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U.N. Bans Criticism of Islam: Pretext & Context


Update Dec 20, 2009:

The first article linked above discusses the substance of the final draft, the second discusses the trend toward reduced support for the concept of defamation of religions. The information presented below also applies to the  latest posts.

Comprehension of the meaning of the recent General Assembly & UNHRC resolutions on ‘Defamation of Religions’ requires reference to previous resolutions and contemporaneous statements which demonstrate the intent of the authors.
The purpose of this blog post is to provide that context.
Other documents may be helpful, particularly those referenced in the texts The OHCHR has a table of Human Rights Documents. The links in the right hand column are to pdf files in various languages; English is denoted by the letter E. Some of the documents are not available there in English. Documents referenced in quotes but not linked here may be available from that list. If not, try your favorite search engine.

United Nothing has an extremely informative article: Islamism Grows Stronger at the United Nations by David Littman. Littman reveals important background information about the U.N. resolutions under consideration. The U.K. Parliament has a Memorandum submitted by the National Secular Society
& IHEU. The memorandum contains information not easily found elsewhere and a good bibliography. These two articles provide some details of the intent of those who proposed the resolutions.

Thirty-sixth session 1981 Agenda item 75 Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly 36/55.
Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief

Concerned by manifestations of intolerance and by the existence of discrimination in matters of religion or belief still in evidence in some areas of the world, Resolved to adopt all necessary measures for the speedy elimination of such intolerance in all its forms and manifestations and to prevent and combat discrimination on the ground of religion or belief,

The General Assembly expressed concern and resolve to “adopt all necessary measures”. What is the meaning of that expression?

Article 4

1. All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life.

2. All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to prohibit any such discrimination, and to take all appropriate measures to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or other beliefs in this matter.

“States shall take effective measures:; this implies the passage and enforcement of legislation. “All states shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation ” ; an explicit imperative! The intention is unmistakably clear: the resolution is designed to influence national legislation.

MEMRI Special Dispatch Series – No. 1089 reveals a February 3, 2006 sermon by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research.

“The governments must be pressured to demand that the U.N. adopt a clear resolution or law that categorically prohibits affronts to prophets – to the prophets of the Lord and His messengers, to His holy books, and to the religious holy places. This is so that nobody can cause them harm. They enacted such laws in order to protect the Jews and Judaism. Like some Danes have said: ‘We can mock Jesus and his mother.’ They were asked: ‘Can you mock the Jews?’ Here they stopped. The Jews are protected by laws – the laws that protect Semitism, and nobody can say even one word about the number [of victims] in the alleged Holocaust. Nobody can do so, even if he is writing an M.A. or Ph.D. thesis, and discussing it scientifically. Such claims are not acceptable. When Roger Garaudy talked about it, he was sentenced to jail, according to the laws. We want laws protecting the holy places, the prophets, and Allah’s messengers.”

What does the Sheikh want? “demand that the U.N. adopt a clear resolution or law that categorically prohibits affronts to prophets “…”They enacted such laws in order to protect the Jews and Judaism”…”We want laws protecting the holy places, the prophets, and Allah’s messengers.” What could be more clear? Islam demands the enactment of laws prohibiting denunciation of Islam!

Kofi Annon held a press conference February 8, 2006 where he made remarks relevant to this issue.

Let me say that, honestly, I do not understand why any newspaper will publish the cartoons today. It is insensitive, it is offensive, it is provocative, and they should see what has happened around the world. This does not mean that I am against freedom of speech, or freedom of the press. Yes, I am for that, but as I have indicated in the past, freedom of speech is not a license. It does entail exercising responsibility and judgment, and quite honestly I cannot understand why any editor will publish cartoons at this time which inflames, and pours oil on the fire.

Clearly, the Secretary General was angered by the publication of the Danish Cartoons. He would not grant them the protection of the right of freedom of expression.

Let me start by saying that we issued a statement. I worked with the Secretary General of the Islamic Conference, with the European [Union High] Representative [Javier] Solana, and we came up with a joint statement which I think speaks for the vast majority of states. And the ambassadors of the OIC here at the UN have also issued a statement which also came out yesterday, and I met with them yesterday, and I don’t think they are in a confrontational mood at all. In fact they are responsible, and behaving responsibly, and working like all of us to calm the situation. The statement that they introduced in the discussion in the human rights debate is not inflammatory, it is not against blasphemy, it is a statement that would try and underline the need for respect for all religions. So I don’t think it is something that goes counter to the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or even freedom of the press. And so let’s wait and see the final statement that comes out. Obviously they, like me, would want to see the Human Rights Council established as soon as possible. I would want to see it done by the end of this month, so that when, next month, the human rights community comes together in Geneva, they will be meeting under the umbrella of the new Council. It is possible. We can do it, and I urge all the Member States to buckle down and get it done. And in fact, the uproar that we are all discussing here also underscores the importance of respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the rights, both freedom of expression and respect for religious rights.

