OIC and the denigration of religion



The Saudi Gazette today reports that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is "gearing up" to get the "denigration" of religions criminalised. In case the word denigrate leaves you a little unsure as to where you might stand should this law be implemented, let me clarify. It would mean you would be unable to utter a word of criticism of any religion without facing the possible sanction of international law -since any criticism might be seized upon and be interpreted as an incitement to intolerance and hatred - as the Director of Cultural Affairs of the OIC made clear in his interview with the newspaper:
Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, director of cultural affairs at the OIC general secretariat and spokesman for the OIC secretary general [...]  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. 
Ask yourself who will interpret whether your comment, your joke, your email, your blog post... your thoughts were deemed to denigrate Islam. Ask yourself how soon it will be before we all have to start adding PBUH whenever we mention Muhammad for fear of accusations of disrespect (and by extension denigration). Ask yourself whether those at the Ministry of Truth would be persuaded of your innocence should you be caught with a copy of The Four Lions? Ask yourself if satire or any form of ridicule would become as dangerous as it always has been for those unfortunates in totalitarian regimes.

For let's not forget that the OIC, "the collective voice of the Muslim world",  has a track record for Doublethink already,  Not for them the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (deemed too Judeo-Christian and secular in a criticism apparently gloriously devoid of irony). Muslim countries, say the OIC, must have their own version of "universal" rights....Thus we have the Cairo Declaration (1990) which infamously denied people the right to have no religion at all and couched all other rights in the all encompassing and sinister sounding Article 24: All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah. Article 22 is equally worthy of any Orwellian nightmare: 
Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of The Party, sorry! -Prophets, undermine moral and ethical Values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.
And while we're on the subject of the intolerant nature of totalitarian theocracies and the inherent evil therein (I'm just getting my denigrating in while I can...) we should also remember the OIC's record on LGBT issues. Early last year, in March 2012, the UNHCR held its first debate on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Pakistan's representative addressed the session on behalf of the OIC, denouncing the discussion and questioning the concept of sexual orientation, which he said was being used to promote licentious behaviour contrary to "the fundamental teachings of various religions, including Islam". He stated that the council should not discuss the topic again. Most of the Arab and African countries later walked out of the session

Given the above (and the appalling human rights abuses of the LGBT communities in Islamic countries), we might thus seriously question whether being gay or trans or even writing about such things would be interpreted as denigrating Islam and thus be deemed to be illegal in this Brave New World.

PS Before Mrs Spinoza jumps in  -Yes, I know BNW was Huxley not Orwell...