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The United Nations is increasingly supporting and promoting Islam. This is partly due to the influence of the Islamic nations that are part of the UN – they work together as the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which has 57 ‘member states’. The OIC notes “Every year the United Nations General Assembly adopts a resolution on ‘Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference’.”

Defamation of ‘Religion’

In March 2009 the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to condemn the ‘defamation of religion’.
In effect this really meant condemning the criticism of Islam. Western nations refused to support the resolution because it focused on condemning criticism of Islam.

Ironically the motion was supported by UNHRC members China, Cuba, Russia and all the nations belonging to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

When China and Cuba are looking after ‘human rights’ we have a problem!

Islam and refugees

Now, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched a book that claims Islam has had a profoundly positive influence on the way the world treats refugees!

The book, called ‘The Right to Asylum between Islamic Shari’ah and International Refugee Law: A Comparative Study’, was sponsored by the UNHCR and launched in Saudi Arabia last week.

The ceremony was addressed by the High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres.

The report acknowledges that the UNHCR has been working with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference on refugee matters, so it isn’t really surprising to see this glowing report of Islam coming from the UNHCR.

Here are just a few of the extracts form the UNHCR’s own article about the launch of the book and the Commissioner’s address.

Many of the article’s comments about Islam ignore the historical truth of Islam’s domination of other nations.
The statement that Islam ‘forbids forcing refugees to change their beliefs [to Islam]’ seems to suggest the idea that Islam promotes a tolerance of other religions – however, it ignores the fact that some Muslim countries  ban other religions from openly practicing their religion. In Saudi Arabia it is illegal for Christians to meet openly or to own a Bible!

No mention is made of Islam’s poor treatment of apostates (Muslims who leave Islam) or women.

The fact that Muslims are fleeing their own countries – seeking asylum/refuge in other nations – seems to contradict the claim of this book that Islam is the model for the treatment of refugees!

The UNHCR article about the book includes these extracts (link to full article below):

“The book says Islam’s 1,400-year-old tradition of generosity toward people fleeing persecution has had more influence on modern-day international refugee law than any other historical source.”
the High Commissioner said “all the principles embodied in modern international refugee law are to be found in the Shari’ah. Protection of refugees, their property and families, non-refoulement [forced return], the civilian character of asylum, voluntary repatriation – all are referred to in the Holy Koran.”
In his study, Professor Abu Al-Wafa describes how Islam and Arab tradition respect refugees, including non-Muslims; forbids forcing them to change their beliefs; avoids compromising their rights; seeks to reunite families; and guarantees the protection of their lives and property.
The book also reflects UNHCR’s close association with the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which itself adopted in 1990 a Declaration on Human Rights in Islam stipulating that every human being fleeing persecution has the right to seek asylum and receive protection in another country.
OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu notes that the book “demonstrates the equitable and tolerant rules Islamic Shari’ah applies to refugees and how it is keenly concerned with their welfare and interests, while confirming human integrity and man’s right to a free, decent life.”

Jenny Stokes
Research Director
Salt Shakers

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