Showing posts with label UNHRC Resolution 16/18. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UNHRC Resolution 16/18. Show all posts

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Whither America on Religious Freedom?

-- Implementing the OIC's Resolution 16/18 (with updates)
-- USCIRF prepares for closure
-- New foreign policy priority: LGBT Rights

By Elizabeth Kendal

During the week of 12-16 Dec 2011, the US will have two opportunities to either defend OR diminish religious liberty. Religious liberty is already in decline in the US (see Religious Liberty Monitoring, label: USA). But by the end of next week we should know exactly what path the Obama administration intends to take with regard to domestic and international religious liberty policy. Will the tide be turned OR will the Obama administration add momentum to the flow of world forces in this age of escalating persecution? Whither America?

The US and the OIC: implementing UNHRC Resolution 16/18

As I have noted previously, far from being a breakthrough for free speech, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC's) new Resolution 16/18, "Combating intolerance . . ." is actually more dangerous than resolution 2005/3, "Combating Defamation of Religion". Indeed, the strategic shift from defamation to incitement actually advances the OIC's primary goal: the criminalisation of criticism of Islam. For, in Resolution 16/18, the OIC has deliberately and strategically adopted the language of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 20.2, which mandates: any advocacy of hatred that "constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law".

As The International Islamic News Agency (IINA) reported on 1 Aug 2011, implementation of the resolution will require that domestic and international laws be enacted to prevent the incitement that results "from the continued defamation of religions." In other words, anything that could have been deemed defamation under Resolution 2005/3 will doubtless now be deemed incitement under Resolution 16/18 -- incitement which must be prohibited by law.

The question no one seems to be asking is: What is it that makes some people highly incitable to reactionary violence and destruction?

For full background see: UNHRC Resolution 16/18
By Elizabeth Kendal, Religious Liberty Monitoring, 21 Aug 2011.

The first meeting pursuant of Resolution 16/18 took place in Istanbul on 15 July 2011. The next meeting will be held in Washington from 12-14 December 2011. It will be hosted by the Reverend Suzan Johnson Cook, (profile New York Times) the new US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

In July 2010, Foreign Police magazine noted that the Reverend Suzan Johnson Cook's appointment was "welcome but curious". For while the Harlem-born Johnson Cook (54) has an impressive, indeed phenomenal, resume -- particularly in urban evangelistic and pastoral ministry -- she has no experience at all in religious liberty or foreign policy.

I would suggest that when it comes to dealing with the propaganda and religio-political strategies that threaten religious liberty both domestically and internationally, then lack of religious liberty background puts the cause of religious liberty at a serious disadvantage. A cynic might even question whether this was exactly why Rev Johnson Cook -- described by the New York Times as "Billy Graham and Oprah rolled into one" -- was appointed.

Concerning the forthcoming US-OIC meeting, Judson Berger of FOX News notes: "Critics describe the get-together . . . as a Trojan horse for the long-running OIC push for restrictions on speech.

"A key worry is that the meeting could become a platform for Islamic governments to push for hate-speech laws which, in their most virulent and fundamentalist form, criminalize what they perceive as blasphemy.

"'It's just an astonishingly bad decision,' said Nina Shea, who sits on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and serves as director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom."

See: Free Speech Concerns Ahead of Meeting With Muslim Nations on Religious Tolerance
By Judson Berger for FoxNews, 11 Nov 2011

D.C. Islamophobia Conference Was a Bad Idea
December 13, 2011 11:19 A.M.
By Nina Shea
QUOTE: Legal and security officials of a delegation which will remain unnamed gave a sweeping overview of American founding principles on religious freedom and how they have been breached time and again in American history by attacks against a broad variety of religious minority groups — including now against Muslims. A raft of current cases were mentioned; America’s relative exemplary and distinctive achievement in upholding religious freedom in an emphatically pluralistic society was not. That same speaker reassured the audience, which was packed with diplomats from around the world, that the Obama administration is working diligently to prosecute American Islamophobes and is transforming the U.S. Justice Department into the conscience of the nation . . .

Across the room, smirking delegates from some of the world’s most repressive and intolerant regimes could be spotted, furiously taking notes.


The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) prepares for closure.

