The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted on Tuesday, April 12, a resolution calling for combating defamation campaigns against Islam and Muslims in the West.
The measure, put forward by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), was voted for by 31 countries and 16 against, with five abstentions and one delegation absent, Reuters reported.
“There was a growing trend of defamation of Islam and discrimination faced by Muslims and the people of Arab descent in many parts of the world,” Pakistan's UN envoy, Masood Khan, said in a speech.
Khan cited a series of attacks against mosques in different parts of the world.
“Stereotyping of any religion as propagating violence or its association with terrorism constitutes defamation of religion. It unfortunately breeds a culture of hatred, disharmony and discrimination,” he stressed.
The French Organization against Islamophobia (CCIF) said earlier this year that during the period from October 2003 to August 2004, 26 cases of verbal and physical assaults on Muslims, 28 cases of vandalism and attempted arson targeting mosques, and 11 cases of desecration of Muslim graves have been registered.
The CCIF also listed a considerable number of internet sites spreading anti-Muslim propaganda.
“Very Deep Campaign”
Cuba's delegate Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez said Islam has been the subject of “very deep campaign of defamation.”
“All you have to do is look at the films which have come out of Hollywood the last few years,” he said.
The resolution, however, was rejected by the United States and the European Union as “unbalanced” for what they termed failure to address problems suffered by other religious groups.
“This resolution is incomplete inasmuch as it fails to address the situation of all religions,” Leonard Leo, a member of the US delegation, said in a speech.
The Netherlands, speaking for the EU, also said it regretted that the 25-nation bloc EU had been unable to agree on a “more balanced” joint text with the pan-Muslim organization.
“Discrimination based on religion or belief is not confined to any one religion nor to any one part of the world,” said Dutch ambassador Ian de Jong.
A recent report released by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) said that Muslim minorities across Europe have been experiencing growing distrust, hostility and discrimination since the 9/11 attacks.
On January 13, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for halting harassment and discrimination against Muslims, that have been on the rise in the West since the 9/11 attacks.
“Since the September 11 attacks on the United States, many Muslims, particularly in the West, have found themselves the objects of suspicion, harassment and discrimination,” Annan told the Confronting Islamophobia: Education for Tolerance and Understanding seminar.
“Too many people see Islam as a monolith and as intrinsically opposed to the West,” he said. “Caricature remains widespread and the gulf of ignorance is dangerously deep.”