UN Resolution on Islamophobia: A One-Sided Approach

GS-2 Mains 

Question : What criticisms have been raised regarding the UN resolution on combatting Islamophobia, and what alternative proposals have been suggested to address religious intolerance more inclusively?


  • In 2022, Pakistan initiated a resolution at the UN for an “International Day to Combat Islamophobia”.
  • The resolution passed, establishing March 15th for this purpose.

History of Islamophobia

  • The term “Islamophobia” originated in the 1920s by French colonial officials.
  • It gained traction as a political tool by Islamists in the 1980s.
  • Islamists have used the concept to justify violence against those they deem critical of Islam.

Pakistan’s Demands

  • Pakistan successfully lobbied for a UN special envoy to combat Islamophobia.
  • This envoy received a significant budgetary allocation.

Criticisms of the Resolution

  • The UN disregards discrimination against non-Abrahamic religions.
  • India argues for a broader resolution encompassing all religious discrimination.
    • Examples include anti-Semitism, Christianophobia, anti-Hinduism, etc.
  • The UN already has an “International Day of Tolerance” on November 16th.
    • The concept of religious pluralism is absent from the Islamophobia resolution.

Pakistan’s Record on Religious Freedom

  • Pakistan has a history of persecuting religious minorities.
    • Examples include Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Ahmadiyya, and Baha’i.

Alternative Proposals

  • India and others proposed a broader resolution against all religious intolerance.
  • Belgium suggested condemning attacks on all religious sites and shrines.
  • A proposal was made to utilize the existing focal point against antisemitism for Islamophobia as well.
  • These proposals were opposed by Pakistan and several Islamic countries.


  • The UN resolution focuses solely on Islamophobia, neglecting discrimination against other religions.
  • A more inclusive approach is needed to combat all forms of religious intolerance.



The Government’s Fact Checking Unit: Threat to Free Speech?

GS-2 Mains : Polity 

Question : What are the potential implications of the Government’s proposed Fact Checking Unit (FCU) on free speech, and what existing mechanisms in India address concerns about fake news?


  • Ministry of IT and Electronics proposed a Fact Checking Unit (FCU) to censor online content critical of the government.
  • A court order has stayed the implementation of the FCU.

Why the FCU Raises Concerns

  • The FCU gives the government power to censor online content.
  • Unclear definitions of “fake”, “misleading”, and “false” create ambiguity.
  • Social media platforms would be forced to take down content flagged by the FCU.

What is Fake News?

  • Fake news is deliberately fabricated news intended to mislead readers.
  • It can be used to influence public opinion, promote agendas, or generate profit.

Existing Mechanisms to Address Fake News

  • Indian Broadcast Foundation (IBF): Monitors content aired by news channels.
  • Press Council of India: Investigates and addresses complaints about fake news in print media.
  • IPC Sections 153A & 295: Legal action for hate speech spread through fake news.
  • Broadcasting Content Complaint Council (BCCC): Handles complaints about objectionable TV content and fake news.
  • Defamation Laws: Legal recourse for individuals harmed by false information.
  • Information Technology (IT) Act: Allows removal of objectionable content upon request from law enforcement.
  • Contempt of Court Laws: Protects against false reporting on judicial proceedings.

Concerns About Timing

  • The FCU push comes close to elections, raising concerns about stifling dissent.
  • It potentially violates Article 19 of the Constitution (right to free speech).
  • Open debate and contestation of ideas are crucial in a democracy.


  • The government’s attempt to control online content through the FCU undermines free speech.
  • As Justice Patel stated, the government cannot be the arbiter of truth and silence dissenting voices.

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