U.N. Proposal to Criminalize “Defamation of Islam”

A quote from UN Watch, 11 March 2009

UN Watch, a human rights monitoring organization based in Geneva, denounced a new U.N. resolution circulated today by Islamic states that would define any questioning of Islamic dogma as a human rights violation, […]

UN Watch obtained a copy of the Pakistani-authored proposal after it was distributed today among Geneva diplomats attending the current session of the UN Human Rights Council. Entitled "Combating defamation of religions," it mentions only Islam. […]

“This is an Orwellian text that distorts the meaning of human rights, free speech, and religious freedom, and marks a giant step backwards for liberty and democracy worldwide,” said [UN Watch executive director Hillel] Neuer.

“The first to suffer will be moderate Muslims in the countries that are behind this resolution, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan, where state-sanctioned blasphemy laws stifle religious freedom and outlaw conversions from Islam to other faiths,” said Neuer.

“Next to suffer from this U.N.-sanctioned McCarthyism will be writers and journalists in the democratic West, with the resolution targeting the media for the ‘deliberate stereotyping of religions, their adherents and sacred persons.’”

“Ultimately, the very notion of individual human rights is at stake, because the sponsors of this resolution seek not to protect individuals from harm, but rather to shield a specific set of beliefs from any question, debate, or critical inquiry,” said Neuer.

”The very term ‘defamation of religion’ is a distortion. The legal concept of defamation protects the reputations of individuals, not beliefs. […]”