Al-Azhar sheikh demands new international law criminalizing defamation of religion

al-Masry Al-Youm

Egypt Independent, 9/15/12

Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb has demanded a UN resolution criminalizing blasphemy against Islam and other world religions, as well as demanding that those he described as “misled” be punished for committing “these heinous acts of abuse to the Prophet.”

In a statement released Saturday, Tayyeb called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to criminalize the defamation of religion, saying that such actions and words threaten world peace and international security.

“Is not that irresponsible tampering, Mr. Secretary General, similar to the issue of [anti-Semitic] prejudice, which you condemn all the time, and [against] which verdicts were issued against alleged perpetrators in many countries of the world, even if they are great thinkers and scientists?”

Tayyeb asked in the statement. Tayyeb also called on all Egyptians to keep calm and condemned attacks on innocent people and expressed sympathy for victims of the recent violence. He also stressed the need to protect diplomatic missions and the headquarters of international organizations. Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm