Peter Glover describes explains how a "powerful bloc of 57 Islamic states is again pushing for the UN to make it a criminal offense to criticise or 'defame' Islam." He writes:
The resolution deems offending Islamic sensitivities a "serious affront to human dignity" which could lead to "social disharmony", "violations of human rights" and "incitement to religious hatred in general and against Islam in particular". If passed, the resulting binding resolution would find its way into various UN documents all of which would require that UN member states at "local, national and international levels" start restricting the free speech of citizens to prevent public criticism of religious beliefs, particularly Islamic belief.
Norm Geras responds:
Nobody can be obliged to respect a belief or set of beliefs, and once they are so obliged their freedom of thought has been severely compromised and thereby one of their fundamental human rights.
We must be free to criticize and, yes, lampoon, mock, ridicule, defame, religion or any other type of belief. The fact, consequently, that the Human Rights Council of the UN - supposed to be an international guardian of human rights - should support a resolution like this does not strengthen the cause of human rights but merely serves further to discredit that Council itself. There's some risk, indeed, that the very notion of a human right may come to be more easily dismissed by some when it is invoked to protect against mere criticism of beliefs.
Amen. Or we could all become that zone of unfree speech, Canada. (Hat tip: Lexington)
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.