The United Nations’ crackdown on “hate speech” defines the term so broadly that just about anything could be considered in violation, according to a political analyst.
That’s at least partly because of agitation from Muslim-majority countries demanding that anyone who criticizes Islam be punished, writes Judith Bergman, a columnist lawyer and senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute.
“The U.N.’s all-out war on free speech is on,” she said.
“Forget everything about the free exchange of ideas: the U.N. feels that its ‘values’ are being threatened and those who criticize those values must therefore be shut down,” she explained.
Bergman said the newest attack on speech got started when U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the special adviser for the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng, to draw up a plan.
Guterres said, “We need to enlist every segment of society in the battle for values that our world faces today – and, in particular, to tackle the rise of hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance. We hear troubling, hateful echoes of eras long past.”
Then he likened segments of today’s political debates to the 1930s.
He said: “Words are not enough. We need to be effective in both asserting our universal values and in addressing the root causes of fear, mistrust, anxiety and anger. That is the key to bring people along in defense of those values that are under such grave threat today.”
Now that plan is ready, Bergman wrote, with Guterres’ confirmation of the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech.
Stating that “hate” is going mainstream, it promises to “confront hate speech at every turn” without limiting “freedom of speech.”
“Except the U.N. most definitely seeks to limit freedom of speech, especially the kind that challenges the U.N.’s agendas,” Bergman wrote. “This was evident with regard to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in which it was explicitly stated that public funding to ‘media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants’ should be stopped.”
Bergman wrote that whatever “constitutes intolerance, xenophobia, racism or discrimination was naturally left undefined, making the provision a convenient catchall for governments who wish to defund media that dissent from current political orthodoxy on migration.”
The U.N. says any communication containing discriminatory language based on “religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender or other identity factor” is hate speech.
It demands all governments, societies, and the private sector attack such speech with which it disagrees.
“Disturbingly, the U.N. plans to put pressure directly on media and influence children through education,” she explained, citing the U.N.’s own call for “partnerships” with media to “promote” nondiscrimination.
“The new action plan plays straight into the decades-long attempts of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to ban criticism of Islam,” Bergman noted. “In the wake of the launch of Guterres’ action plan, Pakistan has already presented a six-point plan ‘to address the new manifestations of racism and faith-based hatred, especially Islamophobia’ at the United Nations headquarters.”
Bergman said Pakistan’s ambassador already has proposed international efforts to “counter Islamophobia, which is today the most prevalent expression of racism and hatred.”
The effort already has earned the support of Facebook, the report said, which promised “to remove fake accounts” that upset “the entire Muslim Ummah (community).”
And Pakistan has demanded that national legislation be used by governments, civil society and social media to stop such speech.
There are efforts by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to have installed in international law a ban on any criticism of Islam.
Under Islamic law, it is a serious offense to criticize Allah, Muhammad or Islam. In countries such as Pakistan, a Muslim can take a non-Muslim to court and claim he was “offended” by something that was said, resulting in a trial and jail time, even death, for the non-Muslim.
Christians in Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Sudan and other Muslim-dominated countries have been the targets of brutal persecution, with the blasphemy laws often serving as the catalyst for their incarceration. Christians have been jailed, stoned, beheaded and had acid thrown in their faces for violating the blasphemy laws.
The OIC consists of 57 Muslim-majority countries and boasts the largest voting bloc at the United Nations. Its goal has been to make members’ bans on criticism of Islam the standard worldwide.
As far back as 2011, with the help of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.N. Human Rights Council was pursuing plans to combat “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.”
A short time later, the OIC launched the Istanbul Process with the help of Clinton to begin establishing the standards in laws.