Wednesday, February 22, 2006

OIC Asks EU To Legislate To Protect Islam.

Citing the jailing of a British historian in Austria for denying the Holocaust, the Organisation of Islamic Conference [OIC] Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on Tuesday Feb 21, 2006 urged Europe to legislate similar safeguards against maligning Islam in the name of freedom of expression.

"We need the same protection from European law," the chief of the 57-nation Islamic body said while talking to reporters following a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Right-wing historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison by an Austrian court on Monday on charges he had denied extermination of six millions Jews by the Nazis during World War II.

There "should be no double standards", he said, referring to the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in the European newspapers that triggered outrage and violent protests across the Muslim world.

Ihsanoglu said the Muslim community wanted European laws to protect their feelings and sensitivities so that freedom of expression was not abused for mud slinging on their faith and the Prophet.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said after the meeting that he had formally requested the secretary-general to convene an extraordinary session of foreign ministers of OIC member states to evolve a common strategy to combat the defamation of Islam.

Shaukat Aziz said Pakistan would send a bipartisan parliamentary delegation to Brussels to meet members of the European parliament to mobilize support for appropriate legislation against attempts to ridicule religions and prophets. The delegation on its way back would stop at Jeddah to brief the OIC secretary-general about discussions in Brussels.

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