Sunday, January 24, 2010
Defamation of Religion! Is Islam in Danger?
The following article has been taken from the webpage ''Everything is up for Interpretation''. And the post below was posted by a writer named Nasir.
As the Pakistani Government with the help of other OIC countries is pushing for declaring ‘defamation of religion’ as a human rights violation, it is time for us to fight back.
This idea is being touted as the solution to the real problem of religious persecution and discrimination, this is only a farce. In reality it is being proposed to provide justification for governments to restrict religious freedom and free expression. It will also be used to provide international legitimacy for existing national draconian laws that punish blasphemy or otherwise ban criticism of religions. These national laws have already provided us with various cases of human rights violations. As international criticism has increased against these laws – these Muslim countries are trying to internationalize their laws to save face.
By pushing these laws these countries are also trying to create a new norm, they are trying to protect religious institutions and interpretations, rather then individuals. Amazingly these resolutions are trying to seek protection of religions in general but the only religion mentioned in them is Islam and its adherents. They do not explain how people of other religions will be protected and how this will be applied to them. They also do not describe the authority which will decide which statement is derogatory to religions? Will the question be decided by OIC? On its part OIC appears to consider any speech that the organization, or even a cleric or individual, deems critical of or offensive to Islam or Muslims to automatically constitute religiously defamatory speech.
For example, the March 2008 First OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia cites as religiously defamatory speech the publication of cartoons depicting the Mohammed or Allah in newspapers in several European countries and South Africa, Pope Benedict’s quotation of a fourteenth-century Byzantine emperor’s allegation that Mohammed was “bad and inhuman” for commanding his followers to spread Islam by the sword, and comments critical of Islam or Muslims by Dutch, Austrian, Norwegian, Italian, and Swiss politicians, mostly from far-right parties. Also mentioned is right-wing Dutch MP Geert Wilders’ production of a then-unreleased film that the OIC believed would “vilify” the Koran, and an article by a British columnist that called Islam “an uncompromising seventh-century ideology.”
This view goes far beyond the existing domestic legal concept of defamation, which protects individuals against false statements of fact that damage their reputation and livelihood. Implementing this approach would violate provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and various human rights treaties that protect, with only narrow exceptions, every individual’s right to receive and impart information and speak out.
This kind of export of blasphemy laws should be criticized at every level. We have many examples in countries like Pakistan and Egypt of how these laws have been abused. These laws have not stopped religious persecution and discrimination instead these laws have helped in religious persecution.
It should be emphasized to these nations that criticism of a religion or philosophy is a fundamental human right. This is the same right which was used by the prophets of these religions to further their own cause. By using force to silence religious criticism is not only a human rights violation its also a grave injustice to human intellect and the evolution in human thought.