(Photo: Delegates at the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva on March 22, 2010/Denis Balibouse)
Muslim states that say what they call “islamophobia” is sweeping the West and its media have demanded that the United Nations take tougher action against it. Delegates from Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Egypt, told the United Nations Human Rights Council this week that treatment of Muslims in Western countries amounted to racism and discrimination and must be fought.
Pakistan, speaking for the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), has tabled a resolution at the council instructing its special investigator on religious freedom “to work closely with mass media organisations to ensure that they create and promote an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for religious and cultural diversity”.
Diplomats say the resolution, which also tells the investigator to make recommendations to the Human Rights Council on how its strictures might be implemented, is bound to pass given the majority the OIC and its allies have in the body.
The countries of the majority group, which also include India and Brazil, ensure that its members and their friends outside the council — such as Sri Lanka and Iran — are shielded from any serious criticism of their rights record and that the council’s fire is largely aimed at Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territories and treatment of people living there as well as on the Israeli blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.