The US International Freedom from Religious Persecution (IFRP) Act 1998 tied international religious freedom to US foreign policy by mandating that sanctions be leveled against regimes deemed to be severe violators of religious liberty. As such, the US IFRP Act caste a veil of protection over many of the world's vulnerable religious minorities by ensuring that dictators had a reason to reign in their most intolerant and belligerent elements.

There is little doubt that the financial crisis of August 2008 robbed the US of her economic leverage, which in turn robbed the US Freedom from International Persecution (US IFRP) Act 1998 of its power. This is why persecution has increased so dramatically since Aug 2008. With the veil of protection stripped away, vulnerable religious minorities are now finding that impunity is the order of the day. And impunity is like fuel to the fires of persecution.

Despite this new reality, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) -- a Commission created by the US IFRP Act -- is still desperately needed. As violent persecution escalates globally, the USCIRF's role in monitoring religious liberty and advising the President, the Secretary of State, the US Congress and indeed the world, is more important than ever.

When impunity is the order of the day, the last thing the persecuted want or need is silence. Indeed, with violent persecution increasing, it is imperative that truth-revealing, hope-inspiring, silence-shattering speech be enabled and magnified, lest the persecuted simple slip from our consciousness into deadly darkness.

Consequently, it is profoundly disturbing that the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) will cease to exist from Friday 16 December 2011 unless funding is reauthorised before then.

USCIRF Announcement

6 December 2011

Dick Durbin May Block Religious Freedom Commission's Renewal to Force Feds to Buy Prison He Wanted for Gitmo Detainees.
Faith McDonnell, 5 Dec 2011

See also (recommended)
Myths about religious freedom abroad
By Felice D. Gaer and Nina Shea, Commissioners on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom - 12 Dec 2011


New foreign policy priority: LGBT (Gay) Rights.

On Tuesday 6 December, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in recognition of International Human Rights Day.

The principle focus of her speech was LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) Rights.

As this report from Associated Press reveals: "The Obama administration is making gay rights a foreign policy priority as the U.S. government agency monitoring international religious rights [the USCIRF] prepares to close.

Secretary of State Clinton's speech, which has been received with great excitement in the Gay community, has some serious worrying elements. (Transcript)

Excerpts and comments:

"In the 63 years since the [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] was adopted, many nations have made great progress in making human rights a human reality. . . In many places . . . the ability of religious minorities to practice their faith freely has been secured.
[Is this a "Mission Accomplished" statement?]

"Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm. I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] people . . .

"Now, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs.
[Note: undefined "religious beliefs" are, in and of themselves, deemed to be an obstacle to the human rights of LGBT people.]

"Of course, it bears noting that rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights."
[This implies that any religious teaching that conflicts with "human rights" as defined by the UN and "international community" will be rejected as erroneous interpretations, unrepresentative of the faith: i.e. the Islamic fundamentalist teaching that homosexuals should be killed; and the traditional mainline Christian teaching that homosexuals couples are not eligible for marriage which is defined as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.]

"Indeed, our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings."
[Considering the fact that Mrs Clinton is speaking to a highly diverse audience, what does she mean by "our religion" and "our culture"? Clearly Mrs Clinton is asserting here that all religions and cultures are not only inherently the same, but inherently compassionate and inspirational as well. Of course the dhimmis and dalits of this world -- human beings who want their human rights protected FROM abusive religion and culture -- might disagree.]

"It was not only those who've justified slavery who leaned on religion, it was also those who sought to abolish it. And let us keep in mind that our commitments to protect the freedom of religion and to defend the dignity of LGBT people emanate from a common source."
[NOTE: "dignity" is not defined. To one it may mean right to live in peace and security according to the traditional understanding of human rights, while to another, dignity might include the "right" not to be offended, or the "right" not to have your religious or lifestyle choices challenged.]

The following paragraph is especially concerning.

"But progress comes from changes in laws. In many places, including my own country, legal protections have preceded, not followed, broader recognition of rights. Laws have a teaching effect. Laws that discriminate validate other kinds of discrimination. Laws that require equal protections reinforce the moral imperative of equality. And practically speaking, it is often the case that laws must change before fears about change dissipate." (emphasis mine)
[This is a clear, unambiguous warning that laws will soon be enacted to teach us not to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. How long will it be before anti-defamation or anti-incitement laws are enacted that will essentially criminalise all criticism of the LGBT lifestyle? Just as the OIC is seeking to protect and advance Islam, so too is the Gay lobby seeking to protect and advance the homosexual lifestyle -- all in the name of "human rights". But this has nothing to do with human rights. This is authoritarian repression and radical social engineering in the name / under the cover of human rights.]

