Oppose the Implementation of UN Resolution 16/18:
A Threat to Free Speech
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an organization of 56 Muslim states and the Palestinian Authority, has been trying for more than a decade to win UN-wide support of a resolution that calls on nations to prohibit speech that allegedly "defames" religion. However, the evidence is clear that the OIC is concerned primarily about any speech it views as being critical of Islam, what it calls "Islamophobia." In the past, the United States has opposed such resolutions, correctly asserting that they are contrary to our First Amendment right of free speech. In 2011, at the U.S.'s request, the OIC drafted a new resolution that would supposedly balance America's constitutional protection of free speech with OIC concerns about "Islamophobia." This resolution passed, with U.S. backing. This new resolution, UN Resolution 16/18, no longer uses language such as "defamation," but instead uses European-style hate speech language that has been used to criminalize speech critical of Islam in countries such as Austria and the Netherlands. The OIC is now aggressively working to implement its definition of the resolution. Its position is clearly spelled out in a February 18, 2013, article in the Saudi Gazette entitled "OIC gears up to get denigration of religions criminalized." Given that the OIC is now pushing for nations to criminalize speech that it views as "Islamophobic," we, the undersigned, call on our legislators to pass resolutions opposing the implementation of UN Resolution 16/18 as both unnecessary and a threat to America's constitutional protection of free speech.