Archive for Friday, November 20, 2009

Muslim countries seek blasphemy ban

November 20, 2009

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— Four years after cartoons of the prophet Muhammad set off violent protests across the Muslim world, Islamic nations are mounting a campaign for an international treaty to protect religious symbols and beliefs from mockery — essentially a ban on blasphemy that would put them on a collision course with free speech laws in the West.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Algeria and Pakistan have taken the lead in lobbying to eventually bring the proposal to a vote in the U.N. General Assembly.

If ratified in countries that enshrine freedom of expression as a fundamental right, such a treaty would require them to limit free speech if it risks seriously offending religious believers. The process, though, will take years and no showdown is imminent.

The proposal faces stiff resistance from Western countries, including the United States, which in the past has brushed aside other U.N. treaties, such as one on the protection of migrant workers.

Experts say the bid stands some chance of eventual success if Muslim countries persist. And whatever the outcome, the campaign risks reigniting tensions between Muslims and the West that President Barack Obama has pledged to heal, reviving fears of a “clash of civilizations.”

Four years ago, a Danish newspaper published cartoons lampooning the prophet Muhammad, prompting angry mobs to attack Western embassies in Muslim countries, including Lebanon, Iran and Indonesia. In a countermovement, several European newspapers reprinted the images.

The countries that form the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference are now lobbying a little-known Geneva-based U.N. committee to agree that a treaty protecting religions is necessary.

The move would be a first step toward drafting an international protocol that would eventually be put before the General Assembly — a process that could take a decade or more.

The proposal may have some support in the General Assembly. For several years the Islamic Conference has successfully passed a nonbinding resolution at the General Assembly condemning “defamation of religions.”

If the treaty was approved, any of the U.N.’s 192 member states that ratified it would be bound by its provisions. Other countries could face criticism for refusing to join.

Just last month, the Obama administration came out strongly against efforts by Islamic nations to bar the defamation of religions, saying the moves would restrict free speech.

“Some claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion is to implement so-called anti-defamation policies that would restrict freedom of expression and the freedom of religion,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. “I strongly disagree.”

But there are signs the U.S. is worried by the Islamic Conference campaign. Behind the scenes it has been lobbying hard to quash the proposal, dispatching a senior U.S. diplomat to Geneva last month for talks described as akin to trench warfare.

“The U.S. presence can be significant in determining the whole destiny of the process,” said Lukas Machon, who represents the International Commission of Jurists at the U.N.

From a legal point of view, “the whole exercise is dangerous from A-Z because it’s a departure from the practice and concept of human rights,” Machon said. “It adds only restrictions.”

In a letter obtained by the AP, Pakistan said insults against religion were on the increase.

The Islamic Conference “believes that the attack on sacredly held beliefs and the defamation of religions, religious symbols, personalities and dogmas impinge on the enjoyment of human rights of followers of those religions,” the letter said. It was sent last month to members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards, a temporary committee created to consider a previous anti-racism treaty.

In a separate submission to the committee, Pakistan proposed extending the treaty against racism to require signatories to “prohibit by law the uttering of matters that are grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion.”

It’s not clear who would decide what is considered grossly abusive, but each country’s criminal courts would likely have initial jurisdiction over that decision, according to Marghoob Saleem Butt, a Pakistani diplomat in Geneva who confirmed the campaign’s existence and has lobbied for the ban.

Comments

Brent Garner 5 years, 7 months ago

Let's see.

Cartoon about Muhammad = Muslim riots, death threats Criticism of Islam in US = Law suit by CAIR Copt (Christian religion in Egypt) walks down the street = assault by Muslim mob, Muslim owes Christian money in Pakistan = Muslim accuses Christian of blasphemy against Islam, Christian burned alive.

Muslims torch Bible = No reaction. Muslims in Indonesia kill 6 Christian school girls = no reaction. Muslims burn Christian churches = no reaction.

And Islam is a religion of peace??? I don't think so!

Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

“A judge for an Islamic militant group in Somalia says a woman has been stoned to death and her boyfriend given 100 lashes for having an affair.Sheikh Ibrahim Abdirahman, the judge for the group al-Shabab, says the woman was killed Tuesday in front of a crowd of some 200 people near the town of Wajid.Abdirahman says the 20-year-old woman had an affair with a 29-year-old unmarried man and gave birth to a stillborn child.The militants that control much of southern Somalia and have links to al-Qaeda have instituted a conservative reading of Islam's Sharia law.The stoning death was at least the fourth for adultery in Somalia over the last year. It was the second time a female has been killed.” http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/11/18/somalia-stoning-death-adultery-lashes.html

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

No apologies for Islam from me, any more than I'll apologize for the idiocy of Christians. But I certainly don't want their idiocy to become the justification for you goose steppers' goose stepping.

Richard Payton 5 years, 7 months ago

The ACLU will protect Muslims but not the Christmas scenes here in America. Equality for all not just some groups.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"The ACLU will protect Muslims"

The ACLU doesn't protect anybody. What they do protect are constitutional rights, for everyone, including Christians.

