The Legal Project’s Ann Snyder’s Remarks at Panel Regarding the OIC, Defamation of Islam, & The Istanbul Process

The Legal Project’s Ann Snyder’s Remarks at Panel Regarding the OIC, Defamation of Islam, & The Istanbul Process

On Tuesday, February 7th, 2012, The Legal Project’s Ann Snyder participated in a panel discussion about “The Istanbul Process and the OIC’s Continuing Efforts to Implement Restrictions to Prevent the Defamation of Islam” on Capitol Hill. This panel was sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). The panel took place between 10:00 am- 12:00 noon in the Cannon House Office Building, Room 121, in Washington, D.C.

The panel was moderated by the Honorable Rep. Fred Grandy, former U.S. Congressman, television star and talk radio host, and now the Executive Vice President at The Center for Security Policy

The Panelists Included:

* Zuhdi Jasser, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
* Ann Snyder, The Legal Project
* Supna Zaidi, The Lawfare Project
* Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition

This panel focused on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) continued push for UN resolutions calling on countries to criminalize what it terms “defamation of religion.” The OIC’s goal is to restrict freedom of expression at the international level to punish anything deemed critical of or offensive to Islam or Muslim leaders. After being frustrated in earlier attempts to pass “defamation of religion” resolutions at the UN, the OIC changed gears and pushed through Resolution 16/18 in March 2010. Resolution 16/18 did not contain the term “defamation of religions.” It calls for the criminalization of “incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief,” and it “condemns.any advocacy of religious hatred against individuals that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.” This latter part is similar in wording to various “hate speech” provisions adopted throughout Europe.

16/18 also “urges States to take effective measures as set forth in the present resolution, consistent with their obligations under international human rights law, to address and combat such incidents.” From Dec. 12-14, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted in Washington a meeting “to discuss” with the OIC “how to implement resolution no. 16/18 on combating defamation of religions.” and that the aim of this and further meetings was “developing a legal basis” for domestic and international laws “preventing inciting hatred resulting from the continued defamation of religions.” This meeting and an earlier one that took place in Istanbul, Turkey are collectively referred to as the “Istanbul Process.”