14 September 2007 (Geneva):The Human Rights Council in Geneva, this morning (14/9/2007) started an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on his report on the defamation of religions.
During the interactive dialogue that followed the presentation of the report, Mr. Diene described Islamophobia as being the gravest form of religious defamation, notably the equating of Islam to violence and terrorism, the suspicion of its religious teachings as well as the interdictions to build mosques.
In this context he particularly pin-pointed the deliberate contrast being projected in the media between freedom of expression and freedom of religion. A recent example of this, he added, was found in the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published in a Swedish newspaper.
For his part, Masood Khan of Pakistan speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said defamation of religions was on the rise, as demonstrated in recent cartoons and posters in Sweden and Switzerland. Freedom of expression, he went on to say, was being exercised selectively.