"This morning, back in Washington, President Obama put into place the first U.S. Government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad. Building on efforts already underway at the State Department and across the government, the President has directed all U.S. Government agencies engaged overseas to combat the criminalization of LGBT status and conduct, to enhance efforts to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, to ensure that our foreign assistance promotes the protection of LGBT rights, to enlist international organizations in the fight against discrimination, and to respond swiftly to abuses against LGBT persons.

"I am also pleased to announce that we are launching a new Global Equality Fund that will support the work of civil society organizations working on these issues around the world. This fund will help them record facts so they can target their advocacy, learn how to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets, train their staffs, and forge partnerships with women’s organizations and other human rights groups. We have committed more than $3 million to start this fund, and we have hope that others will join us in supporting it." (emphasis mine)
[So if the Obama administration fails to reauthorize funding for the USCIRF, then at least we will know where the money is going!]

See also:
Obama, Clinton to World: Stop Gay Discrimination
By Anne Geran, AP National Security Writer
GENEVA, 6 December 2011 (AP)
Quote: The Obama administration bluntly warned the world against gay and lesbian discrimination Tuesday, declaring the U.S. will use foreign assistance as well as diplomacy to back its insistence that gay rights are fully equal to other basic human rights.

Obama Elevates Gay Rights as a Foreign Policy Priority
Dan Robinson, at the White House for Voice of America, 6 Dec 2011

Clinton Says Obama Wants Gay Rights Over Religious Freedom in Key Speech
By Paul Stanley, Christian Post, 7 Dec 2011

COMMENTARY: Obama, Clinton put world on notice over LGBT rights
Ken Williams - Editor in Chief, SDGLN (San Diego Gay & Lesbian News)
7 December 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

UNHRC Resolution 16/18

-- the OIC, the UN and Apostaphobia

By Elizabeth Kendal

The following post adapts and expands upon an address I presented at Christian Faith & Freedom's July 2011 "Free to Believe" conference in Canberra, Australia.

Thesis: While it has been hailed in the West as a victory for free speech, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference's (OIC's) new Resolution 16/18, "Combating intolerance . . .", is even more dangerous than resolution 2005/3, "Combating Defamation of Religion". Far from being an OIC back-down or a breakthrough for liberty, the change in focus from defamation to incitement is not only totally consistent with OIC strategy since early 2009, but it actually advances the OIC's primary goal: the criminalisation of criticism of Islam.

NOTE: on 28 June 2011, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference changed its name to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

2,858 words


On 12 April 2005, United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), meeting for its 61st session in Geneva, passed HR Resolution 2005/3, "Combating Defamation of Religions": 31 for, 16 against and 5 abstentions.

The resolution was presented by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) under Agenda Item 6 pertaining to "racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination".

Islam on-line (IOL) reported it this way: "The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted on Tuesday, April 12, a resolution calling for combating defamation campaigns against Islam and Muslims in the West." ("UN calls for Combating Anti-Islam Campaigns", 12 April 2005)

The passing of the resolution heralded a fundamental shift in international Human Rights. Religion (specifically Islam) was to be awarded rights normally reserved for human beings.

Resolution 2005/3 expressed alarm at post-9/11 discrimination of Muslims in non-Muslim countries and noted with concern that "defamation of religions is among the causes of social disharmony and leads to violations of human rights". The resolution noted with deep concern that Islam and Muslims were coming under attack in human rights forums and that Muslim minorities were increasingly the victims of stereotyping and profiling.

It expressed "deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights abuses, violence and terrorism", while labelling organisation that defame Islam as "extremist". States were urged to "take all possible measures to promote respect for all religions and their value systems". (emphasis mine)

Finally, the resolution "Requests the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance to continue to examine the situation of Muslims and Arab peoples in various parts of the world . . . and to report on his findings to the Commission at its sixty-second session [April 2006], and to make recommendations to improve their situation . . ."

