UN considering ban on “defamation of religion”: UPDATE, Obama boycott

U.S. to boycott U.N. racism conference

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Friday that the United States will boycott an upcoming U.N. conference on racism unless its final document is changed to drop all references to Israel and the defamation of religion.

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DEFAMATION OF RELIGION BAN: Critics say it’s an anti-Christian weapon
By Allan Erickson
12.18.08

In 2008, Israel suffered 3,000 rocket attacks, killing 10 and wounding more than 780.

Iran’s Ahmadinejad continued to call for the complete destruction of the state of Israel. Credible reports indicate Iran will have nuclear weapons next year.

Nuclear Pakistan is unstable, and thanks to the Mumbai attacks, there is renewed tension between India and Pakistan.

Muslim terrorism is on the march worldwide.

Europe and Britain are being challenged like never before by Muslim immigrants demanding the institution of Shari law while calling for the silencing of Christians.

And now the United Nations is considering formal action banning “defamation of religion.”   The UN president said last month such a move would not limit free speech.

Robert Spencer for one, disagrees.

“Take Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Under it, a Christian who is confronted by a Muslim and asked whether or not he thinks Muhammad was a prophet can be charged with blasphemy, i.e. disrespect of Islam, simply for answering No. That is, simply for affirming that he is not indeed a Muslim.”

Defamation of Christians and Christianity is fine you see. Everyone else must have U.N. protection.

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice sounds the alarm.

“A critical vote affecting YOU is expected any day now. I’ve received word that the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly will vote this week on passage of the so-called ‘Defamation of Religions’ resolution – a dangerous anti-Christian resolution that puts you, and millions of Christians worldwide, at very real risk.  The fact is this: The proposal, while purportedly to protect against ”defamation of religions,’ is frequently used as a weapon to silence religious minorities, including Christians in many countries.”

In other developments, the Associated Press reports yesterday:

EU resists push to limit free speech at UN meeting

Islamic proposals to ban criticism of religion, which have gathered strength since the publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad two years ago, threaten to derail an already troubled U.N. anti-racism conference planned for next year.

The European Union rejects suggestions by Algeria—backed by other Muslim and African countries—that limits on free speech are needed to stop the publication of offensive articles and images.

Supporters of the proposal, who have been pushing for such a ban to be included in international anti-discrimination charters, want it discussed in April at a high-level United Nations anti-racism meeting in Geneva.

But European diplomats say that is out of the question.

“We have made it clear from the start that we will not negotiate,” French diplomat Daniel Vosgien told The Associated Press on Wednesday. France currently holds the rotating presidency of the 27-nation EU.

Western diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions, said the Islamic demands could wreck the meeting.

The U.N. expert on freedom of expression, Frank LaRue, has criticized so-called “anti-blasphemy laws” used to protect religion in some countries.

“Such laws are often used to prevent legitimate criticism of powerful religious leaders and to suppress the views of religious minorities, dissenting believers and nonbelievers, and are applied in a discriminatory fashion,” LaRue said in a statement released Monday.

Israel and Canada have already said they will stay away because of concerns that the meeting will see a repeat of anti-Semitic outbursts that marred the first anti-racism conference Durban, South Africa, in 2001.

The United States has also indicated it may stay away from the meeting, dubbed “Durban II.”

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said Tuesday his country would boycott if anti-Israel statements are not scrapped from draft texts being drawn up for the meeting.

BACKGROUNDER, WSJ BLOG

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