While testifying to the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez refused to say that the U.S. would never advance a proposal that criminalizes the right to free speech in regards to criticizing religion.
When asked over and over again the question by Rep. Trent Frank (R-AZ): “Will you tell us here today that this Administration’s Department of Justice will never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion?” Perez balked at answering any such question.
Here’s the background:
For ten years, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) pushed for a U.N. resolution to make defamation of religion a criminal offense. The Saudi-based, 57-member group’s purpose was to make an international law that would criminalize freedom of speech and freedom of expression when it comes to matters deemed critical of or offensive to Islam or Muslims. Standards for the resolution were (naturally) drawn from Islamic, Sharia, law.
In March, 2011, the OIC finally got their way (partially) when the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted by “consensus,” but without a vote, Resolution 16/18. The resolution is titled, “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief.”
Although the resolution doesn’t mention any religion in particular, it’s intention remains that of the OIC: To curb criticism of Islam. The resolution is part of the so-called “Istanbul Process,” and aggressive effort by Muslim countries to make it an international crime to criticize Islam.
The Obama administration fully supported the resolution, whose mandate also calls for “a strong effort to counter religious profiling, which is understood to be the invidious use of religion as a criterion in conducting questionings, searches and other law enforcement investigative procedures.”
Putting its full weight with the OIC, in December, 2011, the State Department and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a closed-door conference in Washington titled, “Expert Meeting on Implementing the U.N. Human Rights Resolution 16/18.” The purpose of the conference was to establish international standards for criminalizing “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of … religion and belief.”
Recognizing that the resolution has no weight unless backed by the West, OIC secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu praised the role played by the Obama administration in adopting the resolution: “I particularly appreciate the kind, personal interest of Secretary Clinton and the role played by the U.S. towards the consensual adoption of the resolution.”
The European Union, was quick to jump on the bandwagon and offer the next international summit on the subject. According to OIC’s Ihsanoglu, the EU’s recent offer to host the next summit represents a “qualitative shift in action against the phenomenon of Islamophobia,” according to the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), the OIC’s official news and propaganda organ.
The Assistant Attorney General’s refusal to answer Rep. Frank’s question, which would guarantee Americans their constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, is a reflection of where this international resolution is heading.
To understand more fully the implications of the statements by the Assistant Attorney General, see the following articles by RadicalIslam.org.’s Senior Fellow Clare Lopez: