Free speech and religious liberty are two of America’s most cherished protections. But if the Organization of Islamic Cooperation gets its way, that could change not only in the United States, but around the world.
The Muslim group is pushing a United Nations resolution that would criminalize criticism of religions.
Speaking at a recent international religious conference intended to advance the resolution, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to convey that freedom of religion and expression go hand-in-hand.
“There is no contradiction between having strong religious beliefs and having the freedom to exercise them, and to speak about them and to even have a good debate with others,” she said.
Frank Gaffney, president of the American Center for Security Policy, didn’t mince words against the group — likening the OIC to a “multi-national Muslim mafia.”
“It is 57 states and Palestine that have come together to promote what is fundamentally the agenda that is known as Sharia,” he explained.
Religious rights groups say the U.N. resolution is really designed to prevent criticism of Islam and give cover to Islamic Sharia-based blasphemy laws like those in Pakistan.
“The countries pushing this resolution — their populations are 90-99 percent one single religious group,” said Jordan Sekulow, director of policy and international operations for the American Center for Law and Justice. “What is the problem here with the 1 percent speaking out and why is that such an issue that needs to be handled at the international level?”
Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of two, has been sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. And public officials in the country who have spoken out against the laws have been killed.
The OIC eventually dropped the defamation effort in favor of U.N. Resolution 16/18. But some believe the measure could also be used to introduce blasphemy laws in Europe and the United States.
“They are asking the West to enforce criminal punishments for blasphemy against Islam within Western borders against their own citizens,” explained Nina Shea, author of Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide.
“And the frightening thing is we’re starting to see this actually be adopted in places like Western Europe, Canada and Australia,” she told CBN News.
Sekulow says his organization is fighting to keep the resolution from becoming adopted because it could backfire and be broadly misinterpreted country by country.
“Just the building of churches … having a cross outside your door can be inciting violence,” Sekulow explained.
“So if you let them define these definitions when there is no problem coming from the minority faiths, this is somehow going to ‘green light’ their suppression,” he added.