UN backs down
The president of the UN Human Rights Council ruled on 16 June that the Council is not to criticise or evaluate religions, particularly Islamic fatwas. This ruling followed attempts by Egyptian and Pakistani delegates at the council to silence criticism of the human rights of women in Islamic countries.
A statement denouncing the stoning to death of women accused of adultery and the marriage of girls as young as nine years in countries where shari’a law applies was interrupted over 15 times, and finally the president promised that ‘the next time a speaker judges a religion or a religious law or document, I will interrupt him and pass on to the next speaker’.
According to Barnabas Fund, the incident appears to be part of a policy adopted by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (a body which links 57 Muslim countries) at a conference in Mecca in December 2006.
The Mecca conference agreed a strategy of zero tolerance of any perceived insult to Islam, and set up structures to monitor and report any cases of perceived Islamophobia, including even ‘hostile glances’ at Muslims.