Muslim states won’t seek worldwide blasphemy ban despite insults to Islam – OIC head

October 16, 2012

(Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu answers questions at a news conference during the 66th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters, in New York, September 23, 2011. REUTERS/Chip East )

Western opposition has made it impossible for Muslim states to obtain a ban on blasphemy, including anti-Islamic videos and cartoons that have touched off deadly riots, the Islamic world’s top diplomat said.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said his 57-nation body would not try again for United Nations support to ban insults to religion, but appealed for states to apply hate-speech laws concerning Islam.

“We could not convince them,” said the Turkish head of the 57-member organisation which had tried from 1998 until 2011 to get a United Nations-backed ban on blasphemy. “The European countries don’t vote with us, the United States doesn’t vote with us.”

Western countries see the publication of such images and materials as a matter of free speech.

The posting of an amateurish U.S.-made video portraying the Prophet Mohammad as a foolish womanizer and the publication of caricatures of him in France last month led to violent protests and renewed calls from the Muslim world for a global law against blasphemy. The protests claimed some two dozen lives.

Ihsanoglu told a conference in Istanbul at the weekend that the OIC had failed to win a ban at the United Nations and would not revive its long diplomatic campaign for one.

Asked about recent media reports that the OIC wanted to resume the campaign for a blasphemy ban, he said: “I never said this and I know this will never happen.”
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