The world's top diplomat for Islam called on Friday for an end to what he termed efforts to equate the religion with terrorism and said the demonisation of Muslims around the world must be fought.
But speaking soon after the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution condemning defamation of religion for the fourth year in a row, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said his group was committed to respecting freedom of expression.
There was a "rising tide of incitement to religious hatred and discrimination and intolerance targeting Muslims", he told a meeting called by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) at the United Nations in Geneva. The 57-nation OIC, based in Saudi Arabia, represents 1.5 billion Muslims.
"Attempts to equate Islam with terrorism should be stopped. Stereotyping and demonisation of Muslims should be combated," said Ihsanoglu, a Turkish history professor who became OIC Secretary-General in 2005.
Referring to the U.N. vote, in which for the first time since the OIC introduced a defamation motion in 2005, Ihsanoglu said the motives of the Islamic grouping were misunderstood.
The aim of the OIC, he declared, is not to protect religion against critics based on objective and rational interrogation.
The body, he added, is firmly committed to respect for freedom of expression, which is a fundamental human right.
In a statement issued earlier this week, watchdogs on freedom of expression for the U.N.'s Human Rights Council and for key regional inter-state organisations in Africa, Europe and Latin America called for an end to "defamation" resolutions.
Last Mod: 21 Aralık 2008, 16:10