World Islamic body pushes global blasphemy law

Published Thursday, September 20, 2012

The world Islamic body signaled on Wednesday that it will revive long-standing attempts to make insults against religions an international criminal offense.

The bid follows uproar across the Muslim world over a crude Internet video clip filmed in the United States and cartoons in a French satirical magazine that lampoon the Prophet Mohammad.

But it appears unlikely to win acceptance from Western countries determined to resist restrictions on freedom of speech and already concerned about the repressive effect of blasphemy laws in Muslim countries such as Pakistan.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said the international community should "come out of hiding from behind the excuse of freedom of expression", a reference to Western arguments against a universal blasphemy law that the OIC has sought for over a decade.

He said the "deliberate, motivated and systematic abuse of this freedom" were a danger to global security and stability.

Separately, the Human Rights Commission of the OIC, which has 57 members and is based in Saudi Arabia, said "growing intolerance towards Muslims" had to be checked and called for "an international code of conduct for media and social media to disallow the dissemination of incitement material".

Western countries have long argued that such measures would run counter to the UN's core human rights declaration on freedom of expression and could even open the door to curbs on academic research.

As if to underline the point, a conference in Geneva of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which groups the world's major Protestant, Orthodox and Evangelical churches, urged Pakistan to abolish its blasphemy law, which carries a possible death penalty.

Critics say the law is widely misused to persecute non-Muslims, and cite this month's case of a Muslim cleric detained on suspicion of planting evidence suggesting that a 14-year-old girl had burned Islamic religious texts.

Pakistani Christians and Hindus at the WCC gathering said a global law against blasphemy, or "defamation of religion", would only endorse on an international scale the religious intolerance seen in Pakistan and in other Islamic countries.

But Western countries have also come under criticism for stifling free speech, with Iran previously highlighting the criminalization of doubting the Holocaust in a number of Western states.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

Comments

Resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council 16/18 Combating ialtoernnce, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief Reaffirming the commitment made by all States under the Charter of the United Nations to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to, inter alia, religion or belief, Reaffirming also the obligation of States to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion or belief and to implement measures to guarantee the equal and effective protection of the law, Reaffirming further that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides, inter alia, that everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, which shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching, Reaffirming the positive role that the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information can play in strengthening democracy and combating religious ialtoernnce, Deeply concerned about incidents of ialtoernnce, discrimination and violence against persons based on their religion or belief in all regions of the world, Deploring any advocacy of discrimination or violence on the basis of religion or belief, Strongly deploring all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, as well as any such acts directed against their homes, businesses, properties, schools, cultural centres or places of worship, Concerned about actions that wilfully exploit tensions or target individuals on the basis of their religion or belief, Noting with deep concern the instances of ialtoernnce, discrimination and acts of violence in many parts of the world, including cases motivated by discrimination against persons belonging to religious minorities, in addition to the negative projection of the followers of religions and the enforcement of measures that specifically discriminate against persons on the basis of religion or belief,..... "That was the point and note that it refers to "members" thus it is two - way.....

These guys won't be happy until they have a police force to prosecute any breach of their "morals" any where I the world.

I don't advocate the US attempting to do this through stifling free speech of journalists and whistleblowers, nor will I support any religious group throwing their weight around.

Ever heard the expression "keep your rosaries off my varies"? Uptight religious types have no sense of humour, nor do they accept each individuals right to conceive their own moral code. There will come a day when no religion is no longer used as a vehicle for persecution and it's coming soon.

This Islamic group is running against the tide. They will fail. Their time would be better spent developing a sense of humour. Lulz are the best medicine. Plenty of anti-Christian memes to get them laughing.

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