Press Release No 73/2008

New York: United Nations, March 3, 2008: The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has expressed grave concern of the Islamic Ummah over the negative political and media campaign targeting Muslims and Islam.

In a statement issued by Pakistan as Chair of OIC, it has urged the Secretary General to the United Nations to a call upon the governments of the member States that condone the publication of blasphemous caricatures of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUM) and media material as well as the campaigns for anti-Islamic regulations to take all possible legal and administrative measures to prevent the repetition or continuation of these deliberate offensive acts, which impinge greatly on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion of the followers of Islam.

Pakistan as Chair of the OIC requested the Secretary General UN to publicly express his unequivocal opposition to all acts of Islamo-phobia, and to declare that no government should be complicit in undermining the ongoing efforts to promote harmony and friendly relations amongst the various cultures, religions and civilizations.

The OIC Group believes that lack of action to prevent the reprinting the blasphemous caricatures, and indifference in airing the inflammatory documentary against the Holy Quran, will be perceived as manifestation of insincerity towards the principles and objectives of various efforts within the United Nations system aiming at promoting understanding and respect of and among cultures and civilizations, the statement added.

The OIC in its statement recalled a joint statement of the Secretary General of the United Nations with the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference and High Representative of Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union in Doha on February 7, 2006, which recognized that "in all societies there is a need to show sensitivity and responsibility in treating issues of special significance for the adherents of any particular faith, even by those who do not share the belief in question".

The statement criticized Western intellectuals for justifying such terminologies as "Islamo-fascism", "Islamic terrorism" and "radical Islam" and termed them, a manifestation of and justifications for provocations and systematic insults against Islam. Freedom of expression does not provide a license to insult and hurt sentiments and belief of other, the statement noted.