GENEVA - The top U.N. rights body on Thursday passed a resolution proposed by Islamic countries saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it.
The European Union said the text was one-sided because it primarily focused on Islam.
The U.N. Human Rights Council, which is dominated by Arab and other Muslim countries, adopted the resolution on a 21-10 vote over the opposition of Europe and Canada.
EU countries, including France, Germany and Britain, voted against. Previously EU diplomats had said they wanted to stop the growing worldwide trend of using religious anti-defamation laws to limit free speech.
The document, which was put forward by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, "expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations."
Although the text refers frequently to protecting all religions, the only religion specified as being attacked is Islam, to which eight paragraphs refer...
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"China" "Russian Federation"
In these two cases one suspects the votes in favor of prohibiting "defamation" of "religions" (that is, Islam) was less about fear than about greed. There is the desire for China to make sure it "has access" to Middle Eastern oil. The Chinese government is making the same mistake that Western governments have made, believing it has to do more than pay the market price -- but it doesn't, just as they didn't have to, but, for a long time, did (and in many ways still do).
In the case of Russia, which does not need Middle Eastern oil, there may have been a simple calculation that one major oil producer may need the cooperation of other oil producers to maximize benefits, or that Russian arms can find a market in the Muslim lands.
This is short-sighted. Both countries have Muslim minorities. In Xinjiang there are Muslims, and there are scattered communities elsewhere. There have been Jihads in western China in the 20th century. The last major one was in 1930 (see Mildred Cable, "The Gobi"). That time could come again. Muslims might disrupt the Olympics. Why should not the Chinese government work to appease Muslims, paying them in the easy coin of that farce, the U.N.Human Rights Council?
But the Russians face growing islamization, and the kind of anti-religion campaign that the Soviets conducted, and that in Central Asia helped to undo, for a while, Islam, needs to be reinstituted, not necessarily using force, but in an attempt to make sure that Islam does not continue to make a comeback, but is made the subject of critical analysis so that, in Russia and in the five "stans" of Central Asia, people cannot avoid learning about how states and societies suffused with Islam are subject to political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral paralysis or backwardness that reflect, that are directly linked to, Islam. That connection must be made, publicly and uninterruptedly and uninhibitedly. But a vote like that can come back to bite.
And China, too, has a stake in calling Islam into question. Not only in China itself, but for the sake of the Overseas Chinese, who in Malaysia, and in Indonesia, have been, and will be, the victims of Islam.
A vote that both countries, taking the shortest possible view, will come to regret. (DW)