April 12, 2005
UN Calls for Combating Anti-Islam Campaigns
GENEVA, April 12, 2005 – The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted today a resolution calling for combating defamation campaigns against Islam and Muslims in the West.
The measure, put forward by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), was voted for by 31 countries and 16 against, with five abstentions and one delegation absent.
“There was a growing trend of defamation of Islam and discrimination faced by Muslims and the people of Arab descent in many parts of the world,” Pakistan's UN envoy, Masood Khan, told the commission.
Khan cited a series of attacks against mosques in different parts of the world. “Stereotyping of any religion as propagating violence or its association with terrorism constitutes defamation of religion. It unfortunately breeds a culture of hatred, disharmony and discrimination,” he stressed.
The French Organization against Islamophobia (CCIF) said earlier this year that during the period from October 2003 to August 2004, 26 cases of verbal and physical assaults on Muslims, 28 cases of vandalism and attempted arson targeting mosques, and 11 cases of desecration of Muslim graves have been registered. The CCIF also listed a considerable number of internet sites spreading anti-Muslim propaganda.
“Very Deep Campaign”
Cuba's delegate Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez said Islam has been the subject of “very deep campaign of defamation.” “All you have to do is look at the films which have come out of Hollywood the last few years,” he said.
The resolution, however, was rejected by the United States and the European Union as “unbalanced” for what they termed failure to address problems suffered by other religious groups.
“This resolution is incomplete inasmuch as it fails to address the situation of all religions,” Leonard Leo, a member of the US delegation, said in a speech.
The Netherlands, speaking for the EU, also said it regretted that the 25-nation bloc EU had been unable to agree on a “more balanced” joint text with the pan-Muslim organization. “Discrimination based on religion or belief is not confined to any one religion nor to any one part of the world,” said Dutch ambassador Ian de Jong.
A recent report released by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) said that Muslim minorities across Europe have been experiencing growing distrust, hostility and discrimination since the 9/11 attacks.
On January 13, 2005 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for halting harassment and discrimination against Muslims, that have been on the rise in the West since the 9/11 attacks.
“Since the September 11 attacks on the United States, many Muslims, particularly in the West, have found themselves the objects of suspicion, harassment and discrimination,” Annan told the Confronting Islamophobia: Education for Tolerance and Understanding seminar.
“Too many people see Islam as a monolith and as intrinsically opposed to the West,” he said. “Caricature remains widespread and the gulf of ignorance is dangerously deep.”
On April 19 Canadian Muslim Forum (CMF) and Muslim Council Of Montreal (MCM) issued a joint statement expressing disappointment regarding Canadian government’s vote against a UN resolution about combating Islamophobia. “It is with great disappointment and frustration to hear that Canada has voted against an important United Nations resolution which seeks to protect the rights of Muslims and stem the tide of Islamaphobia in the world,” they said. (Media reports)
Read UNHRC Press Release on the UN resolution against Islamophobia:
Canadian Muslims express disappointment
regarding Canadian Government's vote
against combating Islamaphobia
Montreal (April 20, 2005) – Canadian Muslim Forum (CMF) and Muslim Council Of Montreal (MCM) today issued the following joint statement expressing disappointment regarding Canadian government’s vote against a UN resolution about combating Islamophobia:
It is with great disappointment and frustration to hear that Canada has voted against an important United Nations resolution which seeks to protect the rights of Muslims and stem the tide of Islamaphobia in the world.
On April 12th The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution calling for combating defamation campaigns against Islam and Muslims in the West.
The resolution, which was originally put forward on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), was voted for by 31 countries and 16 against, with five abstentions and one delegation absent. The Commission expressed deep concerns regarding negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief still in evidence in some regions of the world. The resolution in particular expressed concerns regarding "the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions, and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities, in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001; expressed deep concern that Islam was frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism."
The Commission also requested the Special UN Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance "to continue to present a report on the situation of Muslims and Arab peoples in various parts of the world and the discrimination faced by them."
Canada's NO vote is a sad testimony on the Government of Canada. The Canadian Government must make a firm commitment to combat all forms of racism and intolerance. By voting against this important resolution the Canadian Government is giving the impression that it actually supports or condones racism and intolerance against Islam and Muslims. What is even more disconcerting is that Canada actually invited other States to vote against the resolution
As Muslim Canadians we feel this to be both abhorrent and intolerable and we call on the Canadian Government to reverse its decision and take a strong position against Islamaphobia and all forms of racist intolerance.
Furthermore, we call on Members of Parliament to introduce this issue onto the floor of the House of Commons during Question Period so that the Government can provide a full public accountability regarding its position on this issue.
It is our position that racism and all forms of intolerance must not only be condemned, but should be enshrined within Canada's Criminal Code and violations should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Doing so would send out a strong public signal that racism- and Islamaphobia in particular- has no place in this country.
Canada's latest vote at the UN has sent out a very negative message.