When the alliance of fifty-six Islamic states complained to Ms. Arbour in 2005 about the cartoons in a Danish newspaper that they deemed blasphemous—and which eventually served as grounds for bloody riots—she reportedly instructed the UN experts on racism and religion to follow up on their complaint.

“I would like to emphasize that I deplore any statement or act showing a lack of respect towards other people’s religion,” Arbour wrote to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, according to Denmark’s Berlingske Tidende. In her letter, Arbour reportedly directed the UN experts on religious freedom and racism to investigate the matter, saying, “I’m confident that they will take action in an adequate manner.” A diplomat from one of the Islamic countries told the newspaper that the governments were pleased with Ms. Arbour’s answer.



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