The language had been carefully chosen, for "defamation", as it is normally defined, is "communication to third parties of false statements about a person that injure the reputation of or deter others from associating with that person." (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law)

From the very outset, the OIC's agenda was to have criticism of Islam deemed defamatory so that it might be criminalised.

Once the resolution was passed, the OIC had a 12 month window -- from April 2005 to April 2006 (next sitting) -- in which to ensure that the Special Rapporteur would reach the conclusion sought by the OIC: that "defamation" of Islam needed to be banned.


Sept 2005: Jyllands Posten publishes Muhammad cartoons (competition). NOTE: no riots.

October 2005: Muhammad cartoons reprinted in Cairo during Ramadan. NOTE: no riots.

Dec 2005: OIC Summit, Dakar, Senegal.
OIC formulates its 10 Year Plan which includes a 4-point item entitled "Combating Islamophobia".

Item VII. Combating Islamophobia

1. Emphasize the responsibility of the international community, including all governments, to ensure respect for all religions and combat their defamation.

2. Affirm the need to counter Islamophobia, through the establishment of an observatory at the OIC General Secretariat to monitor all forms of Islamophobia, issue an annual report thereon, and ensure cooperation with the relevant Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in order to counter Islamophobia.

3. Endeavor to have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia, and call upon all States to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments.

4. Initiate a structured and sustained dialogue in order to project the true values of Islam and empower Muslim countries to help in the war against extremism and terrorism.

As soon as the Dec 05 Dakar Summit concluded, the Arab League got to work. The result: the Cartoon Intifada of February-March 2006 which left a trail of death and destruction from the Levant through South Asia and Africa; with large and disturbing street protests in numerous major cities, particularly London.


In March 2006, the UN General Assembly voted to replace the thoroughly discredited UN HR Commission with a smaller and supposedly improved UN HR Council. Actually the new UNHRC has all the same problems as the old UNHRC. While the progress of Resolution 2005/3, Combating Defamation of Religion, was delayed for a year, it mattered not, for through the Cartoon Intifada the OIC had established a precedent: "defamation" of Islam leads to death and destruction.

In March 2007, the UN HR Council passed Resolution 2005/3, Combating Defamation of Religion: 24 for, 14 against, 9 abstentions.

See: UN Human Rights Council: Protecting Religion
By Elizabeth Kendal for WEA RLC, 12 April 2007

Subsequently, the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Doudou Diène (a Senegalese Muslim), presented his report on 21 August 2007.

According to Special Rapporteur Doudou Diène, "defamation" of Islam arises out of "baseless Islamophobia" which expresses itself as "hatred of Muslims" which in turn gives rise to "extremism". His conclusion: those who "defame" Islam must be held accountable for Islamic extremism.

However, according to Diène, anti-Semitism is not religious or racial but political and Israel's fault. Likewise, he claimed, the Christianophobia that is evident in "South America, Africa and Asia" (NOTE: the Middle East was not on his list) is caused by the aggressive and unethical proselytising of evangelical Christians. Diène charged that Christians had "exploited freedom of expression" to defame religions, including Voodoo and other traditional faiths. He claimed that by defaming Hinduism, Christians had created the environment that favoured the emergence of militant Hindutva. Thus unlike Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Christianaphobia were not baseless, but were valid responses from threatened peoples.

The Special Rapporteur concluded with this recommendation: "In the light of the polarised and confrontational readings of these articles ["international instruments, and in particular articles 18, 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" (ICCPR)] the UNHRC should "promote a more profound reflection on their interpretation". Diène recommended that the UNHRC "consider the possibility of adopting complementary standards on the interrelations between freedom of expression, freedom of religion and non-discrimination, and in particular by drafting a general comment on article 20".

Article 20 of the ICCPR states:
1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.
2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law. (emphasis mine)

I commented at the time, that any effort to include "defamation" of religion (especially when defamation is essentially nothing more than criticism) in the same category as "incitement" would serve totalitarian forces from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe that seek to make religious liberty an issue not of fundamental, universal human rights, but an issue of harmony, social cohesion and national security.

Furthermore I proposed that the very heart of the issue was not "defamation" of Islam or "baseless" Islamophobia, but the fact that the dictators of Islam are now as ever consumed with and driven by "apostaphobia". This touched such a raw nerve with the dictators of Islam that it won a citation in the OIC's 1st Observatory of Islamophobia.

