President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Monday to issue edicts against religious defamation in the wake of global protests ignited by a film insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
“I call on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the UN to mull over international protocol to prevent such things like this from happening again,” Yudhoyono said, referring to the anti-Islam film “The Innocence of Muslims.”
The president said that religious defamation should be condemned because it hurts the hearts of religious people, disturbs the peace and can trigger bloody conflicts, in a speech before a national meeting of the Nahdlatul Ulama in Cirebon, West Java,
The controversial film has been blocked in Indonesia at the behest of the Indonesian government. The film, which was produced by a self-proclaimed Coptic Christian American, set off a wave of anti-US protests across the Middle East and Indonesia and reportedly inspired an attack on the US Embassy in Libya that resulted in the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Yudhoyono said that the United Nations’ “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” allows for limitations to be placed on freedom of speech in the name of public order.
“Article 29 actually limits rights and freedoms, it could not be absolute as there should be limitations, such as if it is related to morality and public order,” he said.
Yudhoyono said that freedoms are limited under Indonesia’s constitution as well.
Meanwhile, protests turned violent in Indonesia on Monday as hard-liners clashed with police outside the US Embassy in Jakarta and vandalized a consulate in Medan, North Sumatra, and American fast food restaurants in Java.