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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4 thoughts on “Muslim and African Countries Push for Limiting Free Speech to Prevent Criticism of Religion”
That is a very impressive and sound description of the problem.
The Nigerian proposal is dangerous not only because it seeks to insulate religion from critical comment, but because it is symptomatic of a more fundamental ideology, the growing belief that freedom of speech must yield to sensibilities of every sort, whether they be religious, cultural, ethnic or governmental. Since freedom of speech is not properly understood in much of the world as the foundation of personal freedom, it is critically important that the United States serve as an example of its importance and oppose all efforts at curtailment. That means that thoughtful Americans must resist the trend in our own country to criminalize speech, even or especially speech intended to denigrate or foment hatred. The common law of libel and slander remain available and effective weapons against the excesses that occasionally accompany the exercise of this right.
Tolerance is not equivalent to suppression. Saudi Arabia talks tolerance, but walks suppression. Hatred and religious intolerance breeds hatred and religious intolerance, especially when you take the position that God is EXCLUSIVELY on YOUR side and no one else’s (pay attention Fundamentalist Christians, this applies to you too). So to you Saudi Arabia, our “ally” that attacked us on 9/11, when the oil runs out, enjoy your desert. I’ll enjoy my sandwich. And, oh yes, Islam STILL sucks as much as ANY religion (including my own), so get a clue and a sense of humor about yourselves, you self-important hateful backward misogynistic retrograde intolerant terrorist pricks. Before you force the rest of the world to take action against you. Or not. Your choice. But action will be taken eventually. Just pray to Allah that you learn that lesson before you learn the lesson that sand makes glass when exposed to extreme temperatures.
Sounds like a Bush administration tactic! I am reading James Bamford’s latest book on the warrantless wiretapping and it seems that some of the best customers for wiretappng software and hardware are countries in the Middle East and Africa. Of course the companies who are selling this equiptment sold them first to the NSA. This curtailment of Free Speech in order to prevent mere criticism of religion is ridiculous. If a religion cannot handle some criticism, why should anyone believe its tenets?
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