I proposed that apostaphobia be defined as a well-founded fear of loss of authority through loss of adherents, which manifests primarily as uncompromising repression and denial of fundamental liberties, by violent and subversive means.

I also proposed that the UNHRC add apostaphobia to its vocabulary, and confront apostaphobia by upholding the international human rights covenants that protect the fundamental, universal right of individuals to religious liberty, not seek to reinterpret and amend those covenants to protect religions and apostaphobic religious dictators from the threat posed to them by religious liberty.

See: UNHRC: Watershed Days
By Elizabeth Kendal for WEA RLC, 18 September 2007

The fact is: on account of the new openness available through satellite, internet and mobile phone technologies, disillusioned Muslims are rejecting and leaving Islam in unprecedented numbers. Consequently, the apostaphobia of the dictators of Islam is rising.

See: Religious Liberty Trends 2007-2008 (Apostasy & Apostaphobia)
By Elizabeth Kendal for WEA RLC, 15 Feb 2008

Apostasy, and the baptism of Madgi Allam
By Elizabeth Kendal for WEA RLC, 4 April 2008

[NOTE: in June 2011, World Council of Churches, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the World Evangelical Alliance appeased the apostaphobic dictators of religion and advanced their cause by publishing complementary standards for Christian witness.]


In December 2007, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2005/3, Combating Defamation of Religion: 108 for, 51 against, with 25 abstentions. (NOTE: 10 Year Plan, Item VII, point 3 part (a) -- achieved!)

In March 2008, the OIC presented its 1st Observatory Report of Islamophobia to the OIC’s 11th session in Dakar. The report, which drew heavily on the UN Special Rapporteur's August 2007 report, proposed that the world's view of Islam be corrected and that "deterrent punishments" for "defamation" be established. (NOTE: as per 10 Year Plan, Item VII, point 3 part (b))

The Observatory Report of Islamophobia asserted that, in order to have peace, the correct (i.e. OIC-approved) version of history and of Islam must be understood, promoted and accepted; clearly anything else is "baseless" Islamophobia or inciteful "defamation" of Islam, responsible for the violent, destructive and retaliatory (as distinct from immature, irrational and criminal) Muslim-rioting in the world today. It also claimed that Islamophobia exists in part because there is no legal instrument to combat it, therefore a "binding legal instrument" must be created "to fight the menace of Islamophobia".

See: OIC: Eliminating "defamation" of Islam.
By Elizabeth Kendal for WEA RLC, 25 March 2008


Support for Resolution 2005/3, Combating Defamation of Religion, declined during 2008 as the free world started to realise the degree to which freedom was being threatened.

March 2008. Resolution 2005/3 passes in the UNHRC: 21 for (down from 24 in 2007); 10 opposed; 14 abstain.

November 2008. Resolution 2005/3 passes in the UN GA: 85 states for (down from 108 in 2007), 50 opposed; 42 abstentions.

But then, failing to read the signs, the OIC started arrogantly overplaying its hand. In November 2008, at the UN GA 63rd session, several OIC members asserted that Islamophobia is a "new form of racism" that is "incited" by "defamation of religion" which is a "misuse" of the right to freedom of speech.

See: The OIC & the UN: Islamophobia and "defamation of religion"
By Elizabeth Kendal for WEA RLC, 14 Nov 2008

Then, at the UN World Conference against Racism (Durban II) in April 2009, the OIC launched its new strategy to have defamation recast as incitement as per the ICCPR Article 20.2: "Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law."

The OIC maintained that Islamophobia -- "a new form of racism" -- must be eliminated in order to preserve peace and prevent a Muslim "holocaust".

See: The OIC & the UN: defamation of religions as incitement
By Elizabeth Kendal for WEA RLC, 21 Nov 2008

April 2010. Resolution 2005/3, Combating Defamation of Religion, passes in the UNHRC, but by the slimmest margin in the history of the resolution: 20 for; 17 opposed; 6 abstentions. The abstainers were becoming opposers.


In March 2011, after discussions with the US held in wake of the blasphemy assassinations of the governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, and Minorities MP, Shabbaz Bhatti , Pakistan presented the UNHRC with a new resolution.

24 March 2011. The UNHRC passes HR Resolution 16/18: "Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief."

The resolution was presented by Pakistan for OIC under Agenda item 9 pertaining to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related form of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

The resolution was immediately hailed as a "huge achievement" -- a breakthrough for human rights.

