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World Leaders Take Podium at U.N. and Call for International Action to 'Criminalize' Blaspheming Islam

"The international community...should criminalize such acts that destroy the peace of the world."

Pakistani protesters burn a representation of a U.S. flag and an effigy of U.S. President Barack Obama in the Pakistani border town of Chaman along the Afghanistan border on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. (Photo: AP)

The wave of anti-Western violence that has swept the Middle East for the past several weeks has prompted renewed calls for anti-blasphemy laws from radical clerics in Egypt to imams in New Jersey.

Now, however, world leaders at the United Nations are adding their voices to the choir.

Supposedly provoked by an anti-Islam YouTube video, the prevailing train of thought seems to be that if people refrain from offending Islam or Muhammad, the rioting mobs are more likely to be peaceful.

The Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari took the podium at U.N. headquarters on Tuesday and said: "The international community must not become silent [observers], and should criminalize such acts that destroy the peace of the world."

The Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono agreed, adding: "I call for an international instrument to effectively prevent incitement of hostility or violence based on religions or beliefs."

Al Jazeera has video of the proceedings:

Al Jazeera noted that the issue was supposedly put to bed last year when U.N. member countries agreed to focus on "education, dialogue, and debate" rather than perceived offenses, but Ekmeleddin Ihsangoglu of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation said the approved resolution also calls for protecting Islam.

"[It] calls for adopting measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief," he specified, "So we have the mandate to that, but we have to adopt measures."

The Organization for Islamic Cooperation, it should be noted, represents 57 countries and about 1.5 billion Muslims.

So how are those in the West, who have been accustomed to free speech for hundreds of years, reacting?

The response can only be described as "mixed."

An article published Tuesday in Slate Magazine claims "the world doesn't love the first amendment," and that we should appease the extremists by taking down the YouTube video that is supposedly prompting all the violence.

The article's author Eric Posner writes:

Muslims need to grow a thick skin, the thinking goes, as believers in the West have done over the centuries. Perhaps they will even learn what it means to live in a free society, and adopt something like the First Amendment in their own countries.

But there is another possible response. This is that Americans need to learn that the rest of the world—and not just Muslims—see no sense in the First Amendment...


In his view, Americans should remember that freedom of speech is not "universal," and is really just a set of "cobbled-together compromises among political and ideological factions responding to localized events."

A human rights activist, on the other hand, maintained: "However disrespectful or hateful or offensive we find some comments on religion, we don't believe that criminal defamation laws are the solution.  It is a very slippery slope..."

Get a detailed look at how anti-U.S. players are attempting to subvert the West in The Blaze TV documentary "The Project" Wednesday and Thursday night online on TheBlaze TV or on Dish channel 212.


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