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OIC

Type: Opinion

Summary: 

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has warned the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) against pushing once more for a global blasphemy law. Ahead of a conference on combatting religious intolerance, the FIDH has sent out a strong warning against any attempt to ban "defamation of religion". The OIC is to host the conference from 3-4 June 2015, on the 2011 UN resolution about combatting "intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization" of people based on religion and belief. The resolution was aimed at challenging discrimination and "incitement to violence and violence against … persons based on religion or belief".

However, there are concerns among human rights and secularist groups that the OIC will use the conference to make another attempt for a global blasphemy law, or for other similar restrictions on criticising and discussing religion.

Summary: 

On October 1, 2009, the Obama administration in conjunction with the Egyptian government, introduced an anti-free speech measure to the United Nation’s Human Rights Council (HRC).  It was adopted the next day without a vote.

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The draft resolution, misleadingly titled “Freedom of Opinion and Expression” includes two troubling components.  First, it calls on nation states to take “effective measures” to address and combat “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence”.  It expresses concern and condemnation of “negative stereotyping of religions and racial groups”.  It further attempts to construe this as an international human rights law and obligation.  Second, it recognizes the media’s “moral and social responsibilities” and the “importance” that its potential voluntary code of conduct could play in combating intolerance.

This resolution appears to stem from, and constitute a step toward, the Organization of Islamic Conference’s resolution to “combat defamation of religions”.  The OIC’s resolution would ban outright the “defaming” of religions, speech critical of religion (even if accurate), and open discussion about any negative consequences resulting from the implementation of religious beliefs (such as Sharia law).

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