You can’t have it both ways; you are for or against freedom of expression. Obviously, Kofi is against it.

The next day, SMH.COM.AU provided some interesting details; pay careful attention to the quotes.

Annan also defended an attempt by Islamic nations to insert anti-defamation language into an already controversial founding document for a new UN human rights council to replace the discredited Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission.

“I met with them and I don’t think they are in a confrontational mood at all,” Annan said.

The text proposed by 57 Islamic countries, obtained by Reuters, would promote universal respect for all religious and cultural values.

It would “prevent instances of intolerance, discrimination, incitement of hatred and violence arising from any actions against religions, prophets and beliefs which threaten the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

It also notes that “defamation of religions and prophets is inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression” and emphasized that states, organizations and the media have a “responsibility in promoting tolerance and respect for religious and cultural values.”

. The agenda of the O.I.C. is clear from those quotes: outlawing criticism of Islam. One part bears repetition:

Annan also defended an attempt by Islamic nations to insert anti-defamation language into an already controversial founding document for a new UN human rights council to replace the discredited Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission.

May 2, 2006, Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, submitted a paper to an O.I.C. conference.

Islam is deliberately equated with terrorism and extremism. In this regard, governments are restrained but the media and academic institutions are given full license to publish thinly veiled hate literature which reinforces popular misperceptions about Islam and Muslims. Those who whip up frenzy against Muslims use fundamentalism as an excuse but they are really wary of the growing influence of the educated, modern and moderate Muslims in Europe, the US and Canada who are moving into mainstream politics and business. That is why sweeping generalisations are used to depict Muslims….

…freedom of expression is exercised selectively, restricting it, and rightly so, in case of anti-Semitism but justifying its unhindered application in regard to Islamophobic publications.

OIC countries in Geneva believe that earnest efforts should be made to address these issues. Over the years, soft human right law, developed by the human right machinery, have elaborated norms and standards for respect of religion. The UN General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights passed resolutions on defamation of religions every year. The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination define the delicate balance between freedom of expression and respect for religions. The Covenant, for instance, gives detailed guidance in its Articles 18, 19, and 20 on the desired equilibrium. According to these articles, every one has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; but freedom of expression is subject to certain restrictions necessary for “…respect of the rights or reputations of others.” The right to freedom of expression is thus not absolute. It does not give the right to insult others or hurt their sensibilities. These two rights – freedom of speech and respect for religions- are complementary, not contradictory.

In the United Nations, however, there is a juridical vacuum which needs to be filled. We do not have stout international laws on respect for religions. Every now and then when a clash emerges we start scraping through blunt legal instruments or rely on political rhetoric.

With these objectives in mind, we would use the Human Rights Council to develop norms to promote dialogue and understanding among followers of different religions and explore the possibility of drafting a convention on respect for religions.

Re-read those quotes with special attention to the parts I emphasized. The O.I.C. agenda is outcome oriented, and legislation is the desired outcome. They want to put an end to our ability to reveal the truth about their murder cult

July 2, 2006. Kofi Annan and the O.I.C. held a joint news conference. One thing stands out.

We believe freedom of the press entails responsibility and discretion, and should respect the beliefs and tenets of all religions.

Why in Hell should we respect Islam’s supremacism & triumphalism? Why in Hell should we respect Islam’s sacraments: conquest, genocide & terror? Surely not because the O.I.C. and the Secretary General say so!

March 23, 2007, the UNHRC resolves A/HRC/4/L.12.

Urges States to take resolute action to prohibit the dissemination of racistand xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that

constitute incitement racial and religious hatred, hostility or violence;

8. Also urges States to provide, within their respective legal and

constitutional systems, adequate protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions, to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and their value systems and to complement legal systems with intellectual and moral strategies to combat religious hatred and intolerance;

They are calling for passage of laws.

10. Emphasizes that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which
should be exercised with responsibility and may therefore be subject to limitations as provided by law and necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, public health or morals and respect for religions and beliefs;

    11. Deplores the use of the print, audio-visual and electronic media, including the Internet, and any other means to incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination towards Islam or any other religion;

How in Hell can we be expected to respect a Muslim’s ‘right‘ to ‘believe‘ that he has a right to kill or plunder & enslave us because we do not submit to Islam?

