The United Nations will once again debate introducing a “blasphemy law”, after deadly protests in the Middle East and North Africa took place in response to the offensive YouTube video about the Prophet Mohammed.
“We are living through a period of unease," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week.
"We are also seeing incidents of intolerance and hatred that are then exploited by others. Voices of moderation and calm need to make themselves heard at this time. We all need to speak up in favor of mutual respect and understanding of the values and beliefs of others."
Muslims leaders have said they will raise the issue at the UN, and push for an international law against religious defamation.
Blasphemy laws already exist in large Muslim states such as Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan.
Last week French magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Prophet Muhammad which outraged many Muslims. They were also fire-bombed last year after the magazine published an edition entitled 'Sharia Hebdo' describing it as 'guest edited' by the Prophet Mohammed.
Robert Fisk said that "there is room for a serious discussion among Muslims about, for example, a re-interpretation of the Koran; but Western provocation – and western, alas, it is – closes down such a narrative."
As The Global Post noted, there have been examples when strict blasphemy laws can also suppress minorities. In Pakistan, a Christian mother, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death for "defaming the Prophet Mohammed", according to the Telegraph.
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