Freedom from Blasphemy???
Yes, this is what the Islamic states are after...
At the conference, Muslim nations also mulled taking legal measures for slights against Islam.
Concerned about what they see as a rise in the defamation of Islam, Muslim leaders at the summit are considering legal action against those who slight their religion or its sacred symbols.
The plan represents an attempt to demand redress from nations like Denmark, which allowed the publication of cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad, an incident that infuriated the Muslim world.
Though the type of legal action it could take is not fully spelled out, the threat pits the Muslim world against the principles of freedom of speech enshrined in the constitutions of numerous western governments.
"I don't think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy," said Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference on Friday. "There can be no freedom without limits."
At the summit, delegates were given a voluminous report recording anti-Islamic speech and action around the world. It cites the publication of the Danish cartoons, as well as the op-ed articles of a Somali-born Muslim woman who said women do not have rights under Islam. The report concludes that Islam is under attack and that a defense must be mounted.
"Muslims are being targeted by a campaign of defamation, denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination," said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the group.
To protect the faith, Muslim nations have already created an 'observatory' that meets regularly to monitor "Islamophobia." It examines lectures and workshops taking place around the world and prints a monthly record of offensive content.
The report presented Friday urges the creation of a legal instrument to crack down on defamation of Islam, but it is unclear what kind of legal action could be taken. Some delegates point to laws in Europe criminalizing the denial of the Holocaust and other anti-Semitic rhetoric. They also point to articles within various UN charters that condemn discrimination based on religion and argue that these should be made stronger.
"In our relation with the western world, we are going through a difficult time," Ihsanoglu told the summit's general assembly. "Islamophobia cannot be dealt with only through cultural activities but [through] a robust political engagement," he said.
In reaction, the International Humanist and Ethical Union in Geneva issued a statement accusing the Islamic states of attempting to limit freedom of expression and of attempting to misuse the UN.