Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan, who just days ago said a movie that "insults religions" and "prophets" is not protected by freedom of speech, now is insisting that international bodies pass laws making criticism of Islam a crime. The Turkish newspaper, Today's Zaman, reported Erdogan made the comments before a large crowed in Bosnia.
He said he is the "prime minister of a nation, of [whom] most are Muslims and that has declared anti-Semitism a crime against humanity. But the West hasn't recognized Islamophobia as a crime against humanity – it has encouraged it."He provided the comments in response to the growing controversy surrounding the YouTube movie, "Innocence of Muslims," allegedly made by an Egyptian living in the United States.
Attorney, writer and independent foreign policy analyst Andrew Harrod said Erdogan's statement is illogical because he is comparing prejudice against an ethnic group or race with prejudice against a group for holding to a specific set of beliefs. "This is an absurd proposition. Intellectual claims simply have no boundaries, such that conflicting ideas demand testing in order to determine which one is right," Harrod said.
Harrod added that others, including Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer, have observed that the American-made film is the pretext for a coordinated campaign to pressure free societies on issues such as freedom of speech in the name of criticizing Islam."Leaders like Erdogan are trying to put a logical, pro-Western face on their campaign to suppress speech, and thus are making various arguments to make their agenda sound like an advancement of human rights," Harrod said.
ACLJ International Director Tiffany Barrans said Turkey is one of the leaders in a move to get international bodies to adopt a Pakistan-like law prohibiting the criticism of Islam."Turkey is among a number of countries, including Pakistan and Indonesia, that will likely continue to push for the creation of a new international law limiting one's right to freely speak should that speech somehow defame or insult a religious theology," Barrans said.
Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East analyst and fellow with the Middle East Forum, said Erdogan is following a familiar script among Middle East leaders.