At the end of March, 2007, the UNHRC published their annual report.

In A resolution on combating defamation OF religion, the Council urged States ton take resolute action ton prohibit the dissemination OF racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed RK any religion or its followers that constitute incitement tons racial and religious have-talks, hostility or violence, and thus urged States ton provide adequate protection against acts OF have-talks, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation OF religion.

“urged States ton take resolute action ton prohibit the dissemination OF racist and xenophobic ideas and material”
Legislation is clearly implied.

May 17. 2007 THE THIRTY FOURTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS (SESSION OF PEACE, PROGRESS AND HARMONY) resolved:

We condemn the growing trend of Islamophobia and systematic discrimination against the adherents of Islam. We call upon the international community to prevent incitement to hatred and discrimination against the Muslims and take effective measures to combat defamation of religions and acts of negative stereotyping of people based on religion, belief or ethnicity.

Obviously, “take effective measures” means pass & enforce legislation.

June7, 2007 OSCE CONFERENCE ON COMBATING DISCRIMINATION AND PROMOTING MUTUAL RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING heard from Ambassador Hemayet Uddin, Director General, \Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

The phenomenon of Islamophobia now concerns everybody. The United Nations has
tried to address the issue by holding several seminars. The former UN Secretary General
Kofi Anan in a speech on 7th December 2004 stated inter alia that Islam’s tenets are
frequently distorted and taken out of context, with particular acts or practices being taken
to represent or to symbolize a rich and complex faith. He said that “some claim that Islam
is incompatible with democracy, or irrevocably hostile to modernity and the rights of
women. And in too many circles, disparaging remarks about Muslims are allowed to pass without censure, with the result that prejudice acquires a veneer of acceptability.
Stereotypes also depict Muslims as opposed to the West, despite a history not only of
conflict but also of cooperation, and of influencing and enriching each other’s art and
science. European civilization would not have advanced to the extent it did had Christian
scholars not benefited from the learning and literature of Islam in the Middle Ages and
later”.

We are often confronted with the dilemma of setting limits to the media’s right
to freedom of expression. The media has its own values and right to freedom of
expression is surely sacrosanct. But the exercise of those rights have to be tempered with
responsibility to avoid anarchy or violence
. It has to be ensured that the power in
possession of the modern day media is handled in a most responsible manner and not
misused or abused by utterances, writings or caricatures that may incite intolerance and
destabilize societies.
Criticism or commentary must be constructive and should not run contrary to
the international community’s efforts to develop tolerance and mutual understanding.
The cause of promoting tolerance and understanding may be defeated if one were to take a
position of championing freedom of expression by publishing, broadcasting or telecasting
items knowing fully that the report may spark off violent consequences.

. Two serious examples of overstretching the right of freedom of expression
were the publication of the caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a Danish
newspaper and reproduced in other recognized news papers such as the Le Monde and
the remarks made by His Holiness Pope Benedict involving Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in September last year. These incidents had resulted in shock and anger throughout the
Muslim world and was seen as the Western world’s indifference to the values that are
most sacred to the Muslims. Of course many Western governments reacted against the
reports and a statement of regret was issued by the Vatican. At the same time most
maintained that they could not intervene in the right to freedom of expression.

The O.I.C. would censor Pope Benedict! He quoted a Byzantine Emperor who spoke the honest truth about Islam; that Moe’s significant innovation was the sanctification of violence. Read the statement again, paying careful attention to the emphasis I added.

08/21/07 RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED FORMS OF INTOLERANCE: FOLLOW-UP TO AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DURBAN DECLARATION AND PROGRAMME OF ACTION
In particular, the Special Rapporteur calls for a strengthened commitment of political
leaders and intellectuals to strongly reject and condemn any expression of hate and xenophobia, particularly those of racist and xenophobic political platforms in the programmes of democratic parties and in the governmental alliances that enable the promoters of these platforms to implement their agendas with a clout of democratic legitimacy. Member States are also called upon to integrate, in their national policies, the promotion of dialogue between cultures and religions, and avoid policies, postures and statements inspired by the divisive concept of the clash of civilizations. Besides, given the challenge posed by the growing instrumentalization of freedom of expression by extreme right groups, the Special Rapporteur calls for a renewed reflection, by all bodies concerned, on the balance and complementarity between freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

In May 2007, the thirty-fourth session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers adopted
the Islamabad Declaration, which condemns the growing trend of Islamophobia and systematic
discrimination against the adherents of Islam and calls upon the international community to
prevent incitement to hatred and discrimination against Muslims and take effective measures to combat defamation of religions and acts of negative stereotyping of people based on religion, belief or ethnicity.

