Ex-OIC chief welcomes court ruling on defaming Prophet

By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) – Former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed a European Court of Human Rights' (ECHR) decision that penalized defaming of the Prophet Muhammed.

"The decision, which shows that disrespect, insults and detestable enmities have nothing to do with the freedom of expression or human rights, deserves admiration," Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told Anadolu Agency on Friday.

"The fight against Islamophobia and our opinions we have been voicing for years have been adopted and declared by the ECHR," he said, adding: "This ruling is pleasing in all its aspects."

Defaming the Prophet Muhammed “goes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate" and "could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace” and thus exceeds the permissible limits of freedom of expression, ruled the ECHR, upholding a lower court decision.

The decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified as Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009, entitled “Basic Information on Islam,” in which she defamed the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage.

According to a statement released by the court on Thursday, the Vienna Regional Criminal Court found that these statements implied that Muhammad had pedophilic tendencies, and in February 2011 convicted Mrs. S. for disparaging religious doctrines.

She was fined €480 (approx. $547) and the costs of the proceedings.

The statement also added that there had been no violation of Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, covering freedom of expression.

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