The presidential candidates should be asked what they think about this. “U.N. Anti-Blasphemy Resolution Curtails Free Speech, Critics Say,” by Jennifer Lawinski for FoxNews, October 3:
Religious groups and free-speech advocates are banding together to fight a United Nations resolution they say is being used to spread Sharia law to the Western world and to intimidate anyone who criticizes Islam.
The non-binding resolution on “Combating the Defamation of Religion” is intended to curtail speech that offends religion — particularly Islam.
Pakistan and the Organization of the Islamic Conference introduced the measure to the U.N. Human Rights Council in 1999. It was amended to include religions other than Islam, and it has passed every year since.
In 2005, Yemen successfully brought a similar resolution before the General Assembly. Now the 192-nation Assembly is set to vote on it again.
The non-binding 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 11 September 2001.”
It “stresses the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred, against Islam and Muslims in particular.”
But some critics believe the resolution is a dangerous threat to freedom of speech everywhere.
The U.S. government mission in Geneva, in a statement, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in July that “defamation-related laws have been abused by governments and used to restrict human rights” around the world, and sometimes Westerners have been caught in the web.
Critics give some recent news events as examples of how the U.N. “blasphemy resolution” has emboldened Islamic authorities and threatened Westerners:
— On Oct. 3 in Great Britain, three men were charged for plotting to kill the publisher of the novel “The Jewel of Medina,” which gives a fictional account of the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride. FOXNews.com reported U.S. publisher Random House Inc., was going to release the book but stopped it from hitting shelves after it claimed that “credible and unrelated sources” said the book could incite violence by a “small, radical segment.”
— An Afghan student is on death row for downloading an article about the role of women in Islam, FOXNews.com also reported.
— In December 2007 “a court reportedly sentenced two foreigners to six months in prison for allegedly marketing a book deemed offensive to Aisha, one of the Prophet Muhammad’s wives,” the U.S. government said.
— A British teacher was sentenced to 15 days in jail in Sudan for offending Islam by allowing students to name the class teddy bear Muhammad in November 2007.
— In February 2007 in Egypt an Internet blogger was sentenced to four years in prison for writing a post that critiqued Islam.
— In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered after the release of his documentary highlighting the abuse of Muslim women.
“It’s obviously intended to have an intimidating effect on people expressing criticism of radical Islam, and the idea that you can have a defamation of a religion like this, I think, is a concept fundamentally foreign to our system of free expression in the United States,” said former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton…