Jay Sekulow

The Islamic nations whose leaders want Christianity criminalized sustained a severe blow at the United Nations today when the momentum on their religion “anti-defamation” proposal suddenly shifted.

WND previously reported on the plan that has been in the works since 1999, sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The “anti-defamation” law was proposed ostensibly to protect religions from criticism and attack.

However, the plan mentions only Islam as needing protection.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, has assembled a petition opposing the plan that has been signed by about 400,000 people already. He said today’s U.N. General Assembly vote, which was 86 yes, 53 no and 42 abstentions, was a dramatic shift from the vote from one year ago, which was 108 yes, 51 no, and 25 abstentions.

Because of the circuitous route to adoption in the labyrinth of the U.N., a General Assembly vote such as today’s does not automatically mean adoption. Nor does it mean the proposal will disappear.

But Sekulow told WND that the change was “huge.”

“To have basically over a 20 percent shift, this is a significant loss of momentum for the OIC,” he said, “and a clear message the world opinion is going against this special status for Islam.”

He said his organization, along with a sister group, the European Center for Law and Justice, which has a special seat at the U.N., would continue to work to build opposition to the plan.

“We hope it comes down to the OIC as the only countries supporting this, and even those will start peeling away. This was a huge victory,” he said.

The vote in the U.N. General Assembly came just one month after an important committee vote at the U.N. when the erosion of support became apparent. The U.N.’s Third Committee vote in November produced 85 votes in favor, 42 against and 50 abstentions – the first time the “No” and “Abstain” votes outnumbered the “Yes” votes.

The vote also followed by just days a lawsuit filed against the Federal Reserve for a financial bailout plan that provided funding to AIG, which has announced a special program of Shariah-compliant products and services inside the United States.

Sekulow said the effect of the proposal would be to intimidate anyone in the world from criticizing radical Islam.

The 57 member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference have lobbied for the plan, which is based on the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, since 1999. The Cairo declaration states “that all rights are subject to Shariah law, and makes Shariah law the only source of reference for human rights.”

The ACLJ, in promoting its petition to raise awareness of the campaign, said, “The fact is this: The proposal, while purportedly to protect against ‘defamation of religions,’ is frequently used as a weapon to silence religious minorities, including Christians in many countries.

“The resolution actually targets anyone who speaks negatively in any way about Islam. Sharing your faith would become an international crime punishable by imprisonment – or death,” the ACLJ said.

While the proposal has been modified to try to appeal to Western nations, including drafts that would have made it criminal to “defame another religion,” only Islam is mentioned by name.

A U.S. ambassador told a Fox News blogger, “The resolution could criminalize free speech.”

Fox News religion contributor Lauren Green continued, “But you say, ‘That can’t happen,’ or ‘that would be ludicrous.’ The fact is, it’s already happening. Christians and other minority religions in predominantly Islamic areas or countries are being persecuted to barbaric levels. Reports from Nairobi, Kenya, say that one aid worker was beheaded in September for converting from Islam to Christianity; the Iranian government has already passed a bill calling for execution on the basis of apostasy (anyone converting from Islam to another religion), and of course we’ve seen the violence that erupted over the Danish cartoon of the prophet Mohammed.”

The ACLJ’s analysis found the OIC “uses the religious defamation concept as both a shield and a sword. In Islamic countries, blasphemy laws are used as a shield to protect the dominant religion, but even more dangerously, they are used to silence minority religious believers and prevent Muslims from converting to other faiths, which is still a capital crime in many Islamic countries.”

ACLJ officials said they would be analyzing the votes that changed from a year ago and will continue their effort to explain the plan’s dangers to U.N. delegations.

The U.S. State Department also has found the proposal unpalatable.

“This resolution is incomplete inasmuch as it fails to address the situation of all religions,” said a statement from Leonard Leo. “We believe that such inclusive language would have furthered the objective of promoting religious freedom. We also believe that any resolution on this topic must include mention of the need to change educational systems that promote hatred of other religions, as well as the problem of state-sponsored media that negatively targets any one religion.”


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