Pakistan president calls for ban on defamation of Islam Joshua Pantesco at 10:24 AM ET
[JURIST] Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official website; BBC profile] called for a ban on the "defamation of Islam" during his speech [PDF text] at the 61st Session [materials] of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. Citing feelings in the Muslim world of "desperation and injustice" in the face of oppression and the war on terror, Musharraf said:
We also need to bridge, through dialogue and understanding, the growing divide between the Islamic and Western worlds. In particular, it is imperative to end racial and religious discrimination against Muslims and to prohibit the defamation of Islam. It is most disappointing to see personalities of high standing oblivious of Muslim sensitivities at these critical moments.
AFP has more. Musharraf's speech fulfills a pledge [JURIST post] he made in February, in the wake of world-wide controversy over the Danish publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive] which left several Pakistanis dead in riots, to lobby the United Nations to make blasphemy an internationally-recognized criminal offense. In March this year, Turkey's foreign minister similarly called for European countries to extend their defamation laws [JURIST report] to cover anti-Islamic as well anti-Christian and anti-Semitic remarks.
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