OIC gears up to get denigration of religions criminalized
JEDDAH — Getting the go-ahead from the Cairo Islamic Summit, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been actively trying to get the denigration of religions recognized as a criminal offense, according to a top official.Revelation 17
“Next session of the Istanbul Process on Islamophobia will be held in the first half of this year, and the session will squarely focus on the issue of criminalizing denigration of religions,” said Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, director of cultural affairs at the OIC general secretariat and spokesman for the OIC secretary general.
In an interview with Saudi Gazette, Sheikh underscored the need for transposition of the international law to domestic one to effectively combat Islamophobia, which is a contemporary manifestation of racism mainly targeting Islam and Muslims. He said the OIC seeks establishment of an international observatory, based in Geneva, with a global mandate not only to monitor denigration of Islam but all other religions.
“The OIC is of the firm view that any religion or its symbols should not be denigrated. The Cairo Islamic Summit endorsed this position and tasked the OIC secretariat to develop a unified strategy to impress upon the international community to take effective measures against such acts of incitement of intolerance and hatred that may lead to violence and loss of lives,” he said while noting that Islamophobia figured high on the agenda of the summit.
Sheikh, a Pakistani national and an expert on Islamophobia, explained the steps taken by the OIC in confronting Islamophobia by ensuring active involvement of the international community.
“OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu launched a process, known as the Istanbul Process, in July 2011, together with the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, as well as with leaders of OIC and non-OIC member states, to build consensus on confronting Islamophobia. Similar meetings were held later in Washington and London as part of the Istanbul Process, and now the US, UK, the African Union, the Arab League and the OIC are moving in a circle, subscribing the process and taking it forward to discuss the issue specifically. The OIC is going to hold the next event focusing squarely on the issue of criminalizing denigration and deciding on whatever actions need to be taken on the basis of Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),” he said.
According to Sheikh, international law, represented by Article 20 of ICCPR, clearly states that denigration of symbols or persons sacred to any religion is a criminal offense. This law ratifies OIC’s position and the only remaining problem is the absence of enforcement in the true spirit by member states.
“This international law is sufficient to cover OIC’s concern but the problem is either a gap of interpretation because of political reasons or a gap of implementation. Though this law is binding on all countries that signed and ratified the article, it is not effectively transposed to the domestic laws of the respective countries. The OIC is exerting efforts to get it enforced globally through the framework of the OIC-sponsored UN Human Rights Council resolution number 16/18, which is an outcome of the Istanbul Process.”
Sheikh also discussed the activities of the OIC observatory, which is under the supervision of the secretary general. “The observatory is monitoring Islamophobia on a daily basis and translating it into monthly and annual reports. The OIC is publishing annual reports and so far it has published five reports, the last of which was submitted at the Djibouti session of foreign ministers held in November. The Cairo summit appreciated the role of the OIC observatory in confronting Islamophobia and asked the secretary general to put more mechanisms in place to strengthen the observatory,” he said.
Weymouth New Testament
1 Then one of the seven angels who were carrying the seven bowls came and spoke to me. "Come with me," he said, "and I will show you the doom of the great Harlot who sits upon many waters. 2 The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into a desert, and there I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet-colored Wild Beast which was covered with names of blasphemy and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and was brilliantly attired with gold and jewels and pearls. She held in her hand a cup of gold, full of abominations, and she gave filthy indications of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead was a name written: "I am a symbol of great Babylon, the mother of the harlots and of the abominations of the earth." 6 And I saw the woman drinking herself drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And when I saw her I was filled with utter astonishment. 7 Then the angel said to me, "Why are you so astonished? I will explain to you the secret meaning of the woman and of the seven-headed, ten-horned Wild Beast which carries her.
8 "The Wild Beast which you have seen was, and is not, and yet is destined to re-ascend, before long, out of the bottomless pit and go his way into perdition. And the inhabitants of the earth will be filled with amazement--all whose names are not in the Book of Life, having been recorded there ever since the creation of the world--when they see the Wild Beast: because he was, and is not, and yet is to come. 9 Here is scope for the exercise of a mind that has wisdom! The seven heads are the seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 And they are seven kings: five of them have fallen, and the one is still reigning. The seventh has not yet come, but when he comes he must continue for a short time. 11 And the Wild Beast which once existed but does not now exist--he is an eighth king and yet is one of the seven and he goes his way into perdition. 12 "And the ten horns which you have seen are ten kings who have not yet come to the throne, but for a single hour they are to receive authority as kings along with the Wild Beast. 13 They have one common policy, and they are to give their power and authority to the Wild Beast.
14 They will make war upon the Lamb, and the Lamb will triumph over them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings. And those who accompany Him--called, as they are, and chosen, and faithful--shall share in the victory."
15 He also said to me, "The waters which you have seen, on which the Harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes, nations and languages. 16 And the ten horns that you have seen--and the Wild Beast--these will hate the Harlot, and they will cause her to be laid waste and will strip her bare. They will eat her flesh, and burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to carry out His purpose, and to carry out a common purpose and to give their kingdom to the Wild Beast until God's words have come to pass. 18 And the woman whom you have seen is the great city which has kingly power over the kings of the earth."