Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Effort in UN to Criminalize “Defamation of Islam”

Discussions of the Fairness Doctrine don’t usually include how it could suppress critique of Islam in the media, but rest assured – if the government authorizes new regulations requiring “balance” in the media militant Islamists will attempt to use those regulations to shut down what they term “defamation” of Islam.

The article below describes how Islamists are busy working to win support for a UN resolution that is clearly designed to prod countries to criminalize criticism and critique of Islam. Imagine a day in the not-too-distant future when countries across the world adopt such laws and the United States has a “Fairness Doctrine” in place. With respect to combating the evil of radical Islam we would be witnessing the end of free speech as we know it.

If this sounds far-fetched, consider that a member of Austria’s parliament has already been convicted of engaging in “hate speech” because of her criticisms of radical Islam; Dutch MP Geert Wilders was denied entry to Great Britain to show his film “Fitna”; and author and columnist Mark Steyn was hauled before the Canadian Human Rights Commission. These are just three examples of what will be our reality if we don’t resist this assault on our First Amendment.

Proposal at U.N. to criminalize 'defamation of Islam'

"Geneva, March 11, 2009 -- A new U.N. resolution circulated today by Islamic states would define any questioning of Islamic dogma as a human rights violation, intimidate dissenting voices, and encourage the forced imposition of Sharia law. (See full U.N. text below.)"

"UN Watch obtained a copy of the Pakistani-authored proposal after it was distributed today among Geneva diplomats attending the current session of the UN Human Rights Council. Entitled "Combating defamation of religions," it mentions only Islam."

"While non-binding, the resolution constitutes a dangerous threat to free speech everywhere. It would ban any perceived offense to Islamic sensitivities as a "serious affront to human dignity" and a violation of religious freedom, and would pressure U.N. member states -- at the "local, national, regional and international levels" -- to erode free speech guarantees in their "legal and constitutional systems.""

"It's an Orwellian text that distorts the meaning of human rights, free speech, and religious freedom, and marks a giant step backwards for liberty and democracy worldwide."

"The first to suffer will be moderate Muslims in the countries that are behind this resolution, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan, who seek international legitimacy for state-sanctioned blasphemy laws that stifle religious freedom and outlaw conversions from Islam to other faiths."

"Next to suffer from this U.N.-sanctioned McCarthyism will be writers and journalists in the democratic West, with the resolution targeting the media for the "deliberate stereotyping of religions, their adherents and sacred persons.""

"Ultimately, it is the very notion of individual human rights at stake, because the sponsors of this resolution seek not to protect individuals from harm, but rather to shield a specific set of beliefs from any question, debate, or critical inquiry."

"The resolution's core premise -- that "defamation of religion" exists as legal concept -- is a distortion. The law on defamation protects the reputations of individuals, not beliefs. It also requires an examination of the truth or falsity of the challenged remarks -- a determination that no one, especially not the UN, is capable of undertaking concerning any religion."

"Tragically, given that Islamic states completely dominate the Human Rights Council, with the support of non-democratic members like Russia, China, and Cuba, adoption of the regressive resolution is a forgone conclusion. E.U. diplomats hope at best to win over a handful of wavering Latin American states to the dissenting side."

"Following is a copy of the draft U.N. Human Rights Council resolution obtained by UN Watch. Prepared by Pakistan on behalf of the Islamic group, the text was circulated today to Geneva diplomats in advance of a council vote scheduled for the end of March. "

HRC/10/L.. Combating Defamation of Religions

The Human Rights Council,

Reaffirming the pledge 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 race, sex, language or religion,
Reaffirming also that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and

Recalling the 2005 World Summit Outcome adopted by the General Assembly in its
resolution 60/1 of 24 October 2005, in which the Assembly emphasized the
responsibilities of all States, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations, to
respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind
and acknowledged the importance of respect and understanding for religious and
cultural diversity throughout the world,

Recognizing the valuable contribution of all religions to modern civilization and the
contribution that dialogue among civilizations can make towards improved awareness
and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind,

Welcoming the resolve expressed in the United Nations Millennium Declaration adopted
by the General Assembly on 8 September 2006 to take measures to eliminate the
increasing acts of racism and xenophobia in many societies and to promote greater
harmony and tolerance in all societies, and looking forward to its effective
implementation at all levels,

Underlining in this regard the importance of the Durban Declaration and Programme
of Action adopted by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination,
Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, welcoming
the progress achieved in implementing them, and emphasizing that they constitute a
solid foundation for the elimination of all scourges and manifestations of racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,

Welcoming all international and regional initiatives to promote cross-cultural and
interfaith harmony, including the Alliance of Civilizations and the International Dialogue
on Interfaith Cooperation and their valuable efforts towards the promotion of a culture of
peace and dialogue at all levels,

Welcoming further the reports of the Special Rapporteur submitted to the Council at its
fourth, sixth and ninth sessions that highlight the serious nature of the defamation of
all religions and the need to complement legal strategies;

Noting with deep concern the instances of intolerance, discrimination and acts of
violence against followers of certain faiths, occurring in many parts of the world, in
addition to the negative projection of certain religions in the media and the
introduction and enforcement of laws and administrative measures that specifically
discriminate against and target persons with certain ethnic and religious backgrounds,

particularly Muslim minorities following the events of 11 September 2001, and that
threaten to impede their full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Stressing that defamation of religions is a serious affront to human dignity leading
to restriction on the freedom of religion of their adherents and incitement to
religious hatred and violence,

