The ambassadors from a host of Muslim nations gathered together recently to discuss the issue of “blasphemy” against Islam in the online world. The leaders were interested in discussing how they could best counter the prevalence of blasphemous content, when many of the UN’s partner nations allowed freedom of speech and expression. The one unifying theme among these leaders was that Islamic belief should be protected, even if it costs others their essential freedoms.
This is an important note, in Islamic culture, there is no essential “right” to freedom of expression, speech, assembly, religion, or many of the other values that Western culture holds sacrosanct. Above all possible “rights” comes the mastery and importance of Islam and no one is free of that burden – no matter what your religion.
The ambassadors who met together decided that they would press the United Nations to force member nations to provide “legal options” for Muslims to use against people who blasphemed Islam on social media and other online media.
It was also decided that a formal reference would be sent to Secretary General of the Arab League (AL) and Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), raising the issue of blasphemous content on social media and how such a tendency had been hurting the sentiments of the Muslims across the world.
The meeting decided that after response is received from the governments of Islamic countries, the matter would be taken up at the level of United Nations besides looking into legal options available to follow up the matter legally in the courts of the respective countries from where such content was being generated.
This is a wide effort being undertaken by the Muslim world in their ever widening effort to gain influence upon the West. The countries represented at the meeting were the UAE, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Qatar, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Palestine, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Maldives and Brunei Darus Salam.
It is vitally important that we do not discount their efforts to curb our liberty. The UN has had major influence on US policies throughout the years (typically when the Democrat Party leads in D.C.) and this latest effort could effect the political debate over Internet freedom, “Fake News,” and how libel laws could be used against online actors.
The collected Muslim leaders also argued that such laws could be used to protect all religions, however, other world religions are not asking for these protections. Particularly Christianity and Judaism exist in a culture where they allow and accept criticism and even blasphemy as part of the formula that allows people to worship freely. Without the rights to free expression, the right to worship freely can be easily curbed. Therefore, no matter how much we disagree with attacks on our faith, we must defend the right of others to criticize and mock those religious values because that freedom is essential to our freedom to hold the same values sacred.