A looming meeting with Islamic leaders hosted by the State Department has religious scholars and advocacy groups warning that the United States may "play into" the push by some Islamic nations to create new laws to stifle religious criticism and debate.
The meeting on religious tolerance, which is scheduled for mid-December, would involve representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation -- a coalition of 56 nations which more or less represents the Muslim world.
Critics describe the get-together -- the first in a series -- as a Trojan horse for the long-running OIC push for restrictions on speech. They note the track record of nations that want the dialogue, including Egypt, where recent military action against Coptic Christians raised grave concerns about intolerance against religious minorities.Question: why is State hosting meetings--a series of 'em, yet--for Islamic leaders who preside over nations which persecute their own religious minorities; nations which, now more than ever, despise America and Americans? Isn't that--oh, I dunno--freaking insane?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton originally announced the meeting this past July in Turkey, where she co-chaired a talk on religious tolerance with the OIC. The event was billed as a way to foster "respect and empathy and tolerance" among nations. Delegates from up to 30 countries, as well as groups like the European Union, are also invited.
A State Department official told FoxNews.com this week that the meeting is meant to combat intolerance while being "fully consistent with freedom of expression."
A key worry is that the meeting could become a platform for Islamic governments to push for hate-speech laws which, in their most virulent and fundamentalist form, criminalize what they perceive as blasphemy...