U.S. activists lobby against U.N. defamation resolution
In a recent report on blasphemy laws, the human rights watchdog group Freedom House concluded that rules in seven countries — including the Muslim countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan — led to violations rather than protections of human rights, especially of religious minorities.
"Because no one can agree on what constitutes blasphemy, laws that attempt to ban it are themselves vague, highly prone to arbitrary enforcement and are used to stifle everything from political opposition to religious inquiry," wrote Paula Schriefer, Freedom House's advocacy director, in a New York Times op-ed.
The OIC's blasphemy proposal is part of a wider initiative of its 57 member states to counter what they consider "systemic defamation of Islam." An OIC news release said OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu "underscored the dangerous consequences of the growing trend of Islamophobia on global peace and security."
The U.S. State Department has previously criticized the OIC's U.N. resolutions.
"While the United States deplores actions that exhibit disrespect for particular religious traditions, including Islam, we do not agree with the 'defamation of religions' concept because it is inconsistent with the freedoms of religion and expression," it said in its 2009 report on international religious freedom.
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