Clare Lopez has published an excellent article on the international and foreign threats to free speech, coming principally from the Islamic world.

Here are a few highlights and a link to her full article…

The 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) met in Cairo, Egypt February 6-7, 2013 with a full agenda of issues to address.

The U.S. Special Envoy to the OIC, Rashad Hussain,attended. One of the key takeaways from the two-day Heads of State Summit appears to be a renewed commitment to the Istanbul Process, the OIC-initiative to criminalize criticism of Islam globally.

According to Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, director of cultural affairs at the OIC general secretariat and spokesman for the OIC secretary general, the next session of the Istanbul Process will be held sometime in the spring of 2013 and will focus anew on getting individual nation states to draft laws that would criminally sanction “denigration of religions.”

To properly oversee this renewed international effort, the OIC final communique of the Cairo meeting identified as a priority goal the establishment of an international observatory “to monitor advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence throughout the world, so as to serve as an early warning mechanism to assist States in fulfilling their obligations under International Human Rights Law.”

Lest it be mistakenly thought that the OIC reference to “International Human Rights Law” meant the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it should be clarified that all the OIC’s Islamic member states withdrew from that particular agreement with the OIC’s 1990 Cairo Declaration and replaced it their own interpretation of human rights as those, and only those, granted under Islamic Law (sharia).

Rather, the OIC reference to “International Human Rights Law” upon which its Islamic members seek to base criminalization of the criticism of Islam, is the 1966 U.N. Commission for Human Rights International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which entered into force in 1976. Firmly based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, two of its articles—Articles 19 (3) and 20—nevertheless foreshadow shariah Islam’s demands for restrictions on free speech.

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