Algeria — that ray of light for civil liberties — is pushing its plan to take its own limitations on free speech global with a proposal to ban criticism of religion as a form of discrimination. The proposal before the United Nations is being supported by Muslim and African nations.
As previously discussed here, there is a coordinated international campaign to make criticism of religion an international offense as it is in repressive countries like Iran and Sudan. Even U.N. officials have endorsed the idea, which would destroy the very foundation of free speech.
This is merely an “anti-blasphemy law” dressed up to look like an anti-discrimination law. However, civil libertarians need to take this effort seriously. Even if extremists cannot get it through the United Nations, it can find different forms of expression in UN organizations and serve as a model for domestic legislation. We need a resolution that expressly protects criticism of religion as a basic guarantee of free speech.
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