77. In the light of the polarized and confrontational reading of these articles, the Special
Rapporteur wishes to recall the recommendation made to the Council in his joint report
with the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (A/HRC/2/3) to promote a
more profound reflection on their interpretation. In particular, both Special Rapporteurs
encouraged the Human Rights Committee to consider the possibility of adopting
complementary standards on the interrelations between freedom of expression, freedom of
religion and non-discrimination, in particular by drafting a general comment on article 20.

(b) The historical and cultural depth of all forms of defamation of religions, and
therefore the need to complement legal strategies with an intellectual and ethical strategy relating to the processes, mechanisms and representations which constitute those manifestations over time;

9-10 October 2007 The Text of the Statement of Mr. Ufuk Gokcen, Adviser to the OIC Secretary General,
Read on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference General Secretariat At the OSCE Chairmanship Conference on Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims, Cordoba

However, in the wider picture, we do not see that the challenge that we face today can be
properly addressed, if the official authorities and politicians do not assume ethically and
morally righteous and responsible attitude in front of the masses, when discrimination
and intolerance against Muslims, and defamation of Islam as a religion and denigration of its most revered symbols are condoned under the exercise of freedom of expression and
press, in a way to surmount time to time to explicit and calculated incitement to hatred.

The constant focus is on freedom of expression reflecting negatively on Islam.

12/10/07 CHAIR OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. JUAN ANTONIO FERNANDEZ, AMBASSADOR, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA, ON BEHALF OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT

But reflection just for the sake of reflection is not enough. Concrete actions and not rhetoric is what those in need expect from the international community. As we are speaking here in this august chamber, out there in the world many phenomena like poverty, underdevelopment, marginalisation, instability, illiteracy, hunger, malnutrition, lack of access to healthcare, imposition of cultural models, discrimination on multiple basis, defamation of religions and religious intolerance, among many other factors, continue to prevail and, what is most worrying, continue to increase. We must address all these issues if we really want to create a world of dignity and justice for all.

“Concrete actions, and not rhetoric” translation: legislation.

02/20/08 A/HRC/7/19 Report submitted by Mr. Doudou Diène

To reverse these worrying trends, the Special Rapporteur is continuing to promote, in all his activities, the development of a dual strategy: political and legal, on the one hand, aiming to arouse and strengthen the political will of Governments to combat racism and xenophobia and enabling States to acquire the legal and administrative instruments for this purpose, in line with the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; and cultural, intellectual and ethical, on the other hand, targeting the root causes of those trends, in particular the value systems which legitimize them, the identity constructs – including the writing and teaching of history – which support them, and the rejection of diversity and multiculturalism which sustains them.

IV. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

72. The Special Rapporteur invites the Human Rights Council to draw the attention of
member States to the alarming signs of regression in efforts to combat racism, racial
discrimination and xenophobia, particularly the upsurge in racist violence, and to remind
them of the crucial importance of political will in the refusal to trivialize racism,
xenophobia and intolerance, the rejection of their use in politics and electoral campaigns,
and the systematic combating of racist and xenophobic political platforms.
73. In this regard, he invites the Council to encourage member States to adopt, as a
matter of urgency, national legislation to combat racism, racial discrimination and
xenophobia, pursuant to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination.

  • legal strategy
  • legal instruments
  • national legislation

This statement, made little more than one month prior to the UNH’RC’s resolution, must be considered as a source of its spirit if not its literal content.

3/18/08 COMBATING INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION
AGAINST MUSLIMS Ambassador Ömür Orhun OIC

Declaratory statements are of course welcome, but are not enough. We must put into
practice what we preach
. In other words, we must not only share the same basic values, we
must also act
in line with this conviction.

Islamophobia is a clear manifestation of hate crime and as such generates fear, feelings
of stigmatization, marginalization and rejection. The net result is heightened anxiety and
rising violence. As a hate crime, Islamophobia is also an assault on identity and human
dignity.

Translation: opposition to Islam’s conquest, genocide & terrorism is a hate crime and assaults human dignity.