Excerpts: UNHRC Resolution 16/18 (emphasis mine)

The Human Rights Council,

(1) Expresses deep concern at the continued serious instances of derogatory stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of persons based on their religion or beliefs, as well as programmes and agendas pursued by extremist organizations and groups aimed at creating and perpetuating negative stereotypes about religious groups . . .

(3) Condemns any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence [NOTE: exact wording of ICCPR Article 20.2], whether it involves the use of print, audio-visual of electronic media or any other means . . .

(5) . . . call[s] on States to take the following actions to foster a domestic environment of religious tolerance, peace and respect, by:
(e) Speaking out against intolerance, including advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence [NOTE: exact wording of ICCPR Article 20.2];
(g) Understanding the need to combat denigration and negative religious stereotyping of persons, as well as incitement to religious hatred . . .

(6) Calls upon all States:
(d) To make a strong effort to counter religious profiling, which is understood to be the invidious use of religion as a criterion in conducting questionings, searches and other law enforcement investigative procedures;


Presumably this resolution would permit a critic to assert that "fundamentalist Islam is inherently violent", while making it unacceptable for an employer or security officer to suggest than an Islamic fundamentalist should not be employed at this school or that airport, or that they should be watched or investigated or searched -- for that would be negative profiling based on religion.

Meanwhile, though the language of "defamation" has been eradicated, a critical / offensive comment such as "fundamentalist Islam is inherently violent", would doubtless be viewed as incitement. In fact anything that could have been deemed "defamation" under Resolution 2005/3 will doubtless be deemed incitement under Resolution 16/18.

This shift in focus from "defamation" to incitement -- something the OIC has been pursuing since April 2009 -- is hugely significant as the ICCPR specifically mandates that incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence be prohibited by law (ICCPR Article 20.2).


In line with Item VII, point 4 of the OIC's 10 year plan, Article 9 of Resolution 16/18 "Calls for strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue for the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human rights and diversity of religions and beliefs . . ."

The first meeting pursuant of Resolution 16/18 took place in Istanbul on 15 July 2011 and was co-chaired by OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"The test would lie in the implementation", said Ihsanoglu, adding that there was a delicate balance between freedom of expression and incendiary speech. "We continue to be particularly disturbed by attitudes of certain individuals or groups exploiting the freedom of expression to incite hatred by demonizing purposefully the religions and their followers."

See: OIC, West pledge to combat intolerance 16 July 2011

ArabNews reports: "Speaking of the United States, Clinton said: 'We have seen in the United States how the incendiary actions of just a very few people can create wide ripples of intolerance, so we are focused on promoting interfaith education and collaboration, enforcing anti-discrimination laws, protecting the rights of all people to worship as they choose, and to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming so that people don't feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.'"

The next meeting to discuss the implementation of Resolution 16/18 will held in Washington in the coming months.

The International Islamic News Agency (IINA) reports (1 Aug): "According to informed sources in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the two sides, in addition to other European parties, will hold a number of specialized meetings of experts in law and religion in order to finalize the legal aspect on how to better implement the UN resolution.

"The sources said that the upcoming meetings aim at developing a legal basis for the UN Human Rights Council's resolution which help in enacting domestic laws for the countries involved in the issue, as well as formulating international laws preventing inciting hatred resulting from the continued defamation of religions."

IINA quoted OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu being quick to exploit Anders Behring Breivik's 22 July 2011 Oslo massacre, a tragedy Ihsanoglu cited as evidence of the danger posed by institutionalised Islamophobia. ("OIC/ Islamophobia: OIC Observatory warned wince 2009 against the growth of the extreme right in Europe, Washington plans to host a meeting on resolution opposing defamation of religions." IINA, 1 Aug 2011. NOTE: article has been removed.))

And so, while it is being hailed in the West as a victory for free speech, Resolution 16/18, "Combating intolerance . . .", is even more dangerous than resolution 2005/3, "Combating Defamation of Religion". It is in no way an OIC back-down or a breakthrough for liberty. Rather, the change in focus from defamation to incitement is not only totally consistent with OIC strategy since early 2009, but it actually advances the OIC's primary goal: the criminalisation of criticism of Islam.