by D.M. Murdock
November 18, 2010
from Examiner Website


As it has done for the past several years, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is attempting to push through its anti-free speech resolution at the United Nations, an effort, critics say, designed to stifle the non-Muslim world's criticism of brutal and harsh Islamic doctrines and traditions.


Opponents observe that, under the guise of "defamation of religion," the OIC - which represents 56 Muslim nations - has once again foisted its censorial efforts on the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), which previously had kowtowed to this special interests group and adopted its resolution primarily framed to protect Islam.


And once again, the United States Government has stepped in to reject what many see as an assault on basic human rights.

As Matthew Lee of the Canadian Press reports:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that attempts by mainly Islamic nations to ban statements defaming religion restrict free speech and that the United States rejects them.

Presenting the State Department's annual international survey of religious freedom, Clinton said U.S. will oppose efforts at the United Nations to condemn the defamation of religion even if they are intended to protect society...

The effort is widely seen as a response to the publication in Europe of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed and to anti-Muslim stereotyping.

In response to incidents such as the Danish cartoons, which were met with violence by Muslims worldwide, the initial IOC attempt several years ago was worded so that only Islam received this special protection, but this move was frowned upon by most countries, such that the resolution's framers evidently felt their efforts would stand a greater chance of success if described by the nebulous phrase "defamation of religion."


U.N. Human Rights Council compromised

The fact that this freedom-oppressing resolution has passed repeatedly over the past several years is disturbing to human rights activists because such restrictions will undoubtedly lead to suppression and persecution of the non-religious and non-Muslims, since the intent behind the effort is to protect Islam in particular.


Thus, according to critics, this resolution is in fact a severe violation of human rights, and the U.N. body's entertainment of it could be viewed as completely opposite to the HRC's very purpose.


As Lee also reports:

Clinton said the pending resolution hurts religious freedom and denies societies the benefits of diverse views, opinions and faiths.

"Attempts to stifle them or drive them underground, even when it is in the name of and with the intention of protecting society, have the opposite effect," she said. "Societies in which the freedom of religion and speech flourish are more resilient, more stable, more peaceful and more productive."

Critics likewise call attention to the fact that human rights are in short supply in the Muslim world, where freedom of speech is already highly restricted, including by archaic and barbaric laws against "blasphemy" in countries like Pakistan, where a christian woman was recently sentenced to death for alleged remarks critical of the muslim prophet Mohammed.

As Adelle M. Banks relates in "U.S. Activists Lobby Against U.N. Defamation Resolution":

In a recent report on blasphemy laws, the human rights watchdog group Freedom House concluded that rules in seven countries - including the Muslim countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan - led to violations rather than protections of human rights, especially of religious minorities.

Observers warn that "defamation of religion" is essentially the same as "blasphemy" and that the goal is to make Islamic or sharia law as implemented in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, for example, the binding legal system globally.


Can a religion be 'defamed?'

It has also been argued by opponents of the attempted Islamist censorship that, according to American law, it is not possible to "defame" an ideology, whether political or religious, as the word "defamation" is generally used only when discussing human beings.


As defined in West's Encyclopedia of American Law (1998; v. 4, p. 49), "defamation" is:

Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.

Hence, legally speaking no ideology or inanimate object can be "defamed," as the definition is restricted to a person.


This fact means that religion is not protected under such laws and that this resolution is worthless.


Which religion will be protected?

Furthermore, it has been pointed out that certain religious doctrines and traditions are offensive to other people's religions, including many Islamic tenets, such as the demotion of Jesus Christ from the "Son of God" to a mere mortal "prophet."


By the OIC and HRC's reasoning, therefore, Islam itself would represent defamation of Christianity and should be banned.

For those who are interested in seeing less religious fanaticism and oppression in the world but who nonetheless consider themselves "religious" or "spiritual," numerous doctrines found in mainstream religions - such as derogatory speech about non-Muslims throughout the Islamic holy text the Koran - represent defamation of their religion.


Thus, again, Islamic doctrine itself would be caught up as "defamation of religion" and would need to be banned, according to this resolution.

Many experts and researchers who have been following this situation for years have noted that this effort by the OIC clearly constitutes an attempt to force Islam and sharia law on the non-Muslim world, with a stated goal of a global Islamic caliphate that bans or minimizes all other religions.


They observe that if such a resolution were enforced, members of minority and non-Abrahamic religions, as well as atheists, freethinkers and other nonbelievers, would be far more vulnerable to persecution, as we see abundantly in Muslim countries.


HRC caters to human rights abusers

Critics also vociferously point out that the countries which are pushing for this resolution and which have essentially "hijacked" the United Nations Human Rights Council are some of the worst abusers of human rights in the world today.


OIC members including,

  • Algeria

  • Sierra Leone

  • Egypt

  • Sudan

  • Indonesia

  • Pakistan

  • Libya

  • Iraq

  • Afghanistan

  • Iran

  • Yemen

  • Chad

  • Uganda

  • Somalia

  • Saudi Arabia

  • Syria,

...are all in the top 25 worst nations for human rights globally.


Outside observers argue that the free and non-Muslim nations need to push back against these censorial attempts with all due haste and extreme vigor, citing examples of how Islamist anti-free speech efforts are already wreaking havoc on legal systems in the non-Muslim world, including in many parts of Europe.

Freedom activists liken these Islamist efforts to the creation of a "New Inquisition" and emphasize that wherever such censorship reigns, human rights are trampled upon.


Thus, by endorsing the OIC's special interest attempt at forcing Islamic law upon the rest of the world through free-speech restrictions, the United Nation Human Rights Council is advocating a new era of the same religiously based human rights abuses that have led to the deaths of tens of millions over the past centuries.


In other words, critics claim, Big Brother is back, he's watching you, and he's trying to subjugate you under religious tyranny again. Fortunately, activists say, efforts to push back against this blatant imposition of Islamic law are yielding results.


As Banks also reports:

"I am pleased to say that our efforts are paying off and more countries are voting against the 'defamations of religions' resolution each year," said Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., in a recent statement.

He sent a letter signed by dozens of members of Congress to more than 150 heads of state urging them to oppose the latest resolution.


One of the fundamental principles of the United States of America is embodied in its Constitution's First Amendment, popularly known as the "right to free speech."


It could thus be argued that any such anti-free speech efforts are anti-Constitutional as well, especially when the "church-and-state" or, as the case may be "mosque-and-state," separation clause is factored in.


Therefore, American human rights and free speech activists urge all citizens to insist on upholding the Constitution.