The UN Third Committee has passed a resolution calling on countries to prohibit “defamation of religion.” This is the latest in a series of non-binding resolutions passed in various UN committees calling for such laws. Those resolutions are sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), whose goal is to make these resolutions binding as a part of international law.
But while the draft’s sponsors say it and earlier similar measures are aimed at preventing violence against worshippers regardless of religion, religious tolerance advocates warn the resolutions are being accumulated for a more sinister goal.
“It provides international cover for domestic anti-blasphemy laws, and there are a number of people who are in prison today because they have been accused of committing blasphemy,” said Bennett Graham, international program director with the Becket Fund, a think tank aimed at promoting religious liberty.
“Those arrests are made legitimate by the UN body’s (effective) stamp of approval.”
It is not a coincidence that Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, the president of the UN General Assembly, held a press conference the day before last week’s UN meeting on religious tolerance hosted by Saudi Aravbia, and said that defamation of religion should be banned as a form of intolerance. There is a major push on to push for such laws.
By “defamation of religion” they mean anything that any religious person or group finds insulting, like the Danish cartoons criticizing radical Muslims for their violent tendencies (a criticism those same people answered by firebombing embassies and calling for the extermination of anyone who “insults Islam.” In the wake of those cartoons, there were rallies all over the world with people making demands like this:
If we don’t want free speech to go to hell, we need to stand up against such laws.