WASHINGTON – The Obama administration may be trying to use the al-Qaida terror attacks on U.S. operations in Benghazi, Libya, to advance a growing global movement to protect Islam from criticism, according to one expert.
The issue is the “defamation of religions” resolution pending at the United Nations. It was introduced by Islamic nations and coalitions to criminalize any negative reference to Islam or Muslims.
Clare Lopez, a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Clarion Fund, said that after the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, the Obama administration made an impromptu decision to advance the Islamic agenda item it already had endorsed.
“The Obama administration, and especially the Department of State led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are coordinating closely with the [Organization of the Islamic Conference] to achieve implementation of U.N. Human Rights Commission Resolution 16/18, which despite some cosmetic wording changes, remains the vehicle through which the OIC is determined to work toward the criminalization of the criticism of Islam in U.S. law,” she said.
Her comments came at an Endowment for Middle East Truth panel discussion recently concerning the OIC’s repeated demand to punish those who criticize Islam in U.N. member nations. The OIC is a coalition of 57 Islamic members, 56 states and the non-state Palestinian Authority.
After almost a decade of negotiations between the OIC and Western powers, the U.N. resolution no longer has specific references to blasphemy and Islam. It now has more generic language, with hate-speech style references.
The original Obama narrative on the Benghazi attack, quickly proven to be false, was that the violence was caused by a spontaneous crowd protesting an anti-Islam YouTube video called “Innocence of Muslims.”
Lopez said the Obama administration’s “stubborn adherence to the false narrative of the YouTube film, ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ for so long after the 11 September 2012 attack on the Benghazi mission is inexplicable except in the context of a globally coordinated campaign through the OIC and U.S. Muslim Brotherhood affiliates to advance the anti-free speech agenda of U.N. Resolution 16/18.”
Lopez said the administration’s aim not only is to support the passage of U.N. Resolution 16/18 but to attempt to move Middle East policy in a direction that favors jihadist states.
“Official U. S. policy now is to assist al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadists to overthrow what have been termed ‘unfaithful Arab/Muslim rulers’ who failed to enforce Islamic law (shariah) … and to replace them with jihadist Muslim Brotherhood leadership that has pledged its commitment to re-establishment of the Caliphate and strict implementation of Shariah,” she said.
Lopez said the change in policy is a consequence of infiltration of Islamist operatives in the United States government.
“It is likely that such drastic and detrimental changes to U.S. national security strategy can be attributed at least in part to the extensive infiltration of MB operatives as advisers and appointees within the Obama administration and throughout cabinet departments … and on down even to local law enforcement levels,” she said.
She said the OIC “is determined to work towards the criminalization of the criticism of Islam in U.S. law.”
While she said the First Amendment is posing a stumbling block, she believes the OIC and Obama will expand on existing law that possesses broad language allowing for various interpretations.
“One of the tactics they appear to be considering is seeking to expand upon already-existing U.S. law that prohibits ‘imminent incitement to violence’ to impose a so-called ‘test of consequences’ on speech by American citizens,” she said.
She elaborates on the strategy by clarifying that “while currently the law stipulates that the actual content of the speech must include an explicit incitement to violence, the ‘test of consequences’ would instead assign a post ipso facto charge of guilt against someone who neither spoke nor intended ‘imminent violence’ and perhaps spoke only truth – but whose speech was interpreted at some time and place in the world by someone as ‘offensive’ and who then used that entirely subjective feeling of ‘offense’ as an excuse to go out and commit violence.”
WND reported several months ago when a representative of Obama’s Department of Justice repeatedly refused to answer a question from a member of Congress about the agency’s dedication to freedom of speech.
During a hearing by the House Constitution subcommittee, headed by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Tom Perez of the DOJ’s civil rights office was asked: “Will you tell us here today simply that this administration’s Department of Justice will never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion.”
Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice has called the U.N. defamation resolution “nothing more than an effort to achieve special protections for Islam – a move to stifle religious speech.”
The Human Rights First organization contends the idea violates fundamental freedom of expression.
Tad Stahnke of Human Rights First said the concept is “unfortunate for both individuals at risk whose rights will surely be violated under the guise of prohibiting ‘defamation of religions,’ as well as for the standards of international norms on freedom of expression.”
See Franks’ questions:
A key supporter of the criminalization effort is Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan, who advocates punishment for those who insult religions or prophets.