Following the riots in Egypt and elsewhere after the publication of a YouTube video defaming Islam, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation seeks to make blasphemy or insults against religion an international criminal offense.

Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that governments should “come out of hiding from behind the excuse of freedom of expression,” when defending films such as Innocence of Muslims.

Western countries have long argued that such anti-blasphemy laws run counter to the spirit of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights which guarantees the freedom of individual expression.

Critics of the law abroad cite its abuse in persecuting non-Muslims and the World Council of Churches has issued calls for Pakistan to repeal its anti-blasphemy law which makes use of the death penalty.

 

[Reuters]