Egyptian President Warns World: 'We Will Not Allow' Insults to Islam

September 27, 2012 - 6:19 AM

Morsi at UN

Mohamed Morsi, President of Egypt, addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

(CNSNews.com) - In his speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi condemned "insults hurled on the prophet of Islam, Mohammed," and said the United Nations must do something about it.

"We reject this. We cannot accept it," he said, speaking of insults to Islam. "And we will be the opponents of those who do this. We will not allow anyone to do this by word or deed."

The warning that "We will not allow anyone to do this" was spoken through a translator and did not appear in the prepared text of Morsi's speech.

Mentioning "an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities," Morsi said the U.N. has a "main responsibility" in addressing Islamophobia, which "is starting to have implications that clearly affect international peace and security."

"We all have to work together," Morsi said. "We must join hands in confronting these regressive ideas that hinder cooperation among us. We must move together to confront extremism and discrimination and incitement to hatred on the basis of religion or race."

Moments later, Morsi addressed freedom of expression, saying it has limits:

"Egypt respects freedom of expression -- freedom of expression that is not used to incite hatred against anyone, not a freedom of expression that targets a specific religion or a specific culture; a freedom of expression that tackles extremism and violence, not the freedom of expression that deepens ignorance and disregards others.

"We also, as we have said before and reaffirmed before, we also stand firmly against the use of violence in expressing objection to these obscenities."

While Morsi did not call for a global ban on blasphemy in his speech to the U.N., other Muslim leaders have done so.

As CNSNews.com reported, the leaders of the world’s two most populous Muslim countries used their speeches at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday to call for a legally-binding, global anti-blasphemy protocol.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his Pakistan counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, both argued that insults against Mohammed, Islam’s prophet, incite violence and are not legitimate free speech.

“Although we can never condone violence, the international community must not become silent observers and should criminalize such acts that destroy the peace of the world and endanger world security by misusing freedom of expression,” Pakistan President Zardari said.  He urged the U.N. to act “immediately.”

(The excerpt referenced above appears 32 minutes into Morsi's speech and is transcribed below in its entirety:)

Mr. President, Egypt stresses that the international system will not be fixed as long as we have doubled standards. We expect from others as they expect from us: that they respect our cultural specificities and religious references and not to seek to impose concepts or cultures that are not acceptable to us or politicize certain issues and use them as a pretext to intervene in the affairs of others.

What Muslims and migrants are going through in a number of countries, in a certain number of regions in the world in terms of discrimination and violation of their human rights, and vicious campaigns against what they hold secret --sacred-- is unacceptable. This is unacceptable, the behavior by some -- some individuals. And the insults hurled on the prophet of Islam, Mohammed, is rejected. We reject this. We cannot accept it.

And we will be the opponents of those who do this. We will not allow anyone to do this by word or deed.

This runs against the most basic principles of the organization where we meet today. And, unfortunately, today, it has now acquired a name, which is Islamophobia.

We all have to work together. We must join hands in confronting these regressive ideas that hinder cooperation among us. We must move together to confront extremism and discrimination and incitement to hatred on the basis of religion or race.

The General Assembly as well as the Security Council has a main responsibility in addressing this phenomenon that is -- is starting to have implications that clearly affect international peace and security.

The obscenities that I have referred to were recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities are unacceptable and require from us a firm stand. We have a responsibility in this international gathering to study how we can protect the world from instability and hatred.

Egypt respects freedom of expression, freedom of expression that is not used to incite hatred against anyone. Not a freedom of expression that targets a specific religion or a specific culture . A freedom of expression that tackles extremism and violence, not the freedom of expression that deepens ignorance and disregards others.

We also, as we have said before and reaffirmed before, we also stand firmly against the use of violence in expressing objection to these obscenities.