This is not a joke — although in a certain sense it is. “Islamic Bloc Wants to Set Up its Own Human Rights Body,” by Patrick Goodenough for CNS News, April 13 (thanks to all who sent this in):
(CNSNews.com) — A bloc of the world’s Islamic states, which has been accused of undermining human rights at the United Nations, is planning to establish its own “independent human rights commission.”
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the 57-nation bloc of Muslim nations at the U.N., held a conference Sunday at its headquarters in Saudi Arabia to discuss the plan.
OIC Secretary-General Eklemeddin Ihsanoglu in a speech stressed that “human rights and man’s dignity are an integral part of Islam and core components of Islamic culture and heritage,” according to an OIC statement.
International interest in the issue of human rights had grown exponentially over the past two decades, said Ihsanoglu, a Turkish academic. The complexity of the issue called for the need to refine the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights, he added, “in keeping with the current global human rights discourse.”
The 1990 declaration controversially states that all human rights and freedoms must be subject to Islamic law (shari”a), although senior Islamic leaders have over the years disputed the assertion that the Islamic document contradicts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The OIC statement did not elaborate on how the bloc envisaged that the Cairo Declaration would be “refined.”
Among the OIC”s more active members are countries where shari”a is imposed to varying degrees. Critics say the tenets of Islamic law often result in discriminatory treatment of women, religious minorities, and converts from Islam to other faiths.
Arguing that Islam and Muslims are increasingly under attack, the OIC has over the past decade sponsored a string of controversial “defamation of religion” resolutions at the U.N. General Assembly and at the world body”s human rights agencies, the Commission on Human Rights and its successor Human Rights Council.
Opponents of the campaign say it amounts to an attempt to place Islam and some of the more controversial practices associated with it above criticism — to protect a religion, rather than its adherents, from “defamation.”…