For quite some time, various secular and free speech campaigners have been highlighting the attempts by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to enshrine a special status for Islam into international law as well as their efforts to ensure that “religious defamation” is banned during discussion at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.
“This anti-blasphemy resolution is mostly seen to be putting a ‘chilling effect’ on Christian work and outreach around the world, and that is a very troubling development for us,” said Carol Moeller, president/CEO of Open Doors, according to Mission Network News.
The non-binding resolution was first introduced by Pakistan and the OIC at the UN Human Rights Council in 1999. It was amended to include religions other than Islam, and has since passed every year. In 2005, Yemen proposed a similar resolution before the General Assembly and now the 192-nation Assembly is set to vote on it again.
Resolution 62/145, which was adopted in 2007, says it “notes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.”
It “stresses the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred, against Islam and Muslims in particular.”
Moeller points out that the net effect of this resolution is for Christian evangelists to be silence or to be intimidated whenever Christianity and Islam encounter each other within a culture.
Although the resolution is non-binding, it has been passed several times giving it a kind of authority and, in effect protecting militant Islamists who retaliate against perceived offenses, Moeller said.
The slope is so slippery because everything that purports to criticize Islam is considered blasphemy. Anything that promotes another religious viewpoint, like Christianity, is considered blasphemy,” he said. “It really becomes the ultimate weapon against free religious speech around the world.
Other religious freedom advocates have also disapproved of the resolution, including Kevin “Seamus” Hasson, founder and president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and Paul Schriefer, advocacy director for Freedom House.