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The UN: the more things change there the more they remain the same

ICC Note

Islamic States are using the UN for protection of Islamic faith. The UN shouldn’t be a forum that totalitarian regimes use for promoting the interest one faith. In reality non-Muslims living in Islamic dominated regions of the world should be protected by UN.

By Doug Bandow

January 11, 2008 Islam (Commonsenseandwonder)-As predictable as the sun rising in the east, the United Nations has voted to assault religious liberty. Islam, however, is to be protected from criticism since Muslims are said to be under vicious attack in the West.

The offending resolution, which denounces the “defamation of religions,” had its genesis in the UN Human Rights Council, created in 2006 to replace the long-discredited Commission on Human Rights. The inmates again have taken over the asylum as human rights violators joined the panel to insulate themselves from criticism. The only country certain to be denounced is Israel .

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There are a few outliers — Hindu India and Buddhist Burma, for instance. But most Communist states — think China , Cuba , North Korea , Laos , Vietnam — oppress believers. Similarly, most Muslim states, from Saudi Arabia to Iran to Pakistan to Indonesia , persecute or allow private persecution.

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THE MUSLIM STATES have taken a more aggressive position, reflecting the maxim that the best defense is a good offense. So Pakistan , where religious minorities face legal discrimination and private violence, led the battle against the “defamation” of religion.

The underlying philosophy is simple: people do not have a right to practice their chosen faith. Only Islam is valid. Thus Christians, Baha’i, Jews, Hindus, and others deserve whatever treatment they receive in Islamic societies. For apostates the penalty usually is death. Blasphemers risk lengthy prison terms. Evangelism often is a criminal offense.

Even if the state extends minimal toleration, minority believers should expect no protection from beatings, bombings, and murders meted out by devout Muslims.

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The Islamic states which lobbied so vigorously on behalf of the resolution obviously did not mean to criticize persecution of Christians, especially by their own governments. Rather, the measure indulged in guilt-mongering over nonexistent Western crimes against Islam.

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Thus, the real purpose of the UN defamation resolution (as well as the introduction of religious intolerance in UN discussions and forums involving xenophobia and racism) is to insulate Islam from criticism.

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In fact, the UN measure mentioned only Islam by name: “Alarmed at the continuing negative impact of the events of 11 September 2001 on Muslim minorities and communities in some non-Muslim countries, the negative projection of Islam in the media and the introduction and enforcement of laws that specifically discriminate against and target Muslims.”

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Finally, the resolution expresses “deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism” and over “the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001.”

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PERSECUTION RUNS almost entirely in the other direction. Congressional staffer Tina Ramirez pointed out when the resolution was before the Council that In Egypt, “Muslim bloggers are sentenced to prison for criticizing the actions of adherents of their own faith and Baha’i have been declared by the Supreme Court as non-Muslims and as such are discriminated against.”

She had more:

*”In Saudi Arabia and Palestine , textbooks teach religious intolerance towards the Jews and Christians.”

*”In Iraq , the ancient Mandaean and Chaldo-Assyrian communities have fled due to specifically being targeted for their religious beliefs.”

*”In India , several states have passed anti-conversion laws that threaten religious freedom and allowed violence to be carried out against the Muslim and Dalit communities.”

*”In Sudan , individuals practicing indigenous beliefs were enslaved and forced to convert to Islam.”

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Supporters of the resolution cited negative depictions of Islam and Muslims. For instance, Egypt, which jails moderate Muslims and tolerates violence against Coptic Christians, cited “offensive publication of portraits of the Prophet Mohamed” which “highlighted the damage that freedom of speech if left unchecked may lead to, not only hurting the religious feelings of more than a billion people, but also their freedom of religion and their right for respect of their religion.”

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THE RESOLUTION allows that “everyone has the right to freedom of expression,” but warns that that freedom “should be exercised with responsibility and may therefore” — you knew this was coming — “be subject to limitations as provided by law and necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, public health or morals and respect for religions and beliefs.”

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The resolution goes on to urge states to “prohibit the dissemination of racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”

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The UN also instructed governments to provide adequate legal and constitutional “protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions, to take all possible measure to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and their value systems.”

This from governments which persecute and tolerate persecution of Christians, Jews, Hindus, Baha’is, and others within their own nations. Indeed, what Islamic state does not, by definition, defame other faiths — claiming that Jesus is not the son of God, for instance, could be construed as grievous insult against all Christians.

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In reality, of course, Muslims are largely protected in Christian and secular lands. Discrimination, though unfortunate, is limited; Islamic pressure groups lobby and litigate in response to the barest threat.

In contrast, in most Muslim countries religious minorities are not just defamed, but brutalized, as persecution ranges from modest to severe.

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