Islamic body warns of more hate speech woe

Islamic body warns of more hate speech woe

GENEVA / ANKARA
Islamic body warns of more hate speech woe

Afghans hold placards reading: 'Our leader Mohammed' during a protest against an anti-Islam film in Kabul, Afghanistan. AP photo

The world runs the risk of sparking more trouble due to hate speech if it does not criminalize insults against religion, the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has said following the recent release of separate anti-Islam films and cartoons.

The “deliberate, motivated and systematic abuse” of freedom of speech is a danger to global security and stability, OIC head Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu said Sept. 19.

Ankara has vowed to bring the problem of Islamophobia to the United Nations following the release of a U.S.-made anti-Islam film that has led to scores of deaths around the world.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ called on EU governments yesterday to punish those involved in such attacks.

“Otherwise, this [inaction] will lead to spread of insult to Muslims, which will bring other consequences,” he said, while EU Minister Egemen Bağıs echoed İhsanoğlu, saying freedom of speech did not equal freedom to insult religion.

Meanwhile, anti-French protests are expected today after a satirical Parisian weekly published cartoons mocking the Prophet, leading France to close overseas interests. Paris police have also banned a demonstration planned for Sept. 22 in front of the city’s Grand Mosque to protest against a U.S.-made anti-Islam film, a police source said.

The debate over hate speech comes amid German plans to create a neo-Nazi database following a right-wing killing spree that was mostly directed at Turks.

“The aim of this is to develop an effective fight against far-right extremism ... and in this way to ensure that what has happened can never happen again,” Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said during meeting in Berlin.

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