Following the release on the Internet of an antagonizing film ridiculing Islam and Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings be upon him), and the ensuing reactions by Muslims in various countries, the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) issued the following statement:
The Commission strongly condemns this abhorrent and reprehensible act that represents an irresponsible misuse of the right to freedom of expression, the exercise of which carries with it special duties and responsibilities under International Human Rights Law, according to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The malicious intentions behind this insensitive act are self-evident, given the timing of its release and content.
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While it reaffirms the right to peaceful assembly and the obligation of all States to promote and protect it, the Commission reasserts that the exercise of this right has to be carried out in conformity with the law at all times, so as to preserve public safety and order as stipulated in Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Accordingly, the Commission deplores all violent reactions, particularly the repugnant killing of innocent people.
The Commission reminds that every human being has the inherent right to life and no one should be arbitrarily deprived of this right. It also recalls that Islam teaches that the killing of one is same as killing all people. The sanctity of human life is revered in Islam.
|Denigration of religions may create more than psychological barriers that impede the ability to observe, practice and manifest one's religion freely for fear of coercion, violence or reprisal, hence impairing the enjoyment of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, a matter that might ultimately result in social disharmony and violation of human rights.|
Not an Isolated Act
The Commission notes with concern that this film is not an isolated act. It comes as part of an ongoing anti-Muslim campaign, aiming not only to hurt the feelings of Muslims around the world, but also to distort the true image of Islam, thus giving rise to widespread manifestations of derogatory stereotyping, negative profiling, intolerance and incitement to religious hatred and violence.
Considering that religion is one of the fundamental elements in one’s conception of life and identity, denigration of religions for many of their followers becomes a direct assault on their own selves. If this campaign is to continue unchecked, it would lend more ground to normalizing the growing intolerance towards Muslims, and to legitimatizing the imposition of discriminatory restrictive legislative and administrative measures on their right to observe their religion in many parts of the world.
The Commission underscores that intimidation motivated by extremism, religious or otherwise, serves to stigmatize groups and people belonging to certain religions and constitutes clear expressions of incitement to hatred. As a result, denigration of religions may create more than psychological barriers that impede the ability to observe, practice and manifest one's religion freely for fear of coercion, violence or reprisal, hence impairing the enjoyment of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, a matter that might ultimately result in social disharmony and violation of human rights.
The Commission stresses in this context that apathy and inaction vis-à-vis such provocations and discrimination cannot be justified, be they against Islam and Muslims or any other religion and its followers.
The Commission underlines that the situation created by this malicious act affirms once more the urgency for all States to fully uphold their obligations under International Human Rights Law to prohibit any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. Such acts surely erode the positive momentum being generated by the ongoing activities under various governmental and non-governmental initiatives, including the Alliance of Civilizations, aiming to correct misconceptions and to promote understanding and respect of and among cultures and civilization.
It is therefore an imperative to renew the international commitment to promote tolerance, dialogue and understanding at all levels.
|Apathy and inaction vis-à-vis such provocations and discrimination cannot be justified, be they against Islam and Muslims or any other religion and its followers.|
The Commission therefore urges States to fully implement the steps identified in the consensual Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 and United Nations General Assembly resolution 66/167. There is a parallel necessity to reinvigorate the efforts to articulate an international code of conduct for media and social media to disallow the dissemination of incitement material, which are in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The immediate revival of an intergovernmental process to elaborate complementary standards to address implementation gaps in this regard is indispensible. The Commission also impresses upon the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish as a matter of priority an international observatory to monitor acts of incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence throughout the world, so as to serve as an early warning mechanism to assist States to adequately fulfil their obligations under Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Commission recalls the lofty Islamic principles, notably those contained in Verse 186 of Surat Al-Imran of the Holy Quran, which ordain the faithful to be patient and fearful of God in the face of adversity, injury and insult. These principles also call upon all Muslims to hoist themselves to high moral grounds.
The Commission emphasizes that this regrettable provocation is a reminder of the urgent need to redouble international efforts, with added stamina, to construct the defences of peace in the minds of men and women around the world and promote mutual understanding to frustrate the vile attempts of extremists of all kind to plant the seeds of hatred and mistrust.
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