Delegate: Lindsey Bliefernicht Committee Topic: Defamation of Religion Country: Afghanistan In the past decade, tensions between religious groups—specifically between Islam and the other Abrahamic religions has been anything less than apparent. After the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, Islam is viewed as being synonymous with Mujahideen and terrorist groups i.e. al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and al-Shabaab. Because of this many Arab minorities have been persecuted over issues such as the banning of the Hijab, Niqab, and Burqa; the elimination of minarets, and the elimination of the azan in certain communities. The issues of Islamaphobia must be addressed—residing in an area where Islam is the minority should not dissuade Muslims from practicing their faith. The polarization of religions is a problem that has plagued civilization for centuries. We like to believe we are a part of a modern society, but how can we call ourselves so when we continue to allow the slander of religious practices? Tolerance isn’t inherently within us—it is something that must be taught and enforced. Making punishments harsh enough to deter this hatred may cut back on acts of defamation. An eye for an eye—hurting our culture can only be justified if one is willing to receive an equal punishment in return. In the case of Islamic defamation, a separate regulation committee should be established—preferably through the Organization of the Islamic Conference in order to justify the degree of the crime. The council should be comprised of practiced Muslims as well as members from other religions in order to demonstrate that we are all able to cooperate and coexist in peace. As a matter of Human Rights, I believe this group should still fall under the same category, but perhaps considered a subgroup under the topic of religion in order to give the committee a specific focus. Any acts of violence against religion will be dealt with through the use of police force—either through monetary reparations to the party affected or by imprisonment by the rioter(s). The Afghan government doesn’t take cases of religious defamation lightly and in such extreme cases, our country has suggested the death penalty for two journalists, Mer-hossin Mahdaw and Ali Raza Payam, for crafting an offensive cartoon of a monkey evolving into a human being lying over a computer with the words “Government plus religion equals cruelty.” The Court said in the ruling, “The Islamic Transitional Government of Afghanistan is obliged to give the death penalty to the people who have abused or made fun of Islam…” Together, with the other nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Afghanistan will stand in favor of laws against the defamation of religion in order to protect our historic cultural values and that of other nations, whether Arabic or Western. The importance of the cultural values our countries hold dear is far more important than the right to express hatred and violence.