Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Does Religious Tolerance Mean the Same Thing at the United Nations as in America?

Does religious tolerance mean the same thing at the United Nations and in the Middle East as it does in Western countries? Last November at a two day U.N. Conference in New York sponsored by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the Arab nations led a plea for religious tolerance.

Many representatives from 80 countries in attendance were skeptical of Abdullah’s sponsorship. According to the U.S. Dept. of State International Freedom of Religion Report 2008, Sunni Islam is the official faith of Saudi Arabia with 10% being Shi’a Muslims. King Abdullah is reported to worship in the ultra-orthodox Wahhabi branch of Islam. Any other form of public worship, open conversation or conversion to other faiths can face discrimination and punishment.

Before the conference, the Human Rights Watch, an independent, non-religious organization,
posted an advisory for world leaders to ask Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah to end religious discrimination in his own country.

(Please note: In mentioning Islamic terrorism and Arab nations, this writer does not intend to imply the involvement of the many law-abiding, decent Muslims living in America and other nations. Some have fled from their own countries’ abominable human rights violations.)

In March 2008, the
United Nations’ Human Rights Council passed a resolution called “Combating Defamation of Religions”, proposed by the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC), and asked national legislatures around the world to accept their resolution. Representatives from Canada and the European Union voted against it, stating that in their sight, the resolution’s main focus was on protecting Islam only while persecuting other faiths. But they were overridden 21 to 10.

Ironically, the UN Human Rights Council (renamed from Commission on Human Rights in 2006) includes representatives from Communist and dictatorial nations – some of which have the worst human rights records in the world, and have not been able or willing to stop recent genocides in their own countries.

The United States doesn’t have a seat on the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. In March 2007, the State Department concluded that the Council had not been accomplishing the goals it was charged with. So the U.S. was not considering a seat.

The 57 nations within the Organization of the Islamic Conference have adopted the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, which states that all rights are subject to Sharia law (Islam’s legal system), and makes Sharia law the only reference for human rights.

The United States Congress is supposed to vote on adopting something similar to this "religious tolerance" resolution. This threatens the individual sovereignty of the U.S. Constitution and the freedom of our citizens. There are those in our government who favor an international law system. In fact, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Sandra Day O’Connor has stated that the Supreme Court had begun looking more to the laws of other countries for their decisions.

President Obama plans to deepen the United States’ relationship with the U.N. His advisors and consultants must be aware and inform him of these situations.

c. 2009, Sheryl Young


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