World Bulletin / News Desk
The world's largest Islamic body called on Tuesday for expressions of Islamophobia to be curbed by law, just as some countries restrict anti-Semitic speech or Holocaust denial.
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the 56 countries that form the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), condemned a video made in the United States that defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammad, igniting Muslim protests around the world this month.
"Incidents like this clearly demonstrate the urgent need on the part of states to introduce adequate protection against acts of hate crimes, hate speech, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation and negative stereotyping of religions, and incitement to religious hatred, as well as denigration of venerated personalities," Pakistan's ambassador Zamir Akram said in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
The Obama administration has condemned the film entitled "Innocence of Muslims" as "disgusting". But Western countries remain determined to resist changes.
Akram said the crudely made video, as well as the burning of the Koran and the publication of defamatory cartoons, amount to "deliberate attempts to discriminate, defame, denigrate and vilify Muslims and their beliefs".
Such acts constitute "flagrant incitement to violence" and are not protected by freedom of expression, Akram said. Rather, he said, Islamophobia must be acknowledged as a contemporary form of racism and be dealt with as such.
"Not to do so would be a clear example of double standards. Islamophobia has to be treated in law and practice equal to the treatment given to anti-Semitism, especially in legislations."
It was urgent to "establish an internationally acceptable threshold between freedom of expression and incitement to violence and hatred," Akram added.
DIFFERENCES OVER FREE EXPRESSION
On Monday, the United States told the Council that it considered freedom of religion inseparable from free expression, countering calls from many Islamic countries for a treaty outlawing blasphemy.
Religious dignity is best protected where there is free speech, U.S. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said. "When these freedoms are restricted, we see violence, poverty, stagnation and feelings of frustration and even humiliation."
The OIC signalled last week that it would revive long-standing efforts to make insults against religions an international criminal offence.
A resolution submitted by African countries and backed by the OIC calls on states to introduce into domestic criminal law a provision ensuring that those responsible for crimes with racist or xenophobic motivation are prosecuted.
The 32 resolutions are to be voted on by the 47-member forum this week.
Greek Cyprus, speaking on behalf of the European Union in Tuesday's debate, said an existing international treaty for combating all forms of racism and intolerance was "sufficient", and the main goal should be to implement it effectively.
Various religious and civil rights organizations have filed friend-of-the-court briefs backing Samantha Elauf, who was denied a sales job because she wears a head scarf
Bosnian-American Indira Kaljo has successfully petitioned FIBA to allow the wearing of the hijab in domestic games, but not in international competition, yet.
Certification company boss says online videos claimed he supported terrorism
Sr Dunia Shuaib is a marriage therapist based in Dallas, Texas and marriage educator/coach, radio show host (Deen with Dunia) and lecturer. On her Facebook page, she recounts a recent experience with a non-Muslim woman while shopping at her local organic store and explains that courage despite prejudice and stereotype can overcome hatred and foster new friendships in the unlikeliest of places.
Footage of a drone that has recorded the amazing sights and sounds of the ezan, the Muslims call to prayer at the Prophets Mosque in Medina, note how it also captures the sounds of the birds.
New campaign, "Share a Quran" launched to help dispel Islamophobia as well as a guide provided to dispel misconceptions about Muslims.
The attack on Charlie Hebdo has reawakened the controversial issue of depicting Prophet Muhammad which has often angered Muslims across the world.
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A number of Muslim scholars have responded to the Paris attacks and have slammed the incident as un-Islamic and have said that their actions will hurt Islam and Muslims.
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The songs were all in praise of Islam's prophet whose birth was widely celebrated on Saturday across the world by hundreds of millions of Muslims.
In Uganda, the occasion was marked with Muslim songs accompanied by drums locally known as "Mataali."
The prophet's birthday special for Ethiopia's Muslims who always take pride in being the descendants of people who hundreds of years ago gave refuge to some of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad when they escaped persecution
The Mawlid is a celebrated event in the Muslim world, honouring the Prophet Muhammad which this year marks the 1444 year of his birth.
In Sarajevo the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Quran recital was held as part of the traditional “Ode to the Prophet” event.