Disgrace: UN Human Rights Council endorses ban on religious defamation; Update: UN chief rips "Fitna"

A near-perfect Orwellian moment: Religious fascists exploiting a human rights watchdog to silence dissent of which they disapprove. It’s Ezra Levant and the Star Chamber on a global scale.

The top U.N. rights body on Thursday passed a resolution proposed by Islamic countries saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it…

The U.N. Human Rights Council, which is dominated by Arab and other Muslim countries, adopted the resolution on a 21-10 vote over the opposition of Europe and Canada.

EU countries, including France, Germany and Britain, voted against. Previously EU diplomats had said they wanted to stop the growing worldwide trend of using religious anti-defamation laws to limit free speech…

Although the text refers frequently to protecting all religions, the only religion specified as being attacked is Islam, to which eight paragraphs refer.

For sh*ts and giggles, here’s a selection from the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

There’s plenty of criticism available online about the HRC but as a precis you can do worse than this old post and the immortal video of the head of UN Watch telling the Council, to their faces, precisely what he thinks of them. Take five minutes. You won’t be sorry.

Elsewhere in free speech land, as photos of Geert Wilders start appearing on Al Qaeda websites and a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry advises Britain and the Netherlands to suppress “Fitna” post haste, the EU assures the Muslim world that it feels its pain.

Update: You’ll be happy to know that the right of free expression isn’t at stake in “Fitna.” Why? Because it’s offensive.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned as “offensively anti-Islamic” a Dutch lawmaker’s film that accuses the Koran of inciting violence.

Ban acknowledged efforts by the government of the Netherlands to stop the broadcast of the film, which was launched by Islam critic Geert Wilders over the Internet, and appealed for calm to those “understandably offended by it.”

“There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence,” Ban said in a statement. “The right of free expression is not at stake here.”