dr. Marks.
Dr. Marks, with advanced degrees from both Cambridge and London Universities, says groups like the Islamic Foundation speak openly about creating an Islamic state in the United Kingdom. “We know they have links in British universities,” he claims. Marks reminded reporters that Prince Charles had given the foundation his seal of approval during a visit to a Foundation sponsored institute last year.
Cox concludes her chat with the Jerusalem based journalists by giving a little lesson on Sharia law, after she was asked whether Western societies can co-exist with the Islamic legal code.
“Sharia law is not compatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it does not allow freedom to choose and change religion, you can become a Muslim, but if you stop being a Muslim and you convert out, you run the risk of the death sentence for apostasy. It does not permit equality before the law, as between men and women, Muslims and non-Muslims.” A simple, straightforward answer from a straightforward woman who speaks and acts from deep conviction.