Egypt’s president and other Muslim leaders should demand the U.N. criminalize contempt of religion after the release of an anti-Islamic film and cartoons which demonstrate growing racism, said the leader of the biggest ultra-orthodox Islamist party.
Despite doctrinal and political differences with President Mohamed Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafist Nour Party played a key role in supporting it during presidential elections in June.
Led by Emad Abdel Ghaffour, it now ranks as the second-largest party in parliament and plays a formidable force in Egypt’s new politics.
“We call for legislation or a resolution to criminalize contempt of Islam as a religion and its Prophet,” said Ghaffour, one of four permanent assistants to the president, on Saturday.
“The voice of reason in the West will prevail if there is mutual respect, dialogue and efficient lobbying for this critical resolution,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Leaders and their entourages from the 193-nation United Nations General Assembly descend on U.N. headquarters in New York for the world body’s annual “general debate” from September 25-October 1.
Mursi will make his Assembly debut along with the new leaders of Libya, Yemen and Tunisia, countries where Islamist parties have moved to the heart of government.
The recent violent unrest in some Muslim countries caused by anger at the anti-Islam film made in California and the French cartoons published by satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo is expected to be a closely watched theme.
A few dozen Egyptians protested near the French embassy in Cairo on Friday, but were kept away from the premises by police. The Nour Party and other mainstream Islamic leaders expressed outrage, but have urged a peaceful response.
Muslim protests in Pakistan turned violent with at least 15 people killed on Friday, after demonstrations in several Muslim countries a week earlier, including attacks on U.S. and other Western embassies and the killing of the U.S. envoy to Libya.
“A proposal to look into the root causes of the obvious racism against Muslims and Arabs as the recent fierce campaign against their Islamic beliefs shows is much needed,” said Ghaffour.
Read more at REUTERS