West's free speech stand bars blasphemy ban: OIC
ISTANBUL - Western opposition has made it impossible for Muslim states to obtain a ban on blasphemy, including anti-Islamic videos and cartoons that have touched off deadly riots, the Islamic world's top diplomat said.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said his 57-nation body would not try again for United Nations support to ban insults to religion, but appealed for states to apply hate-speech laws concerning Islam.
"We could not convince them," said the Turkish head of the 57-member organisation which had tried from 1998 until 2011 to get a United Nations-backed ban on blasphemy.
"The European countries don't vote with us, the United States doesn't vote with us."
Western countries see the publication of such images and materials as a matter of free speech.
The posting of an amateurish U.S.-made video portraying the Prophet Mohammad as a foolish womanizer and the publication of caricatures of him in France last month led to violent protests and renewed calls from the Muslim world for a global law against blasphemy.
The protests claimed some two dozen lives.
Ihsanoglu told a conference in Istanbul at the weekend that the OIC had failed to win a ban at the United Nations and would not revive its long diplomatic campaign for one.
Asked about recent media reports that the OIC wanted to resume the campaign for a blasphemy ban, he said: "I never said this and I know this will never happen."
The OIC respects freedom of expression but sees anti-Islam videos and cartoons as an abuse of this freedom that Western countries should sanction through their own blasphemy or hate crime laws, he said.