WorldNetDaily, October 29, 2009: A resolution pending in the United Nations in one form or another since 1999 is being pushed again by the Islamic nations that originally proposed the plan they called "Defamation of Islam," which would ban criticism of the beliefs of Muhammad worldwide.
The proposal, sought by the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, now has been renamed "Defamation of Religions," but officials with Open Doors, an international Christian ministry operating in many of those Islamic states, is warning about its potential impact. [A] recent incarnation of the resolution sought to make the ban on criticism of Islam mandatory worldwide, even though support for the proposal at the time was plummeting.
Now, lobbying for the resolution has resumed among decision-makers at the U.N., according to Lindsay Vessey, the advocacy director for Open Doors who traveled this week to New York in opposition to the plan. If fully implemented, the resolution would ban "criticism" of religions worldwide. But Vessey told WND the real agenda was revealed by the original title of the resolution, "Defamation of Islam," which would "criminalize people who criticize a religion."
U.N. human rights provisions always have focused on individuals, but the concept of protecting a religion would give authoritarian governments virtually unrestrained power to attack individuals whose message they don't like, she said. "It would legitimize national blasphemy laws in countries that are actually going to persecute religious minorities, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan," she told WND.
Open Doors President Carl Moeller recently published a commentary describing what could happen under the proposal. "The United Nations is once again on the verge of introducing a resolution that goes against everything the world body supposedly stands for. A successful resolution would actually undermine the religious liberty and personal safety of Christians and members of other faiths," he wrote.
In fact, he said the resolution would "silence words or actions that are deemed to be against a particular religion, and that religion is Islam. While the stated goal seems relatively innocuous--blocking defamation of people's deeply held religious beliefs--in practice the statement is used to silence those whose only crime is to believe in another faith, or no faith at all."
He said the [Organization of the Islamic Conference] is the driving force behind the plan and noted, "The OIC's goal is anything but peaceful." He cited a comment from Leonard Leo of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, who described the resolution as an attempt to create a "global blasphemy law." "From the right to worship freely to the ability to tell others about Jesus Christ, the Defamation of Religions Resolution (previously called the 'Defamation of Islam' resolution) threatens to justify local laws that already restrict the freedom of Christians [and other religious minorities]," Moeller said.
When such laws are adopted locally, he said, they are used to bring criminal charges against individuals for "defaming, denigrating, insulting, offending, disparaging and blaspheming Islam, often resulting in gross human rights violations."
In August, Muslim extremists rampaged for several days through the Christian community in Gojra, Pakistan, he said. Seven Christians were killed, 19 injured and more than 100 homes looted. The violence was sparked by "an unsubstantiated rumor of 'blasphemy.'" The U.N. resolution will make such cases more numerous and worse when they occur, he said.