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U.S. fights Islamic anti-defamation push
The Bush administration, European governments and religious rights organizations are mounting a new effort to defeat a General Assembly resolution that demands respect for Islam and other religions but has been used to justify persecution of religious minorities.
The resolution, called "Combating Defamation of Religion," is sponsored by the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and has been approved by the world body annually since 2005. It comes up for renewal this fall.
U.S. officials said they hope to persuade moderate Muslim nations - among them Senegal, Mali, Nigeria and Indonesia - to reject the measure, which lacks the force of law but has provided diplomatic cover for regimes that repress critical speech. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.
Religious rights groups say other U.N. measures, including statements by the Human Rights Council in Geneva, replicate the language of the resolution.
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