A U.S. State Department summit with more than two dozen world governments, including several Muslim nations, has come under fire from free speech and religious rights advocates.
Critics say the Obama administration is bowing to Islamic fundamentalists who want to criminalize criticism of Islam.
U.S. officials say the goal of the three-day meeting is to find ways to fight religious intolerance through education and understanding.
**Frank Gaffney, founder of the American Center for Security Policy, offered his insights on the matter on the CBN News Channel's Morning News, Dec. 14.**
They are rejecting any demands from Arab states and other countries that want restrictions on free speech.
"We know that some people distort various religious doctrines to justify intolerance, foment violence, or create strife that serves their narrow political purposes," said Suzan Johnson Cook, U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.
Cook said offensive speech ought to be denounced but that "religion must never be used as an excuse to stifle freedom of expression."
For 12 years, members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC, sought support for a "defamation of religions" resolution in the United Nations.
This year, the OIC dropped the defamation language in exchange for promises from the U.S. and the West to fight intolerance while protecting free speech.
Religious freedom advocates say the OIC is not to be trusted.
"My question is why is the U.S. government cooperating with this reactionary organization whose leading members put people to death or imprison those who criticize Islam or imprison them," said Paul Marshall, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.
Leaders from the European Union and other Western nations are also attending the summit this week.