Thousands sign Right to Believe petition
More than 20,000 people have signed a petition expressing support for millions of believers around the world who are denied the right to practice their faith.
The Right to Believe petition has been launched by Open Doors, which supports persecuted Christians worldwide.
It opposes efforts by an Islamic organisation to win the right for governments to choose which religious views are permissable in their country.
The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is again introducing the Defamation of Religions Resolution in the United Nations this year.
Open Doors believes the terms of the resolution impose substantial limits on the freedom of individuals to express their religious beliefs. It would also criminalise defamation of a particular religion, but Islam in particular.
The organisation said that persecuted Christians were looking to believers in countries with religious liberty to “walk with them ... on our knees in prayer and on our feet in action”.
A similar resolution by the OIC was adopted by the UN last year amid fierce opposition from rights groups but Open Doors believes that the resolution could be defeated this year if opposition is strong enough.
A spokesperson for Open Doors said the petition would be handed over to a UN representative in December.
The petition declares the right of individuals to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as the freedom to change their beliefs and manifest their religion.