GENEVA, Sept 26 (KUNA) -- The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
Wednesday called on the human rights council to treat Islamophobia as a law,
and must have equal treatment as anti-Semitism, especially in the legislations
existing is several Western countries.
The OIC also recalled on human rights on Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, which restricts the freedom of expression on issues relating
to racial discrimination and incitement to religious hatred.
The OIC welcomed the joint statement by the OIC Secretary general, Arab
League Secretary General, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security
and European Union High Representative for foreign and Security policy, in
which they shared the profound respect for all religion and refuse to allow
religion to be used to fuel provocation, confrontation and extremism.
They reiterated their strong commitment to take further measures and to
work for an international consensus on tolerance and full respect of religion,
including on the basis of UN Human rights Council resolution 16/18.
The OIC has never advocated any prohibitions on freedom of expression. Our
emphasis has been on the need to examine the consequences of unchecked,
unbridled, irresponsible statements and actions made by certain groups and
individuals that deliberately instigate as well as incite violence on the
basis of religion or belief.
This can also include situations involving religious minorities or
situations in which minorities react violently in their home or in societies
where their co-religionists are in a majority.
None of this is completely uncharted territory. For instance, we are all
aware of the fact that laws exist in Europe and other countries which impose
curbs on anti-Semitic speech, such as holocaust denial or racial slurs.
We need to acknowledge, once and for all, that Islamophobia in particular
and discrimination on the basis of religion and belief are contemporary forms
of racism and must be dealt with as such. Not to do so would be a clear
example of double standards.
The OIC's resolution on "Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping And
Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence, and Violence
against Persons based on Religion or Belief" adopted by consensus at the 16th
session of the Human Rights Council on 24 March 2011.
The attempt to address this very concern by bringing all the key players on
board. The consensus resolution was the result of a long and often, difficult
At the heart of the resolution are a series of practical steps to be taken
by states to combat the ever increasing instances of intolerance, negative
stereo-typing, stigmatization and discrimination and violence all over the
This core issue has been approached in a manner that is acceptable to all;
all stake-holders are bound by the commitments contained in the text.
The OIC believes that there is an urgent need to take concrete steps
towards the implementation of the plan action contained in the resolution to
avoid the occurrence of such condemnable incidents in the future.
If this is not done, there is a very real chance of a breakdown of the
delicate consensus on this issue as reflected in the resolution which would be
unfortunate for all of us.
The OIC remains ready to work with its international partners at the Human
Rights Council in Geneva and the UN General Assembly in New York, to address
and resolve these critical issues in order to better protect and promote human
rights as well as peace and security within our respective societies.
The OIC also calls upon the High Commissioner and her Office to assist this
Meanwhile, the OIC Group unequivocally condemns the recent production of a
film in the United States called "The Innocence of Muslims" which tries to
defame Islam and the personality of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon
This film is a blatant attempt to provoke religious hatred, discrimination
and intolerance that has led to unfortunate loss of life and damage to
property. In this context, we also strongly condemn the violence that resulted
in the deaths of a number of people including a US diplomat.
OIC noted that the Secretary General of the United Nations, The High
Commissioner for Human Rights and the US President, have also expressed their
opposition to the film.
Incidents like this clearly demonstrate the urgent need on the part of
states to introduce adequate protection against acts of hate crimes, hate
speech, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation
and negative stereotyping of religions, and incitement to religious hatred, as
well denigration of venerated personalities.
Over the past months, there have been a number of examples of acts of
incitement to hatred. These include despicable incidents involving the burning
of the Holy Quran, and the publication of defamatory cartoons.
OIC countries have repeatedly called on the Governments concerned to take
action to avert these offensive actions but nothing has been done on the
excuse that such action would be a violation of the freedom of expression.
The OIC underlines that the situation created by the malicious act affirms
once more the urgency for all States to fully uphold their obligations under
international law", in particular articles 19 and 20 of the ICCPR and article
4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
These are not exercises in freedom of expression but deliberate attempts to
discriminate, defame, denigrate and vilify Muslims and their beliefs.
Such acts constitute flagrant incitement to violence and are therefore in
contravention of ICCPR Articles 19 and 20. It is abundantly clear that there
exists an urgent need to establish an internationally acceptable threshold
between freedom of expression and incitement to violence and hatred. (end)
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