Now Western media face wrath of Islamic blasphemy laws

WND, by Leo Hohmann, August 1, 2017:

A group of international Islamist organizations led by the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, recently held a two-day conference on countering “Islamophobia” in which it recommends imposing Islamic blasphemy laws on the media worldwide.

Under Islamic law, it is considered a serious offense to criticize Allah, Muhammad or Islam. In countries like Pakistan, a Muslim can take a non-Muslim to court and claim he was “offended” by something that was said, resulting in a trial and jail time, even death, for the non-Muslim.

Christians in Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Sudan and other Muslim-dominated countries with significant Christian minorities have been the targets of brutal persecution, with the blasphemy laws often serving as the catalyst for their incarceration. Christians have been jailed, stoned, beheaded, and even had acid thrown in their faces for violating the blasphemy laws.

But the OIC, which consists of 57 Muslim-majority countries and boasts the largest voting bloc at the United Nations, is not satisfied with its own people living under threat of arrest for offending Islam by something that is said, written or posted on the Internet.

The July 15-16 symposium, held at London’s Central Mosque Trust and Islamic Cultural Center, was attended by lawyers, media leaders, politicians, academics from European universities and diplomats from various embassies. It was titled: “Mechanisms to challenge Islamophobia legally and through the media.”

Organizers spoke of the need for a new media strategy, citing there is usually a surge in “hate crimes” against Muslims following terrorist acts perpetrated by Muslims, such as the London Bridge attack and Manchester concert attack earlier this year.

But, as noted by the Barnabas Aid Fund, a group that advocates for persecuted Christians, the conference organizers’ reference to “Islamophobia” should not be confused with actual crimes of violence against Muslim people.

One of the three central themes of the conference was the legal status of “defamation of religion.” This is a term the OIC has previously used as part of its decade-long campaign to make criticism of Islam a criminal offense – even in Western democracies where free speech is a staunch tradition.

In fact, the section on “Islamophobia” in the OIC’s “10-year strategic action plan” published in 2005 only uses the word in this sense and makes no reference to countering hatred of Muslims as people.

So, when the London conference organizers spoke of looking at  countering Islamophobia from a “legal perspective,” this should be taken as a serious threat. In fact, only last December the OIC met in Saudi Arabia and launched a new media strategy, part of which aimed “to tackle Islamophobic discourse in the U.S., U.K., and European media.”

“Barnabas Aid strongly condemns all forms of anti-Muslim hatred,” the Christian-aid agency said in a statement Monday. “However, we also condemn the attempt to use the suffering that has resulted from recent terrorist attacks to advocate the introduction of what is, in effect, a backdoor Islamic blasphemy law.”

As Barnabas Aid has previously reported, there are attempts being made by Pakistan, and 27 other governments who are OIC members, to introduce global Islamic blasphemy laws. In fact, as Barnabas Aid points out, the Palestinian Authority recently enacted just such a law.

“These actions represent a serious threat not only to Christians in the world’s 57 Muslim-majority countries, but also to Christians in the West, particularly those who have fled persecution in Islamic countries and found sanctuary in Western countries,” Barnabas Aid stated.

It is particularly disturbing that the proposals from the Pakistan government seek to criminalize social media posts critical of Islam that are uploaded in Western countries.

So, although Dr. Mahjoub Bensaid of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization spoke at the conference of “the real and true image of Islam as a religion of peace which advocates tolerance,” what he appears to have meant is that non-Muslims should “tolerate” the introduction of an Islamic blasphemy law that prohibit any criticism of Islam by the media, and anyone who does not tolerate the blasphemy laws is labeled “Islamophobic.”

Philip Haney, co-author of the whistleblower book “See Something Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad,” says the OIC’s recent “recommendation” should not be viewed in a vacuum but as the latest in a series of moves by the international community aimed at criminalizing all criticism of Islam, which is being positioned as the global elites’ most favored religion. The end result will be the implementation of Islamic blasphemy laws worldwide.

Here is the timeline for the international effort to criminalize anti-Islam speech in accordance with Shariah law:

  • First came the OIC 10-year strategic plan (2005)
  • The United Nations Human Rights Council passed Resolution 16/18 (March 2011), with the help of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The resolution’s stated goal is “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.” It calls on all member states to consider adopting laws to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief. Other recommendations include creating government programs to promote inter-religious tolerance and dialogue, training government employees to be sensitive toward people’s religious sensitivities, which sounds reasonable were it not for the fact that Islam is by far the most sensitive of all the world’s faiths to criticism in the public square.
  • In July 2011, the OIC launched the Istanbul Process in cooperation with the U.S., led by Secretary of State Clinton to come up with a plan to help nations implement U.N. Res. 16/18 into law.
  • November 2011, under the leadership of former National Security Council chair John Brennan, the U.S. scrubs all references deemed offensive to Islam from its FBI counter-terrorism training manuals.
  • In December 2015, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in the wake of a terrorist attack in San Bernardino in which two Muslims killed 14 Americans, threatened to arrest and prosecute any American who posted comments that “edged toward violence” against the Muslim community.
  • Governments of Germany, U.K. and Canada have all passed or tried to pass laws over the last two years criminalizing speech deemed offensive to Islam.
  • In December 2016 the OIC issues its “Media strategy in countering Islamophobia and its implementation mechanisms” with special focus on media in the U.S., U.K. and Europe.
  • In January 2017, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated at a joint news conference with the Saudi foreign minister that “Islamophobia and Islamophobic comments…in some parts of the world” are the “fuel” that ignites global Islamic terrorism.
  • In April 2017, the U.S. Senate passed Resolution 118, co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Susan Collin, R-Maine, which critics say lays the foundation for future banning of anti- Islam commentary as “hate speech.”
  • In July 2017 the Palestinian Authority adopts so-called Abbas Blasphemy Law. This law applies to all social media postings. Anyone “sharing” or even “liking” a Facebook post that the PA disapproves of will be arrested and jailed.
  • In July 2017 a court in New Jersey bars anyone speaking at a public hearing regarding a mosque project from mentioning “Islam” or “Muslims.”

“The OIC has put a lot of effort into criminalizing speech critical of Islam, along with solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” Haney said. “Those two issues have been at the top of their agenda for the last 10 years, and I’d say they’ve made plenty of progress.”

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