Noting with concern that defamation of religions, and incitement to religious hatred in
general, could lead to social disharmony and violations of human rights, and alarmed
at the inaction of some States to combat this burgeoning trend and the resulting
discriminatory practices against adherents of certain religions and in this context
stressing the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement
to religious hatred in general and against Islam and Muslims in particular,

Convinced that respect for cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity, as well as
dialogue among and within civilizations, is essential for global peace and understanding
while manifestations of cultural and ethnic prejudice, religious intolerance and
xenophobia generate hatred and violence among peoples and nations,

Underlining the important role of education in the promotion of tolerance, which
involves acceptance by the public of and its respect for diversity,
Noting various regional and national initiatives to combat religious and racial intolerance
against specific groups and communities and emphasizing, in this context, the need to
adopt a comprehensive and non-discriminatory approach to ensure respect for all races
and religions,

Recalling its resolution 7/19 of 27 March 2008 and UNGA resolution 63/154 of 18
December 2008,

1. Takes note of the report of the High Commissioner on the compilation of existing
legislation and jurisprudence concerning defamation of and contempt of religions
and the report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance presented during the 9th session of
the Human Rights Council;

2. Expresses deep concern at the negative stereotyping and defamation of religions
and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief, still
evident in the world, which have led to intolerance against the followers of these

3. Strongly deplores all acts of psychological and physical violence and assaults, and
incitement thereto, against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, and such acts
directed against their businesses, properties, cultural centres and places of worship, as
well as targeting of holy sites, religious symbols and venerated personalities of all

4. Expresses deep concern at the continued serious instances of deliberate
stereotyping of religions, their adherents and sacred persons in the media, as well
as programmes and agendas pursued by extremist organizations and groups aimed at
creating and perpetuating stereotypes about certain religions, in particular when
condoned by Governments;

5. Notes with deep concern the intensification of the overall campaign of defamation of
religions, and incitement to religious hatred in general, including the ethnic and
religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11
September 2001;

6. Recognizes that, in the context of the fight against terrorism, defamation of
religions, and incitement to religious hatred in general have, become aggravating
factors that contribute to the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms of members of
target groups, as well as to their economic and social exclusion;

7. Expresses deep concern in this respect that Islam is frequently and wrongly
associated with human rights violations and terrorism and in this regard regrets the
laws or administrative measures specifically designed to control and monitor Muslim
minorities, thereby stigmatizing them and legitimizing the discrimination they experience;

8. 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 any religion, as well as targeting of religious
symbols and venerated persons;

9. Emphasizes that, as stipulated in international human rights law including articles 19
and 29 of UDHR and 19 and 20 of ICCPR, everyone has the right to hold opinions
without interference, and has the right to freedom of expression, the exercise of which
carries with it special duties and responsibilities and may therefore be subject to
limitations as are provided for by law and are necessary for respect of the rights or
reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, public health or
morals, and general welfare;

10. Reaffirms that General Comment 15 of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, in which the Committee stipulated that the prohibition of the
dissemination of all ideas based upon racial superiority or hatred is compatible with
freedom of opinion and expression, is equally applicable to the question of incitement to
religious hatred;

11. Strongly condemns all manifestations and acts of racism, racial discrimination,
xenophobia and related intolerance against national or ethnic, religious and linguistic
minorities and migrants and the stereotypes often applied to them, including on the basis
of religion or belief, and urges all States to apply and, where required, reinforce existing
laws when such xenophobic or intolerant acts, manifestations or expressions occur, in
order to deny impunity for those who commit such acts;

12. Urges all 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, and incitement to religious hatred in
general, and to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all
religions and beliefs;

13. Underscores the need to combat defamation of religions, and incitement to
religious hatred in general, by strategizing and harmonizing actions at the local,
national, regional and international levels through education and awareness building;

14. Calls upon all States to exert the utmost efforts, in accordance with their national
legislation and in conformity with international human rights and humanitarian law, to
ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and symbols are fully respected and
protected, and to take additional measures in cases where they are vulnerable to
desecration or destruction;

15. Calls for strengthening international efforts to foster a global dialogue for the
promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human
rights and diversity of religions and beliefs, and urges States, non-governmental
organizations, religious leaders as well as the print and electronic media to support and
foster such a dialogue;

16. Appreciates the High Commissioner for Human Rights for holding a seminar on
freedom of expression and advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to
discrimination, hostility or violence in October 2008, and requests her to continue to build
on this initiative, with a view to concretely contributing to the prevention and elimination
of all such forms of incitement and the consequences of negative stereotyping of
religions or beliefs, and their adherents, on the human rights of those individuals and
their communities;

17. Requests the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance to report on all manifestations of
defamation of religions, and in particular on the serious implications of
Islamophobia, on the enjoyment of all rights by their followers, to the Council during its
12th Session;

18. Requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report to the Council at its
12th Session on the implementation of the present resolution, including on the possible
correlation between defamation of religions and the upsurge in incitement, intolerance
and hatred in many parts of the world.

Original article posted by Diana B. on March 18, 2009 at:

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