Sunday, November 15

OIC defends “defamation of religion” proposal in letter to UN

You might know my opinion about the OIC. I think this is a truly venal organisation. It is breathtaking in its hypocrisy and is spectacular in its ignorance. Not to mention having a sense of self righteousness that is truly pukable.

I read about the latest puke outpouring here. I quote:

After suffering heavy public criticism, the Organization of the Islamic Conference defended its proposal to ban criticism of Islam in a letter addressed to a UN committee charged with defining the norms of anti-racism. It also resorted to attacking Western countries, mentioning only Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK as human rights violators, ignoring the suppression and oppression of religious minorities in Muslim countries.

The October 29th letter, sent to Idriss Jazairy, chairman of the “Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards,” was submitted by Pakistani representative Zamir Akram. It employs the same problematic logic seen during the committee sessions to justify criminalizing religious dissent.

The OIC letter argues that depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in newspaper cartoons amount to “psychological violence” and must therefore be prosecutable under international law. The letter says that “there already exist several schools of thought in Islam,” suggesting that sufficient exchange of ideas about Islam need only occur within its doctrinal sects. It lambastes the “malafide intentions” of Western countries that are fighting to protect freedom of expression. Specifically, Akram says that “hierarchical interpretations of fundamental freedoms” unfairly protect Jews against Holocaust denial. Finally, it attacks Universal Declaration of Human Rights for failing to take a “victim oriented approach” in addressing the plight of religious groups.

Seriously, go read the letter. I mean, come on. Dont you guys think you know what you come across as? You come across as whiners. You come across as people who are not liberal (in the classical enlightenment sense). You come across guys who are in a playground pointing fingers, he did it, Miss, why cant I do it. You have no idea about history. You dont understand basic concepts such as freedom of speech. You cannot distinguish between events such as Holocaust and anti-Semitism. You have no conception of freedom of the media. You do not understand pluralism. You have no coherent way of arguing why the world needs to listen to you. You belong to and represent usually undemocratic countries and then have the teremity to complain about non-representation. You have no idea about individual rights but decide that group rights, as defined by you, are important.

You Sirs, are a bunch of idiots. And while you are at it, get a good editor.

Also see this very interesting and useful policy brief. I quote the exec summary:

Over the past decade, countries from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have been working through the United Nations system to advance the problematic idea that there should be laws against the so-called “defamation of religions.”  Although touted as a solution to the very real problems of religious persecution and discrimination, the OIC-sponsored UN resolutions on this issue instead provide justification for governments to restrict religious freedom and free expression.  They also provide international legitimacy for existing national laws that punish blasphemy or otherwise ban criticism of a religion, which often have resulted in gross human rights violations.  These resolutions deviate sharply from universal human rights standards by seeking to protect religious institutions and interpretations, rather than individuals, and could help create a new international anti-blasphemy norm.  

In addition to seeking a new norm through these resolutions, OIC countries have argued in various UN contexts that existing international standards prohibiting advocacy of hatred and incitement already outlaw “defamation of religions.”  However, the provisions on which they rely—Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)—provide only limited exceptions to the fundamental freedoms of expression and religion.  These provisions were intended to protect individuals from violence or discrimination, not to protect religious institutions or ideas from criticism, and they should not be expanded to cover allegedly religiously defamatory speech.  Such an expansion, which unfortunately may have been lent support by new language on negative religious stereotyping and incitement in a recent UN Human Rights Council freedom of expression resolution, would undermine international human rights guarantees, including the freedom of religion.  It also would undermine the institutions that protect universal human rights worldwide.

These Muslim governments are doing a dis-service to their religion, their heritage and basic humanity in trying to push for this obscurantist view. Disgusting. They should be ashamed of themselves. Sighs, what am I saying? What shame?

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