Jeddah, The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned the French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s republication of cartoons insulting to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as a manifestation of hatred and ridiculous stereotypes, as well as a flagrant violation of International Human Rights Law (IHRL).
OIC-IPHRC said in a statement today: “The commission expresses its deep concern about this horrific action, which was carried out as a stereotype and mockery of the greatest figure in Islam who enjoys the love, respect and reverence of Muslims around the world, and expresses its regret over the irresponsible statements made by senior officials in some countries, in support of the so-called “the right to freedom of defamation and insult”, as an expression of their solidarity with the magazine in publishing blasphemous materials, unrelated to the right to freedom of expression.
It added, “While constructive criticism constitutes a legitimate part of freedom of expression, absolute ridicule, insult, stereotyping and defamation are, directly, incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence, which is a crime punishable by IHRL, as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the two articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights (ICCPR) declaring that it is not absolute right, yet it’s practice is subject to special duties and corresponding responsibilities, based on the principle of avoiding harm to others, in order to ensure the necessity of community cohesion, including the legal duty of the state to prohibit any call to national, racial or religious hatred that may incite discrimination, hostility or violence.”
The OIC-IPHRC recalled the step taken by the entire Islamic world towards “Charlie Hebdo” incident by condemning the violent attack on the magazine’s headquarters in 2015, where the victims included, along with other innocent people, a Muslim man from the police officers, who sacrificed his life in defense of the magazine’s building against its attackers, while the international community overwhelmingly confessed the lack of any relationship between the attacks and Islam or any other religion.
It also stressed that mankind needs, in these difficult times facing the world due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, to exert more efforts to achieve solidarity, tolerance, respect for cultural and religious diversity and to promote dialogue at all levels, without these statements that lead to hatred and malice, which will only strengthen the power of extremists to exploit every aspect of the cultural gab, feeding the seeds of racial and religious hatred and discrimination, a matter that is completely incompatible with the ideal of multiculturalism.
Moreover, the Commission urged the Islamic nation to exercise restraint and use the available domestic and international legal means to counter hate speech, calling on the media to adhere to the standards of responsible journalism, avoiding stereotypes and incitement to hatred against peaceful Muslim societies as well as promoting respect for diversity and religious sensitivities, especially if it concerns the segments that are important in building peaceful and more inclusive pluralistic societies.
It also called on all countries to implement the action plan for Human Rights Council Resolution No. 16/18, which is universally recognized, so as to combat religious intolerance and reach a consensus on the threshold for restricting freedom of expression, especially when it turns into incitement to hatred and discrimination, or violence, while calling for the criminalization of this deviation, in accordance with the provisions of Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

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