UN TREATY WATCH : OIC CONFERENCE EMPHASIZES LIMITS ON FREE SPEECH
“No such thing as Islamic terrorism,” delegate tells UN confab on religious sensitivities
The OIC hosted the 3rd Istanbul Process session, the product of a Western attempt to replace the Islamic group’s “defamation of religion” UN campaign.
Western states emphasized the need to protect free speech. United States Ambassador Eileen Donahoe paraphrased Hillary Clinton: ‘Is our faith so weak that we can’t discuss and question it?:
US Ambassador Michael G. Kozak
touched on America’s historical familiarity with blasphemy laws. He cited the 1798 “Alien and Sedition Acts” that facilitated deportation and prohibited public opposition to government. Mr. Kozak made the point that intolerance is often more likely to be stifled by protecting free speech rather than by banning it, and expressed his hope that focus would remain on how to better implement the prescriptions currently contained in Resolution 16/18, instead of adding new measures designed to further restrict free speech. When free speech is criminalized, violence becomes the only option. Freedom of expression and freedom of religion could strengthen one another.
At other times in the session, however, Western governments seemed more concerned to reassure religious sensitivities than to defend free speech.
The US reminded the conference that both President Obama and former Secretary of State Clinton had spoken out against the Innocence of Muslimsfilm of last year, whose depiction of Islam’s prophet was invoked as Muslims worldwide rioted and caused over 50 deaths.