|Often we are unaware of events happening on the other side of the Atlantic. This has been posted, so that you may consider the issue of “Defamation of Religions” as viewed by the Islamic world.
Of course, little thought is given by them to reciprocity in regards to Christians…
|(Geneva, Switzerland) – The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), the international affiliate of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), has told the United Nations Human Rights Council that it is pleased that the “Defamation of Religions” concept being promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is continuing to lose support.
It became clear that the OIC countries – lead by Egypt and Pakistan – continue to see an erosion of support which became evident during a public discussion before the U.N. Human Rights Council on September 30th. During that session, discussion focused on the most recent report “on the manifestations of defamation of religions, and in particular on the serious implications of Islamophobia, on the enjoyment of all rights by their followers.” (Document A/HRC/12/38)
This report, presented by Githu Muigai, the new Special Rapporteur “on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” advocates for a “change of paradigm” – has shifted the debate from the “sociological notion of the defamation of religions to the human rights and legal concept of incitement to racial and religious hatred.” This legal concept is grounded in relevant international, regional and national instruments, in particular references are made to article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and to articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which proscribe incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.
The ECLJ, in its oral presentation before the Human Right Council, expressed its satisfaction to see the gradual abandonment of the concept of “defamation of religion” and the shift toward a legal approach. The ECLJ has been advocating for two years in favor of this legal approach and considers this change as very positive. The ECLJ representative recalled that anti-blasphemy laws are very often implemented in a totally arbitrary way and serve as a pretext for persecution of religious minorities – mostly Christians – in countries like Pakistan, for example.
“It is clear that the continuing push to protect Islam with this ‘defamation of religions’ concept amounts to a dangerous effort to eradicate current international standards on freedom of expression, said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ECLJ and ACLJ. “We’re already getting ready for the next phase in the challenge over the ‘defamation of religions’ which will intensify at the end of October at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, when the OIC is expected to once again introduce its ‘defamation of religions’ resolution. We will continue to educate member nations about the dangers of this concept.”
During the discussion, the OIC countries strongly opposed this shift away from the concept of defamation of religions, explaining that the issue is “too complex” to be addressed by the legal norm of non-incitement to national, racial or religious hatred. In fact, it’s clear that the goal of the Islamic countries is nothing less that to internationally defend and safeguard the “name of Mohamed” and the religion of Islam against any form of irreverence or criticism, by limiting the freedom of expression actually protected in international human rights laws. That places current international legal standards on freedom of expression at risk.
The ECLJ has been working to educate and inform member nations about the dangers of the concept of “defamation of religion”, a concept often used to silence religious minorities – including Christianity in many countries. A growing number of organizations and legal experts recognize now the threat of this notion to religious freedom.
In June, the European Center for Law and Justice had already been invited to submit to the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights a detailed legal analysis on the same issue.