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.
Official figures suggest Muslims make up 12 percent of Malawi's 14 million while Muslim groups put the percentage at 36.
Three were hospitalized after a fire broke out in scaffolding.
The Indian Parliament was adjourned as lawmakers called for a debate on an incident in which right-wing Hindu politicians alleged forced a Muslim worker to break fast in Ramadan
A 214-page report found the FBI often targeted vulnerable individuals in sting operations, and subjected convicts to restrictive confinement..
Intellectuals jointly berate Israel's military operations on the besieged territory, which has left almost 600 Palestinians dead since July 7
Sanjay Mitra, 71, has been celebrating Ramadan since 1993, as a sign of solidarity, following the destruction by Hindu militants of the Babri mosque in northern India.
Twahir Kamisi, the 42-year-old the imam of Masjid Sharaf in Mbiko was killed on Saturday.
Mehmet Gormez said Muslims need to put in a joint effort to revive the quintessential values of the Islamic civilization.
The market gets crowded as the fast-breaking time approaches and chefs cook out in the open.
The project, named Al-Quran Al-Akbar (The Biggest Qur'an) features 15 chapters of the Qur'an carved on both sides of 315 revolving timber panels measuring 177cm x 140 cm.
The mosque in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, the Martyr Isa Omer Mosque, is the center where Hungarian Muslims come together and share the fast-breaking iftar dinner.
Nicolo Degiorgis's book Hidden Islam received an award at the Rencontres d'Arles photography festival for highlighting the problem Italian Muslims face in finding a suitable place for worship.
Britain First's "Kent battalion activists" stormed into the mosque's prayer hall with their shoes on, refusing requests from an elderly man to show respect to the place of worship.
The mosque was closed in 1926 during the Soviet era amid a crackdown on all public displays of religion.
Hafizs, people who memorized the Qur'an and recite it without needing any help therefore become much busier in Ramadan.
Stores are now shuttered and people stay indoors, listening out for the shriek of rockets and thud of bombs.