But only in the sense of tolerance

I like Evolving Thoughts but I think John Wilkins got the wrong end of the stick when he read Johann’s article ‘Why should I respect these oppressive religions?’ He quoted a bit on the Islamic Declaration of Human Rights and the UN and then commented:

There’s more, but I wanted only to discuss the UN-bashing here. There has been no such resolution by the UN, either by the General Assembly or the Security Council.

It’s not clear from the quoted passage exactly what resolution he means – it could be the Cairo Declaration, it could be the resolution on ‘defamation of religion,’ it could be the change in the role of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights – or it could be all those, or bits of all of them. But whichever it is, Wilkins is wrong; all three are very real.

Yes, Muslim leaders have asked the UN to ensure respect for religion, but only in the sense of tolerance for all religions, and at the same time they condemned the use of suicide bombers and attacking schools.

But the linked article doesn’t say that at all, it says something quite different.

SPEAKERS at a seminar urged the UN to take stringent measures to ensure respect of every religion and formulate laws to stop blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam (pbuh)…He said Muslims respected West’s freedom of expression but were deeply grieved and angered on the blasphemy of their Prophet (pbuh) and the Holy Quran committed with blatant callousness by the western leaders in the name of freedom of expression. He said freedom of expression had its limits in the West and it must never damage religious feelings of any human being, adding that Muslims would never tolerate the blasphemy of the prophet (pbuh) and other sacred personalities…He asked the UN to legislate to stop blasphemy and disrespect of religions which, he stressed, was essential for world peace. [emphasis added]

That is very far from ‘only in the sense of tolerance for all religions.’ Moreover, it is hardly mollifying that ‘at the same time they condemned the use of suicide bombers and attacking schools’; it’s not as if everything short of suicide bombers and attacking schools is perfectly all right.

Frankly it’s hard to see how anyone could read that passage as asking the UN to ensure respect for religion ‘only in the sense of tolerance for all religions’ when it says quite clearly that the request is for laws to stop blasphemy. Wilkins goes on to say that the UDHR protects religions in Articles 18 and 19 and that this ‘hasn’t changed’ – but the OIC would like it to change, and the Cairo Declaration is in direct opposition to Article 18 in many places. The UDHR protects various rights only as long as it is adhered to, and the OIC has explicitly repudiated it; that is the point of the Cairo Declaration. I think Wilkins perhaps should have looked into the subject a little more. (Most of his readers don’t seem to know the facts either. I keep saying how under-reported this whole subject is.)

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