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UN should criminalize insult of religion, says Egypt

By YAHYA SSEREMBA

As Muslims step up protests against an anti-Islam propaganda film produced and widely defended in the United States as an expression of freedom, the ruling party in Egypt has described the abuse of “sacred symbols and the personalities of heavenly religions” as a threat to international peace that should be criminalized and punished.

The Freedom and Justice Party also defended the right of the people to demonstrate against such wicked and insulting campaigns and called on Washington to chastise the producers of the vulgar video.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Party urged “relevant states and governments, international organizations and institutions concerned with preserving values and freedoms, to issue international conventions to criminalize the abuse of sacred symbols and personalities of heavenly religions and to consider that those who break this law threaten international peace and security and as such punishable by law.”

Muslims in much of the world have since Tuesday taken to the streets to voice their denunciation of the hate-peddling film that insults the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The U.S. has issued a mild condemnation of the video, choosing instead to divert attention to the death of its ambassador in protests in Libya.

If anything, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the right of the producers of the film to enjoy their freedom. In their ‘land of freedom’, however, such freedom is not extended to those who question the holocaust or criticize the Jews in anyway.

The largest party in the largest and strongest Arab country seemed to question such hypocrisy when it clearly asked the United States to do something about the deep-seated hatred of anything Muslim that has come to define the Western nation. “The US must enforce the laws firmly and punish those who produce and promote such abusive material, so as to prevent the recurrence of such criminal acts rejected by civilized peoples and all heavenly religions,” reads the statement in part.

Such a firm defense of Islam would hardly come from Cairo only a year ago before the ouster America’s long-serving puppet Hosni Mubarak. The rise of the independent-minded Muslim Brotherhood’s party has greatly affected the detractors of Islam, with President Obama declaring that Egypt is no longer considered an ally.

The horrible film is by no means the only tool used to spread hatred against Islam. The West has for long employed many other subtle means, including thousands of Hollywood movies that have been – and continue to be – produced portraying Arabs and Muslims as terrorists. Their news outlets equally spare no effort in trying to accomplish the same.

Despite such outright provocation, the Freedom and Justice Party called on Muslims to exercise restraint in demonstrating against actions intended to portray them as sub-human. “The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) affirms that peaceful expression of protest against the latest anti-Islam film is both the right and the duty of all Egyptian people, Muslims and Christians alike, to voice their anger for the honor of the Prophet Mohammed, and to counter all attempts to ignite sedition between the two elements of this great nation.

“The FJP urges Egyptian demonstrators outside the U.S. Embassy to show restraint and express their anger in a way that reflects and demonstrates the greatness of Islam and how it respects heavenly religions, as an integral part of Muslims' faith.”

 

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