Further to the Religious Vilification Laws re the two Dannys – Blasphemy laws and ‘defamation’ of Islam1 Comment Published October 5th, 2012 in A Call To Action, Australia, Christian Church Issues, Family, Insight Into Islam, Islam, Miraculous Testimonies, Prayer, Rise Up Australia, Vilification Case, Vilification Laws
Dear family & friends in Christ,
Further to our previous post regarding Bob Carr’s statement on the religious vilification laws re the two Danny’s, please read and act on the following important email from Salt Shakers.
UN – Blasphemy laws and ‘defamation’ of Islam Posted online.
The UN is again considering ‘defamation of religion’ laws. Last year a ‘compromise motion’ on ‘religious tolerance’ – with similar aims – was approved by the UN (source).
We want Australia to oppose – and vote AGAINST – both ‘defamation of religion’ laws and also ‘religious tolerance’ laws.
See the ACTION section below – contact PM Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr.
In Victoria, we are acutely aware of the problems caused by the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act, introduced by the Bracks Labor government in 2001.
The most high-profile case, involving Pastor Daniel Scot and Catch the Fire Ministries, caused huge angst and took five years to ‘resolve’! Religious vilification laws create disharmony and unrest. They are often used to shut down debate and criticism.
At the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), made up of 57 Islamic nations, has been lobbying to get ‘defamation of religion’ laws implemented for at least a decade (they started in 1999). The first such attempts, by Pakistan, were called ‘Defamation of Islam’. They’ve since changed the NAME, but not the intent!
Pakistan has blasphemy laws which make essentially make it a crime to criticise Islam. In fact, Daniel Scot was accused under Pakistan’s blasphemy law before seeking asylum in Australia.
Recently a 14 year old Christen girl, Rimsha Masih, was accused of blasphemy related to defacing pages of a Qur’an. Investigations later revealed that she was framed and the pages planted by a local imam! Now the three witnesses who originally testified against the imam have withdrawn their stories and the girl, Rimsha Masih, is again facing court. Read the latest Update.
Defamation of Religion The OIC puts up annual resolutions to the Human Rights Council at the UN – these resolutions are generally passed without a vote and then sent to the General Assembly of the UN. But the OIC wants an enforceable law from the UN! The ‘defamation of religion’ motion is again before the UN.
Recently we sent an article by Elizabeth Kendal, who monitors religious liberty, which noted that the current Islamic protests around the world against the short You Tube film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, have coincided with the debate on the defamation laws. Article online here. Unfortunately UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seems to be generally supportive, saying “offensive speech is an abuse of freedom of speech”. But that’s what free speech is: to say things – even offensive things – that other people don’t agree with!
Janet Albrechtsen, writing in The Australian, wrote an insightful article last week about the situation regarding this UN ‘defamation of religion law’. Read her excellent article – click here. Also attached. Our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was at the UN recently, lobbying for a seat on the UN Security Council – many of the nations she met with are small Islamic nations. We cannot afford to trade their support for a Security Council seat for our support for ‘defamation of religion’ laws or any compromise (see below).
Fortunately Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who has consistently opposed religious vilification laws, spoke about his concern about religious defamation laws in an interview, from New York, on Insiders last weekend. Read transcript/watch video. (In video, fast forward to 3 minute mark). Here is an interesting article on the defamation of religion law by a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.
There is another concern – ‘religious tolerance law’ In March 2011, the USA, which has consistently opposed the defamation of religions’ proposal, SUPPORTED a motion calling for ‘religious tolerance’ – ?combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief.? Read the report from CNS. Read the actual resolution to the Human Rights Council. It went to the General Assembly in December 2011.
The spokesman for the OIC affirmed that this ‘modified’ compromise proposal had the “SAME AIMS” as the ‘defamation of religion’ motion – and they continued to have the same goal of eventually getter stronger prohibitions! Elizabeth Kendal warned last year that Resolution 16/18 (on religious tolerance) ?far from being a breakthrough for free speech ? is actually more dangerous than? the religious defamation resolutions.
She wrote, ?Indeed, the strategic shift from defamation to incitement actually advances the OIC?s primary goal: the criminalization of criticism of Islam.? President Obama’s speech to the UN last week included this statement: “the “future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” Read article. Any support of ‘religious tolerance laws’ means supporting similar laws to Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance law.
The fact that the OIC thinks they have the same AIMS as their ‘defamation of religion (Islam) laws should give a clear indication of why they are being proposed. Action – Contact PM Julia Gillard and Sen Bob Carr Please write to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr. Congratulate Sen Carr on his opposition to defamation of religion laws and religious vilification laws.
Ask both of them to ensure that Australian Votes AGAINST the proposal from the OIC at the UN for ‘defamation of religion’ laws.
Point out that this really means ‘defamation of Islam’. Ask them ALSO to vote against ANY ‘religious tolerance’ motion – as it has the ‘same aims’ as the defamation of religion’ law.
Jenny Stokes Research Director Salt Shakers a:
PO Box 6049, Wantirna, Victoria, 3152 p:
(03) 9729 8720 f: (03) 9729 6609 m: 0413 084 145
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