Posted on September 26, 2012

Muslim Leaders Make Case for Global Blasphemy Ban at U.N.

Patrick Goodenough, CNS News, September 26, 2012

True to their word, the leaders of the world’s two most populous Muslim countries used their speeches at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday to call for a legally-binding, global anti-blasphemy protocol.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his Pakistan counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, both argued that insults against Mohammed, Islam’s prophet, incite violence and are not legitimate free speech.

Yudhoyono noted that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says the exercise of rights and freedoms is subject to “the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.”

“Freedom of expression is therefore not absolute,” he told the annual high-level gathering in New York.

Arguing that religious “defamation” persists — and citing The Innocence of Muslims, a video clip posted on YouTube that disparages Mohammed — Yodhoyono called on member states to adopt a legally-binding instrument banning blasphemy, to serve as “a point of reference that the world community must comply with.”

When Zardari mounted the UNGA podium later in the day he began his address by voicing “the strongest condemnation for the acts of incitement of hate against the faith of billions of Muslims of the world and our beloved prophet, Mohammed (peace be upon him).”

“Although we can never condone violence, the international community must not become silent observers and should criminalize such acts that destroy the peace of the world and endanger world security by misusing freedom of expression.”

Zardari urged the U.N. to act “immediately.”

{snip} Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose country has seen the largest number of deaths in violent protests linked to the issue over recent weeks, called those behind the film “fanatics.”

“As we speak today the world is shaken by the depravity of fanatics who have committed acts of insult against the faith of over 1.5 billion Muslims,” he declared. “We strongly condemn these offensive acts, whether it involves the production of a film, the publication of cartoons, or indeed any other acts of insult and provocation.”

Karzai went on to deplore “the menace of Islamophobia,” saying it threatened peace and co-existence among cultures and civilizations.