News / Middle East

Islamic Nations Relinquish Demand for Defamation Laws

India Blasphemy ProtestsIndia Blasphemy Protests
x
India Blasphemy Protests
India Blasphemy Protests
In the wake of a U.N. resolution condemning discrimination on the basis of religion, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has stopped pushing for an international treaty banning the defamation of religion.  

The 57-member confederation of Muslim countries has lobbied for years for an international treaty that would outlaw blasphemy against Islam and other religions.

Ufuk Gokcen, the OIC's Permanent Observer to the U.N., played a key role in that effort.

But the Turkish diplomat said the OIC is now satisfied with U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 adopted last year.

"I don't see any attempt to go back to the old controversy over defamation and blasphemy," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said Resolution 16/18 recognizes that free expression plays an important role in bolstering religious tolerance.

Gokcen says that is correct.

"What Resolution 16/18 achieved is exactly that, that we put the emphasis - instead of the protection of the concept of religion - to protection of rights of individual believers, and I believe this framework is compatible with the First Amendment as well," he said.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects free speech, including blasphemy.
 
Gokcen says he accepts that it prevented U.S. authorities from taking down a recent anti-Muslim Internet video produced in the United States that triggered a wave of violence in Muslim countries.

"I believe that in the age of communication and the Internet you cannot stop this type of insulting or denigrating videos or books or publications by criminalizing. The best way to combat this issue would be to develop a kind of understanding, a mutual understanding among the international community, that we should not insult each other, and we should not defame each other. Of course, this requires a long-term cooperation and promotion of understanding," he said.  

Critics of the OIC say it should focus its efforts on the racist portrayals of Jews in Arab newspapers and school textbooks as well as attacks against Christians in some predominately Muslim countries.

Gokcen says that in its advocacy efforts the OIC treats anti-Semitic and anti-Christian prejudice as seriously as Islamophobia.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Metehan from: Turkey
October 26, 2012 4:22 PM
For you is your religion, and for me is mine.109:6 Kuran.


by: ron from: USA..USA..USA!!!
October 25, 2012 10:57 AM
Nice try Muslims. All this does is take away our free speach to denigrate their religion. This only protects them. You see, they acknowledge and respect (I think) the writings of the Torah (even though they have changed the stories to their advantage) and of the Christians. Keep in mind, this ruling does nothing to stop the hatred they have for those other peoples of other religions other than theirs. Laws like these only empower them.

How about this ruling, let them follow their rules and we follow ours. We don't force our rules on them and they don't force theirs on us. If they want to speak negatively about our religion or us about theirs, so be it. We will be judged when we stand before the King. And if you don't believe in any of this, do what you want as long as it is within the social law.

In Response

by: ron from: USA
October 26, 2012 10:44 AM
Annonymus: not sure how you interpreted my comments as being a blood thirsty warrior. I never said anything about killin g or war. I believe you did though.

People need to be cautious when groups of people want to impose their will on others in the name of their religion. Enough said on this.

In Response

by: Anonymous from: Palmdale, CA
October 25, 2012 9:14 PM
Stop blaming others, including God for your blood thirstiness. The God I know is the God of life. If killing is your way to heaven I want no part of you or your god. So sad, that's the reason we have Wars. I love all people despite their religion. You don't have to love or hate me because of mine. In my country we have freedom to express ourselves. We cannot outlaw Islam nor can we make rules concerning it. We have to tolerate it and you have to tolerate us. That's America!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid