President Clinton Will Not Use UN Resolution 16/18 to Put Critics of Islam in Jail

“The Muslim Brotherhood has taken over the White House.” CIA director William Brennan converted to Islam. Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett is a Communist. “‘Islamophobia’ was created by IIIT,” the Islamic Institute for Islamic Thought, as a weapon to take away First Amendment rights. I could spend weeks tracking down, documenting, and rebutting every false claim and red herring proferred by Ron Branstner during his Two-Hours Hate in Aberdeen on Thursday, August 11. But then I’d be writing an ugly inverse image of the Trumpy/Breitbarty distractions spewed by Bob Ellis, Gordon Howie, and Steve Sibson. I don’t want to spend all day batting at fantasies. I want to write about real policy issues in South Dakota, practical problems.

But I will exert myself on one more nagging bit of arcane nuttiness from Ron Branstner, just to make clear that Ron Branstner twists the truth.

Toward the end of his disjointed jumble of rageful assertions Thursday, Branstner offered a statement that he called his “big daddy”:

Hillary Clinton in 2011—you guys are going to get a lick out of this—she signed with the United Nations Resolution 16/18—bet you never heard of that before, did you? She signed 16.18 which means if she gets into office, she signed it at the United Nations level, the international level, that if anybody says anything against Islam, you will be thrown in jail. She signed it at the international level. Resolution 16/18 [Ron Branstner, anti-immigrant/anti-Islam presentation, Aberdeen, South Dakota, 2016.08.11].

Read the text of UN Resolution 16/18. This resolution does not depend on the election of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; it is already in effect. If it intended and had the power to place critics of Islam in jail, Ron and I would already be cuffed and stuffed.

But UN Resolution 16/18 doesn’t call for putting critics of any religion in jail. 16/18 “recognizes that the open public debate of ideas, as well as interfaith and intercultural dialogue at the local national and international levels can be among the best protections against religious intolerance….” The only suggestion of jail time comes in 16/18’s support for “adopting measure to criminalize incitement to violence based on religion or belief.”

The United States actually successfully fought to remove from 16/18 language that Muslim countries wanted to support blasphemy and defamation laws. Secretary Clinton explicitly disavowed laws against “defamation of religions” when she signed 16/18:

The United States strongly supports today’s resolution, which rejects the broad prohibitions on speech called for in the former “defamation of religions” resolution, and supports approaches that do not limit freedom of expression or infringe on the freedom of religion [Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, statement, 2011.03.24].

Now there is certainly an argument that some Muslim countries interpret 16/18 to still allow blasphemy laws. Some Muslims take the position that because calling their prophet names or displaying a cartoon of him may incite faithful Muslims to violence, the speaker or drawer deserves to be punished. The United States takes the position that, no, if Charlie Hebdo mocks Mohammed with a drawing and Muslims start shooting, the crime is on the killers, not Charlie Hebdo. (Radical Islamic theocrats sound like Pat Powers, who says I was inciting a riot by responding to Branstner’s fantastic lies with local facts.)

UN Resolution 16/18 did not remove blasphemy laws from the books in certain Muslim countries. But 16/18 did not signal American support for blasphemy laws, and it does not empower President Obama or President Clinton to put Ron Branstner in jail for talking smack about Islam or spreading any of his lies.