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ICANN blocks .islam after government veto

Kevin Murphy, October 8, 2018, 11:29:05 (UTC), Domain Policy

After six years, ICANN has finally killed off the applications for the new gTLDs .islam and .halal, due to objections from several governments.

It has also rejected the application for .persiangulf from the same applicant.

The decisions were made by the ICANN board of directors last Wednesday. The resolutions were published Friday night.

The board said: “it is apparent that the vast majority of the Muslim community (more than 1.6 billion members) object to the applications for .HALAL and .ISLAM.”

This actually means that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the 57-nation treaty group with a combined 1.6 billion nominal Muslim citizens, objected to the applications.

Several governments with large Muslim populations — including the UAE, Malaysia, Turkey, India and Iran — had also individually told ICANN on the record that they were not happy.

The view from these governments seemed to be that if there’s going to be a .islam, it should be run under the umbrella of a group such as the OIC, rather than some random tuppenny ha’penny gTLD registry.

In Christianity, the comparable gTLD .catholic is run by an affiliate of the world’s oldest pedophile ring, while .bible is being run as a propaganda tool by a group of sexually repressed, homophobic American evangelicals.

The ICANN board said its decision to reject .islam and .halal was in tune with its “core values” to protect the “public interest”.

The decision was based “on its consideration of and commitment to ICANN’s Mission and core values set forth in the Bylaws, including ensuring that this decision is in the best interest of the Internet community and that it respects the concerns raised by the majority of the community most impacted by the proposed .HALAL and .ISLAM gTLDs”.

It’s been avoiding making this decision since at least December 2013.

But it has now voted that the two applications “should not proceed”. It does not appear to have banned organizations from applying for the strings in subsequent application rounds.

The applicant for .islam and .halal was Turkey-based Asia Green IT System. It applications have been “on-hold” since the GAC issued non-consensus advice against them back in April 2013.

The OIC filed Community Objections against both gTLDs with the International Chamber of Commerce, but failed on both counts.

Having failed to see any progress, in December 2015, AGIT filed an Independent Review Process appeal against its treatment by ICANN, and won.

The November 2017 IRP decision held that the “on-hold” status was a “new policy”, unilaterally put in place by ICANN Org, that unfairly condemned AGIT’s applications to indefinite limbo.

The panel ordered ICANN to make its damn mind up one way or the other and pay about $270,000 in costs.

While rejecting the applications may not seem unreasonable, it’s an important example of a minority group of governments getting an essential veto over a gTLD.

Under the rules of the 2012 application round, consensus GAC advice against an application is enough to kill it stone dead.

But the GAC had merely said (pdf):

The GAC recognizes that Religious terms are sensitive issues. Some GAC members have raised sensitivities on the applications that relate to Islamic terms, specifically .islam and .halal. The GAC members concerned have noted that the applications for .islam and .halal lack community involvement and support. It is the view of these GAC members that these applications should not proceed.

That’s non-consensus advice, which is expected to initiate bilateral engagement with ICANN’s board before a decision is made.

In the case of .persiangulf, also applied for by AGIT and also now rejected, the GAC didn’t even give non-consensus advice.

In fact, in its July 2013 Durban communique (pdf) is explicitly stated it “does not object to them proceeding”.

This appears to have been a not atypical GAC screw-up. The minutes of the Durban meeting, published months later, showed that the Gulf Cooperation Council states had in fact objected — there’s a bit of a dispute in that part of the world about whether it’s the “Persian Gulf” or “Arabian Gulf” — so the GAC would have been within its rights to publish non-consensus advice.

This all came out when the GCC filed its own IRP against ICANN, which it won.

The IRP panel in that case ordered ICANN to outright reject .persiangulf. Two years later, it now has.

While the three gTLDs in question are now going into “Will Not Proceed” status, that may not be the end of the story. One “Will Not Proceed” applicant, DotConnectAfrica, has taken ICANN to court in the US over its .africa application.

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Comments (20)

  1. mxb says:

    Mister Murphy,

    This article should not be intended to make antireligious and offensive remarks towards the Catholic community.

    Your words are as shameful as they are hateful.

    Maxime

  2. Clement says:

    Hello Kevin, I appreciate your work but I don’t understand your parallel with Catholicism. Everywhere various facts appear, which does not allow us to draw up theories, whether on the side of Muslims or Catholics. The question here is that of the delegation of a TLD, nothing else. Let’s leave the religious fights to others…

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Allow me to explain.

      .islam is not being allowed, because ICANN has decided — after over five years — that perhaps the applicant for .islam is not the best outfit to run it.

      But ICANN is perfectly happy to allow an organization affiliated with the world’s oldest pedophile ring to run .catholic

      Likewise, ICANN is quite happy to have .bible delegated to a bunch of sexually repressed, homophobic propagandists.

      This is entirely about who gets gTLDs delegated to them.

      Do you get it now?

  3. Paul Foody says:

    “In Christianity, the comparable gTLD .catholic is run by an affiliate of the world’s oldest pedophile ring”

    “This article doesn’t say anything about the Catholic community.”

    At least mxb is paying attention to what you’re writing coz your reference to “affiliate” pretty much proves your knowledge of the .catholic gtld registrant when you wrote this otherwise informative piece.

      • Paul says:

        Having reviewed the various definitions of “affiliate”, using your link, the word “official” appears way too frequently for me, as a ‘catholic’, to believe you don’t need to issue a speedy retraction & apology.

        That said, should the piece remain as is & the Catholic Church knowingly take no action against it, finally terminating my already frayed relationship with Catholicism, in order to act by Christ, would be made so much easier!

        Who knows? Maybe I’ll owe you a beer next time I see you!

  4. Paul Foody says:

    You might also reconsider your .bible opinion.

  5. TK says:

    Paragraph 8 has just made my day 🙂

  6. Bill Clean says:

    Thought you were a better reporter than this. Perhaps you should look at where your anger originates and free yourself from it?

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