Organisation of Islamic Co-operation have abandoned plans to introduce global blasphemy law through the UN.
This is great news.
For years the Organisation of the Islamic Co-operation (OIC) – comprising 57 Islamic nations – had campaigned for a ‘Defemation of Religion” UN resolution.
In other words a global blasphemy law.
Many observers noted how ‘blasphemy’ laws were used in Islamic nations to terrify, subjugate, and in some cases, murder religious minority groups and non-believers, and so they fought tooth and nail against this UN resolution for many years.
On the 25th March 2011, after 12-long years, the Islamic countries admitted defeat and set aside their campaign.
However, diplomats from Islamic countries warned at the time that the council could well return to campaigning for an international law against religious defamation in the future.
In the wake of the violent reactions to the Innocence of Muslims film, groups such as Hezbollah, the Arab League – and quite foolishly – some Catholics and even Anglicans made a call for a global defamation law. Concern was raised that this would provide fresh impetus for the OIC to push for a UN resolution on religious defamation.
Well, today the National Secular Society are reporting the following:
The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation has revealed that it has abandoned plans to introduce a global blasphemy law through the United Nations.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said his 57-nation body would not try again for United Nations support to ban insults to religion, saying that Western opposition — particularly from the USA and Europe — made the prospect of success very remote.
“We could not convince them,” said the Turkish head of the 57-member organisation which had tried from 1998 until 2011 to get a United Nations-backed ban on blasphemy. “The European countries don’t vote with us, the United States doesn’t vote with us.”
Western countries see the publication of such images and materials as a matter of free speech.
The campaign for a worldwide ban on “religious defamation” was revived after the posting of the Innocence of Muslims video on YouTube. Twenty-five people have been killed during protests over the video.
Ihsanoglu told a conference in Istanbul at the weekend that the OIC had failed to win a ban at the United Nations and would not revive its long diplomatic campaign for one.
Asked about recent media reports that the OIC wanted to resume the campaign for a blasphemy ban, he said: “I never said this and I know this will never happen.”
The OIC respects freedom of expression but sees anti-Islam videos and cartoons as an abuse of this freedom that Western countries should sanction through their own blasphemy or hate crime laws, he said.
Let’s hope this marks the end of this once and for all.