Two separate ICC panels have denied the objections to the new gTLD’s .Islam and .Halal finding that although there “opposition to Respondent’s application to some extent, but such opposition is not substantial”.Although they were two separate opinions both shares a lot of the same finding and drew the same conclusions:
Here are the relevant parts of the decision:
The Expert observes that only the Objector has filed an objection against Respondent’s application. No other individual, organization or country – whether member of the OIC or not – has opposed Respondent’s application within ICANN’s relevant channel.
Some countries – such as India and Saudi Arabia – inquired about Respondent’s application and raised some early concerns in this regard.
However, since such countries neither filed a separate objection nor subscribed that of the Objector, the Expert can draw the conclusion that they finally did not officially back a community objection to Respondent’s application. In fact, in Procedural Order No. 2 the Objector was instructed to submit additional letters of support but did not submit letters from these two countries. This is highly indicative of their lack of official support to the Objector’s community objection.
The Objector filed with the Reply letters of support from governmental agencies of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Oman, Turkey and Malaysia, as well as from the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The Gulf Cooperation Council is composed of the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.
Therefore, the Gulf Cooperation Council would only add to the list of supporting countries, at best, Saudi Arabia. However, the Expert has previously found in ¶ 101 above that the opposition of Saudi Arabia has not been evidenced. Consequently, the Objector has only evidenced support from 8 countries (including itself and excluding Saudi Arabia) out of a total of 57 which form the OIC. 103. Furthermore, the Objector has referred to around one hundred comments to Respondent’s application of which, allegedly, the majority are against such application. However, no evidence of such comments has been provided to the Expert and thus the Objector has failed to meet its burden of proof in this regard.
In accordance with the foregoing, the Expert finds that the “[n]umber of expressions of opposition relative to the composition of the community”, which is the first factor in the “substantial opposition” subsection of Article 3.5.4 of the Guidebook, favors Respondent’s position. More