The Youtube film “Innocence of Muslims” has been a blessing in disguise for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), writes Jacob Mchangama in Wall Street Journal Europe. For years the OIC has sought to adopt a legally binding prohibition against blasphemy. The European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, has now issued a joint statement with the OIC and the Arab League, on the “importance of respecting all prophets”.
For years the OIC has sought to adopt a legally binding prohibition against “defamation of religions” at the United Nations, an effort transparently aimed at criminalizing any criticism of Islam. Through an American-led compromise, the reference to defamation of religion was dropped last year in a nebulous Human Rights Council resolution on combating intolerance and “negative stereotyping.” The decision was hailed as a victory for free speech.
But the OIC has not given up its efforts to silence criticism of Islam. The group has merely changed tactics, focusing instead on dramatically expanding the U.N. ban against advocating religious hatred, writes Jacob Mchangama in the Wall Street Journal Europe. The European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, has also issued a joint statement with the secretaries general of the OIC and the Arab League that “condemn[s] any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to hostility and violence. While fully recognizing freedom of expression, we believe in the importance of respecting all prophets.” Read the piece here.