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Leading Islamic Organization to Renew Fight to Make Insults Against Religions an International Crime


"...come out of hiding from behind the excuse of freedom of expression."

As the Obama White House continues to insist that the unrest in the Middle East is the direct result of an anti-Muslim YouTube video, Reuters reports that an influential Islamic organization on Wednesday implied it will begin fighting to make insults against religions an international criminal offense.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been pushing for an international blasphemy law for the better part of a decade, unsympathetic to countries like the United States that value the importance of free speech and thought.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the OIC, called upon the international community to "come out of hiding from behind the excuse of freedom of expression."

He insinuated that the anti-Muslim YouTube video and cartoons published by an Italian magazine portraying the prophet Muhammad represent a "deliberate, motivated and systematic abuse of this freedom," and warned such freedom of expression may threaten global security.

Additionally, the Saudi Arabia-based Human Rights Commission of the OIC called for an "international code of conduct" for media and social media to make sure people can't publish offensive material that may incite violence, just in case an international law against insulting religions wouldn't be enough.

In the past, the notion of such an oppressive global law would have been considered absurd.

More from Reuters:

As if to underline the point, a conference in Geneva of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which groups the world's major Protestant, Orthodox and Evangelical churches, urged Pakistan to abolish its blasphemy law, which carries a possible death penalty.

Critics say the law is widely misused to persecute non-Muslims, and cite this month's case of a Muslim cleric detained on suspicion of planting evidence suggesting that a 14-year-old girl had burned Islamic religious texts.

Pakistani Christians and Hindus at the WCC gathering said a global law against blasphemy, or "defamation of religion", would only endorse on an international scale the religious intolerance seen in Pakistan and in other Islamic countries.

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