Monday, December 21, 2009

Islamic plan to criminalize Gospel message crumbling

By Bob Unruh

U.N. vote shows 'continuing pattern of growing opposition' to proposal

Support for a United Nations proposal that critics contend would be used to ban criticism of Islam, censor the message of Jesus Christ and attack and kill Christians and members of other faiths is plunging, according to the newest vote totals.

A resolution has been pending in one form or another since 1999 and originally was called "Defamation of Islam."

The name later was changed to "Defamation of Religions," but Islam remains the only faith protected by name in the proposal.

It is being sought by the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to "protect" Islam from what OIC members perceive as "criticism," which could include anything referencing Christianity since that could be considered a challenge to the beliefs of Muslims.

The latest vote on the nonbinding proposal came as the U.N. headed into the weekend, with 80 votes in favor of the proposal, 61 against and 42 abstentions. The results show support declining from the 86 yes votes a year ago and the 108 yes votes from two years ago.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, has been working to raise the world's awareness of the implications of the plan for several years. He's especially concerned that the ultimate goal appears to be a binding action by the U.N.

"For several years now, we have been working to oppose this resolution and this afront to religious freedom," he said in a blog posting shortly after the vote. 'During that time, we have seen a dramatic decline in support for this resolution.

He saw today's vote as "a very encouraging sign."

"What this tells us is that our message is getting through," he said. "A growing number of nations around the world understand that this resolution is unacceptable – that it is harmful, not helpful, to preserving religious liberty and freedom.

We will continue to work on this issue and to educate more nations about the dangers of this resolution and encourage them to vote against it."

Lindsay Vessey, advocacy director for Open Doors USA, an international Christian ministry operating in many Islamic states, previously told WND that U.N. human rights provisions always have focused on individuals, but the concept of protecting a religion would give authoritarian governments virtually unrestrained power to attack individuals whose message they don't like.

"It would legitimize national blasphemy laws in countries that are actually going to persecute religious minorities, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan," she said.

Open Doors President Carl Moeller recently published a commentary describing what could happen under the proposal.

"The United Nations is once again on the verge of introducing a resolution that goes against everything the world body supposedly stands for. A successful resolution would actually undermine the religious liberty and personal safety of Christians and members of other faiths," he wrote.

He contended the resolution would "silence words or actions that are deemed to be against a particular religion, and that religion is Islam. While the stated goal seems relatively innocuous – blocking defamation of people's deeply held religious beliefs – in practice the statement is used to silence those whose only crime is to believe in another faith, or no faith at all."

He said the OIC is the driving force behind the plan and noted, "The OIC's goal is anything but peaceful."

More at WND

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