Stuart Evans 5 years, 7 months ago

I plan on suing Muslim countries for attempting to inhibit my freedom of speech, and also for fear mongering by spreading false stories regarding a supposed lake of fire and invisible man in the sky. I'm coming for the rest of the religions next.

jumpin_catfish 5 years, 7 months ago

When will Obama bring this to the USA? The ban I mean, oh it's already here.

puddleglum 5 years, 7 months ago

what about a muslim-ban wherever there are cartoons?

jaywalker 5 years, 7 months ago

To the story: Shocker. While I don't believe the West will ever cave on free speech, this still has an ominous ring to it. On the simplest level, the world could be delineated on a map by 'believers' and 'non-believers', at least by those that wished to see it that way. These are weird times.

"No one at the UN is going to do anything about this except table the MF. This topic is more at home on Glenn Beck."

Spoken like only the smallest mind would.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"On the simplest level, the world could be delineated on a map by 'believers' and 'non-believers', at least by those that wished to see it that way. "

Can you draw that map for us? Where would Kansas and Governor Brownback fall on that map?

jaywalker 5 years, 7 months ago

"Can you draw that map for us? Where would Kansas and Governor Brownback fall on that map?"

Brilliant. I'm sure they'll distinguish Kansas from the rest of the 'infidel States'. Oh, and Brownback....I guess? Obsess much?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"I'm sure they"

Who are "they?"

"I guess (I) Obsess (too) much."

There. Fixed it for you.

TacoBob 5 years, 7 months ago

Puddlegum,

Per the verse you quote, was the father wrong to do what he did?

benanhalt 5 years, 7 months ago

«Sounds like our own lefties imperial anti-free speech laws and thought policing.»

Yeah. You gotta watch those lefties. What with their always trying to introduce crazy, freedom-of-speech-killing legislation when it comes to protecting their silly symbols.

cough http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_Desecration_Amendment cough

I mean, you'd never catch someone on the right like Bill Frist or Orin Hatch trying something like that. Nope. Just those crazy lefties and their friends the scary Muslims.

benanhalt 5 years, 7 months ago

«The ACLU will protect Muslims but not the Christmas scenes here in America. »

The site http://www.aclufightsforchristians.com/ links to a story about how "ACLU Fights for Christmas Tree" along with many examples of the ACLU defending the religious freedom of Christians.

Took me all of two minutes to find it on Google. But, I guess two minutes is asking a bit much. After all the ACLU is soooo baaaaad, almost anything nasty you say about it is probably correct. If I wasn't such a contrary jerk, I wouldn't even have bothered to check. I mean, what are the odds that the one example you trot out to illustrate the evil of the ACLU would happen to be wrong? I can see why you wouldn't bother to check to make sure that no one could easily come along and make you look foolish by posting a single link. Such bad luck.

jaywalker 5 years, 7 months ago

Those that would "wish to see the world by such delineation". Is this concept too difficult to grasp for ya, bozo? And what am supposedly obsessing over? Did I bring up Brownback in a discussion over free speech and an Islamic-backed movement?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"Those that would “wish to see the world by such delineation”."

And that doesn't include Brownback and the rest of the religious right?

"And what am supposedly obsessing over? "

Pumping yourself up, among other things.

TacoBob 5 years, 7 months ago

Oops, meant to address my question above to Porch_Person.

jaywalker 5 years, 7 months ago

"And that doesn't include Brownback and the rest of the religious right?"

Gee, hadn't heard them side with Islam on making blasphemy internationally illegal, so I'm gonna say 'no'. Whew. That was a tough one! There's nothing 'inflating' about slappin' you around, bozo. Please feel free to go pump yourself.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"Gee, hadn't heard them side with Islam on making blasphemy internationally illegal"

Gee, you don't want to explain your sweeping generality, so now you want to narrow it down to this.

"There's nothing 'inflating' about slappin' you around, bozo."

And what's the purpose of that statement, if not to (attempt to) pump yourself up?

benanhalt 5 years, 7 months ago

«“And that doesn't include Brownback and the rest of the religious right?”

Gee, hadn't heard them side with Islam on making blasphemy internationally illegal, so I'm gonna say 'no'.»

http://brownback.senate.gov/public/press/record.cfm?id=255157

Brownback was in favor of the flag desecration amendment. I don't really see much difference between flag desecration and blasphemy which is essentially the desecration of religious symbols or language.

jaywalker 5 years, 7 months ago

"Gee, you don't want to explain your sweeping generality, so now you want to narrow it down to this."

Sorry if you can't keep up, bozo, but there was no "sweeping generality", the conversation was always in relation to the Islamists that are behind this movement. Get out of the basement, get some air.......and find a sixth grader that can explain the tough stuff for ya.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"and find a sixth grader that can explain the tough stuff for ya."

With you around, that would be redundant.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"I have a roll that I'm saving, it is not very good, rough and just doesn't pick up or absorb."

Have you done a comparison with Palin's book yet?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

I take it that was a rhetorical question.

But why do you have such an obsession with toilet paper? Potty training issues?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Enough-- and when I do, it's not to check out kinky toilet papers.

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