The United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution against the desecration of the Holy Quran on Wednesday, prompting concern from Western countries.
The resolution, introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), calls for the U.N. rights chief to publish a report on religious hatred and for states to review their laws and plug gaps that may “impede the prevention and prosecution of acts and advocacy of religious hatred.”
The United States and the European Union strongly opposed the resolution, saying it conflicts with their view on human rights and freedom of expression.
The vote’s outcome marks a major defeat for Western countries at a time when the OIC has unprecedented clout in the council.
Twenty-eight countries voted in favor of the resolution, 12 voted against it, and seven abstained.
Michele Taylor, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council, said the United States concerns about the initiative “were not taken seriously.”
“I believe with a little more time and more open discussion, we could have also found a way forward together on this resolution,” she said.
The resolution was introduced in the wake of the burning of the Holy Quran in Sweden, which sparked outrage across the Muslim world.
The OIC argues that the resolution is necessary to protect Muslims from religious hatred. However, Western countries say that the resolution could be used to restrict freedom of expression.
The vote on the resolution is a sign of the growing rift between Western countries and the OIC on the issue of religious freedom.