Thirdly, they must define hate crimes broadly and address the information deficit.
(That is to say, collect, analyze and disseminate information related to hate crimes.)
Fourth, they must enact adequate legislation and implement this legislation
effectively
.
In conjunction with national legislation, they should also implement
international commitments and agreed norms.

e) Governments, at least at a rhetorical level, seem to accept notions such as respect to religious values, inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue and harmony, value of education and the need for strong political leadership. I hope these will not remain rhetorical statements, but be put into practice.

  • Broad definition of hate crimes? Our Supreme Court throws out laws on grounds of excessive broadness!
  • Must enact … legislation!!
  • Respect to religious values? Respect is earned on merit, not legislatted!! In Hell I’ll respect Jihad, genocide & terrorism!!! That spew of excrement came just days before the UNHRC resolution was passed. Who can overlook the obvious connection?

28 March 2008 A/HRC/7/L.11

  1. Urges States to take actions to prohibit the dissemination, including through political institutions and organizations, of racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constitute incitement to racial and religious hatred, hostility or violence;
  2. Also urges States to provide, within their respective legal and constitutional systems, adequate protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from the defamation of any religion, to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and their value systems and to complement legal systems with intellectual and moral strategies to combat religious hatred and intolerance;
  3. Emphasizes that respect of religions and their protection from contempt is an
    essential element conducive for the exercise by all of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;

The UNHRC is urging member states to enact and enforce legislation restricting freedom of expression!! The outstanding exemplar of hypocrisy contained in the tenth point should stick in everyone’s eye. Islam has neither respect nor tolerance for Judiasm & Christianity; cursed & declared perpetual war against them.

A March 28, 2008 Reuters article quotes Secretary General Ban ki-Moon’s remarks about Fitna.

  • “offensively anti-Islamic”
  • “There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence”
  • “The right of free expression is not at stake here.”
  • “Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility”

Fitna juxtaposed Qur’an quotes with outrageous statements by Islamic clerics and rioters. There is nothing false, malicious, contrived or defamatory in it; nothing but objective truth. From all of the text, pretext & context, it is obvious that the resolution is a blatant attempt to make general application of Sharia’s blasphemy provisions.

UN Watch has the Preliminary document of the African Regional Conference Preparatory to the Durban Review Conference in Microsoft Word Format. The Provisional Agenda and questionnaire replies are available at UNON.

Lets take a peek into Pandora’s box. [Emphasis added.]

4. Emphasizes the urgent need to address the scourges of anti-Semitism, Christianophobia, and Islamophobia as contemporary forms of racism as well as racial and violent movements based on racism and discriminatory ideas directed at African, Arab, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other communities;

See Durban II: Screw You for more information.
Wherever any of the above cited documents urges legislation against racism, you can substitute ‘Islamophobia’. Islam is a war machine, not a race. It has victimized people of many races.

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September 8, 2008 - Posted by | Politics, United Nations | , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. […] I suspect that “US” is a typographical error. The Ambassador’s speech was part of a campaign to drive the United Nations and its agencies to press for international and national legislation to impose Islam’s blasphemy law upon the entire world. I direct the curious reader to U.N. Bans Criticism of Islam: Pretext & Context. […]

    Pingback by The Challenge « Islamophobia: Exposing Malicious Malarkey | September 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. […] 09/21/08: a more recent post U.N. Bans Criticism of Islam Pretext & Context discusses  several documents which led  up to the resolution. Two of them, a paper and speech by […]

    Pingback by United Nations Ban Criticism of Islam « Freedom Ain’t Free & Take Our Country Back | September 21, 2008 | Reply

  3. […] U.N. Bans Criticism of Islam: Pretext. […]

    Pingback by Ad Hoc Cmte: Non-Paper | Grizzly Groundswell | August 4, 2009 | Reply

  4. […] 4U.N. Bans Criticism of Islam: Pretext & Context 09/08/08  This post contains vital information about the documents which serve as a basis for the treacherous resolutions passed by the General Assembly & Human Rights Council. It also has a link to the prime source of UN resolutions. […]

    Pingback by Free Speech vs Shielding Islam from Critics « Freedom Ain’t Free & Take Our Country Back | October 17, 2010 | Reply

  5. […] its HRC successor   and the General Assembly have passed similar annual resolutions.   See this blog post for more detail about one typical […]

    Pingback by Unholy Derision « Freedom Ain’t Free & Take Our Country Back | September 30, 2011 | Reply

  6. […] U.N. Bans Criticism of Islam: Pretext & Context […]

    Pingback by UN Censorship: Outlawing Criticism of Islam « Freedom Ain’t Free & Take Our Country Back | November 16, 2011 | Reply


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