Is Our Free Speech Slipping Away?Posted: July 3, 2016
The OIC or Organization for Islamic Cooperation is the second largest international agency after the United Nations. The international group, founded in 1969, is made up of 56 member states and the Palestinian Authority. 49 of the member nations have populations that are predominately Islamic, and the remaining 8 have large Muslim minorities. The organization describes itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world.” Its purpose is to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world” while promoting “international peace and harmony.”
The OIC has a permanent delegation to the United Nations and to the European Union. This delegation makes up the largest voting block in the United Nations. The Organization routinely condemns Israel, accusing the nation of terrorism while refusing to recognize any violent actions against Israel as terrorism. At a summit in March of 2016, the OIC called on its member states to ban products made in or produced by Israel to pressure Israel to end its “occupation of Palestinian territories.”
A Forbes Online opinion piece from June 13, 2016 stated that a positive step to America’s challenge of confronting Islam would be to more effectively engage the OIC. The article states that the OIC’s had “abandoned its campaign on religious defamation and backed a resolution more friendly to religious liberty” in 2011. The evidence presented for this abandonment is the organization’s shift from its attempts to criminalize the “defamation of religions” to support the UN’s Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18.
Resolution 16/18, Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief, calls on all U.N. member states to consider adopting measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief.
The world has seen multiple examples of how simply criticizing Islam or Muhammad have “incited” Muslim violence. The Hadith records many instances where critics of Muhammad or Islam were put to death, and that tradition continues today. The Qur’an justifies Muhammad’s behavior and says those who “malign Allah and His messenger” are cursed and should be slain (Sura 6:93, Sura 33:57, Sura 33:61).
Perhaps most concerning for U.S. supporters of free speech is House Resolution 569 which was introduced in December of 2015. The resolution similar to UN Resolution 16/18 states, “the victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes and rhetoric have faced physical, verbal, and emotional abuse because they were Muslim or believed to be Muslim.”
The resolution “denounces in the strongest terms the increase of hate speech, intimidation, violence, vandalism, arson, and other hate crimes targeted against mosques, Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslim;” and “urges local and Federal law enforcement authorities to work to prevent hate crimes; and to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those perpetrators of hate crimes.”
According to FBI statistics only 16% of anti-religious hate crimes reported in the U.S. in 2014 were directed against Muslims, yet 56.8% were directed against Jews. The condemnation of “hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States” is particularly concerning when you look at Islamic definitions of legal terms as opposed to western definitions.
Slander for westerners is typically defined as a malicious, false and defamatory statement or report. However in Islam slander is defined as saying “anything concerning a person [a Muslim] that he would dislike.” In the West a statement must be false to be slander, but under Islam, truth is irrelevant. A statement could be considered slanderous if a Muslim was insulted by it regardless of whether or not it was true.
It is not hatred to disagree with another person. The free exchange of ideas makes societies stronger. Pray that nations, in an attempt to stop the false narrative of hate speech, do not pass laws that curtail free speech.
Many Muslims, because they are unable to question the teachings of their religion, have never been free to examine and decide if the teachings of Islam are true. Pray that freedom will continue for Western scholars to examine and expose the teachings, and that Muslims around the world will be able to gain access and decide for themselves the truth about the Islamic system.