JEDDAH – The Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) condemned the malicious plan of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders for an international competition on caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) later this year.
In a statement, The Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) called on the Dutch government to take immediate steps to prevent this arbitrary attack, which affects the religious sensitivities of more than 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, warning of the organization of the event, which could ignite and promote a culture of intolerance and incitement to hatred and a broader sense of isolation Rejection and polarization among affected communities, discrimination and violence, which are contrary to the ideal values of multiculturalism.
Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of the Islamic Conference said:
"The Commission (The Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)) considers freedom of expression to be a fundamental human right, which is vital for the building of stable, peaceful and progressive democratic societies, but the scope of freedom of expression is not absolute, as provided for in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. Requiring the exercise of "special duties and responsibilities” to ensure community cohesion, as well as respect for the right and reputation of others.
It added that this planned competition is a clear attempt to ridicule the most revered figure in the true religion and deliberately seek to incite religious hatred and discrimination against Muslims, a clear violation of Article 20 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil, Political and Human Rights.
The Commission (The Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) considered that the Dutch government’s assertion that it would not be satisfied with the planned Wilders competition was insufficient in accordance with article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil Political and Human Rights. It is the duty of every State to prohibit by law "any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination or Hostility or violence ". Calling on the Dutch government to take immediate steps to prevent this event and to protect the special religious and cultural sensitivities of the Muslims of the Netherlands and Muslims around the world, as well as to maintain societal harmony and tolerance and multiculturalism, which is the hallmark of Dutch society.
The Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) urged Muslims around the world to continue to exercise restraint in their response to these malicious provocations, which aim to incite hatred, religious racism, discrimination and violence under the guise of freedom of expression.
The panel stressed that Wilders’ cheap attempts to denigrate and distort the image of Islam are aimed at narrow political gains at the expense of inciting religious hatred, intolerance and the division of humanity.
In June, the leader of the ultra-liberal "Freedoms” party, Geert Wilders, announced that the party would organize a cartoon contest on the prophet Muhammad.
Wilders said applications for the competition would expire on August 31, noting that more than 200 painters have submitted to the competition.
The OIC’s Permanent Standing Committee on Human Rights considers that the increasing level of xenophobia and intolerance in Europe in particular and worldwide must be addressed through the promotion of a culture of tolerance, respect for cultural and religious diversity and the promotion of dialogue between religions and cultures at all levels. The Commission also endorses the OIC Secretary-General’s statement that "the time has come to develop internationally binding legal instruments to prevent incitement, racism, discrimination and religious hatred”.
To that end, The Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) stressed the urgent need for the full and effective implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 16/18, universally agreed upon, which provides a comprehensive framework to combat religious intolerance through a multifaceted plan of action. It also urges the international community to support the praiseworthy ideals of dialogue, mutual respect, tolerance and the protection of religious freedoms and freedom of expression in accordance with international human rights law.