09.11.26 - Islamic Nations Lobbying UN to Outlaw Blasphemy

Islamic nations want an international treaty to “protect religious symbols and beliefs from mockery.” They want the proposal considered as necessary to protect religion, and want it voted upon in the UN General Assembly. If they succeed, a showdown with free speech laws in the West is inevitable, with the possible limitation of free speech. The process normally would take years, though.

“Experts say the bid stands some chance of eventual success if Muslim countries persist. . . . For several years the Islamic Conference has successfully passed a non-binding resolution at the [UN] General Assembly condemning ‘defamation of religions.’. . . From a legal point of view, the exercise is dangerous because it’s a departure from the practice and concept of human rights. . . . Pakistan, [which, with Algeria, has taken the lead in the lobbying,] said insults against religion were increasing. The Islamic Conference ‘believes that the attack on sacredly held beliefs and the defamation of religions, religious symbols, personalities and dogmas impinge on the enjoyment of human rights of followers of those religions.’ . . . It’s not clear who would decide” what actions constitute “defamation” and “attack.”

A member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom warned that this law “would, in essence, advance a global blasphemy law.” That independent, congressionally-mandated panel warned that “laws against blasphemy . . . ‘often have resulted in gross human-rights violations.’ In Egypt, blasphemy laws have been used to suppress dissidents.

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