Islamist nations, especially those in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, long have sought a determination from the United Nations that any criticism of Islam or Muslims is “Islamophobia” and banned globally.
But each time it has come up for a vote more realistic arguments prevailed and the campaign never was legitimized.
However, the idea is back.
According to a report from MSN, it now is Pakistan that has endorsed a plan to combat “hate speech.”
Envoy Maleeha Lodhi endorsed a plan from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, saying that without censorship, “An inevitable consequence is to fan the flames of bigotry, intolerance, anti-Muslim hatred and xenophobia.”
“My Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently again called for urgent action to counter Islamophobia, which is today the most prevalent expression of racism and hatred against ‘the other’,” the Pakistani told a meeting of diplomats and high ranking U.N. officials.
“The U.N. Strategy and Plan of Action provides a system-wide program with the overriding objective of identifying, preventing and confronting hate speech,” the report said.
Guterres said, “It targets the root causes of hate speech, pointing out that these include tackling violence, marginalization, discrimination, and poverty, as well as bolstering weak state institutions.”
In past attempts, the censorship program proposed at the U.N. have been described as “anti-defamation” efforts that would protect “religion.”
Almost invariably, those plans have protected Islam but not even mentioned other faiths.
It was in a report at the Investigative Project on Terrorism where it was explained that Khan already has been calling for the death penalty against “those who offend the Prophet Muhammad.”
He also urged the OIC to work to safeguard “the religious sentiments of Muslims,” the report said.
“It was up to us to explain to the Western people the amount of pain they cause us when they ridicule or mock our Holy Prophet,” Khan told the OIC’s recent Islamic summit in Mecca. “I would like to say from this platform that in the forums like the United Nations and the forums like the European Union, we must explain to them that they cannot hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion people under the garb of freedom of expression.”
The OIC’s 57 members are the largest voting bloc in the U.N.
Guterres had been promoting a conference on the role of education in fighting “hate speech,” and Lodhi said he would be fully committed to that effort.
“We are fully committed to support the UN’s strategy on hate speech. This is a moment for all of us to come together to reverse the tide of hate and bigotry that threatens to undermine social solidarity and peaceful co-existence,” he said.
The U.S. has rejected speech censorship plans as a resolution to worries about “hate speech,” citing the U.S. Constitution’s protections for free speech.
The U.N., however, has in its plan the idea of engaging “private sector actors, including social media companies,” to do its bidding on censorship.
The IPT reported, “Thus far, Twitter has shown a willingness to voluntarily enforce Pakistan’s Islamic blasphemy rules even if the U.S. government doesn’t abide by any potential hate speech treaty that could stem from the planned conference. This raises the possibility that it and other social media companies might voluntarily follow suggestions from U.N. bureaucrats to the detriment of free speech.”