The Washington Times - September 13, 2012, 12:26PM

Egypt’s prime minister said on Wednesday that the U.S. government is not to blame for a film that was made in the United States and found to offensive to Muslims. However, he wants the federal government to take a “firm position toward” the film producers, reports Reuters. :

“What happened at the U.S. embassy in Cairo is regrettable and rejected by all Egyptian people and cannot be justified, especially if we consider that the people who produced this low film have no relation to the (U.S.) government,” Prime Minister Hisham Kandil said, reading out a statement.

He added: “We ask the American government to take a firm position toward this film’s producers within the framework of international charters that criminalize acts that stir strife on the basis of race, color or religion.”


While Americans may scoff at the idea of foreign countries dictating to the United States what our free speech should be, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed to an unusual U.N. Human Rights Council proposition known as “resolution 16/18” last year. Last December CNS News reported:

The head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has acknowledged that a U.N. religious tolerance resolution heavily promoted by the Obama administration has the same aims as the Islamic bloc’s annual “religious defamation” resolutions, which Western democracies have consistently opposed for more than a decade.

The State Department this week hosted three days of talks with foreign governments and international organizations, including the OIC, on implementing “resolution 16/18,” a measure adopted “by consensus” – without a vote – at the U.N. Human Rights Council last March and set to be endorsed by the full U.N. General Assembly within days.

The resolution, formally entitled “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief,” has been championed by the administration – and some human rights advocacy groups – as a historic achievement, in that it supposedly seeks a balance between freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

It was hailed as a shift away from earlier “defamation of Islam” (later changed to “defamation of religion”) resolutions introduced by the OIC, and duly voted through each year at both the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly – in recent years, by steadily smaller margins.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday told the closing session of the meeting at the State Department that the adoption of resolution 16/18 had “ended 10 years of divisive debate where people were not listening to each other anymore.”

A problem with resolution 16/8 is how other countries will choose to interpret the resolution’s language. CNS News also interviewed Elizabeth Kendal, an international religious liberty analyst and advocate who said resolution 16/18 was “far from being a breakthrough for free speech … is actually more dangerous than” the religious defamation resolutions.”

“Indeed, the strategic shift from defamation to incitement actually advances the OIC’s primary goal: the criminalization of criticism of Islam,” Kendal wrote.

However,Kendal told CNS that U.S. Constitutional protections for its citizens still takes precedent despite the OIC’s mandates:

“For, in Resolution 16/18, the OIC has deliberately and strategically adopted the language of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 20.2, which mandates: any advocacy of hatred that ‘constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.’”

The ICCPR, which came into force in 1976, is legally binding on those countries that have ratified it.

The United States ratified it in 1992, although with a declared reservation that “article 20 does not authorize or require legislation or other action by the United States that would restrict the right of free speech and association protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”