The renowned Nat Hentoff writes on the Islamic bloc’s war against free speech. “A free speech killer,” in the Washington Times, February 2 (thanks to all who sent this in):
On Inauguration Day, after it got the United Nations to pass a gag rule on insulting religions, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) told our new president in a New York Times ad that Muslims “have compelling strategic and moral reasons to cooperate and peacefully coexist with the United States in particular, and with the West in general.”
Many Muslims here and elsewhere want that partnership; but some, jihadists in the name of Islam, disagree violently. In its address to our new president, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (which has permanent status at the United Nations) made no mention of its own strategic skills that resulted, on Dec. 18, in the passage by the U.N. General Assembly of a nonbinding resolution (with strong advice to its members) that condemns “defamation of religion,” especially Islam.
In an 83 to 53 vote, with 42 abstentions, the U.N. General Assembly urged nations to provide “adequate protections” in their laws or constitutions against “acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred in general.”
Only Islam and Muslims are specifically named in this resolution against religious defamation, sponsored by Uganda on behalf of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, and cosponsored by Belarus and Venezuela. Opponents included the United States, a majority of European countries, Japan and India.
Those in favor said they do not want to limit free speech but do intend to stop such expressions as the 2005 Danish cartoons disrespecting the Prophet Muhammad that ignited violent protests by Muslims around the world.
Among the opponents, including myself, of this U.N. move to have its members legislate, with penalties, against such very broadly designated “religious defamation” is Floyd Abrams, the nation’s leading protector of the First Amendment in the Supreme Court and in his writings. In his Dec. 9 lecture on global communications, issues at the United Nations itself in New York, he cited a recent study by the European Center for Law and Justice finding “that laws based on the concept of ‘defamation of religion’ actually help to create a climate of violence.”…
If the U.N. resolution became international law, the First Amendment would still protect opponents here, but think of the bloody impact on “defamers” around the world.
I hope the First Amendment is still that strong and protected against loopholes.
Read it all.