UN rights body approves US-Egypt free speech text

Obama’s “outreach” delusions cause serious damage to Freedom of Speech:


You can have any opinion as long as its Islamic. You can have freedom of expression, but…


GENEVA — The U.N. Human Rights Council approved a U.S.-backed resolution Friday deploring attacks on religions while insisting that freedom of expression remains a basic right.

The inaugural resolution sponsored by the U.S. since it joined the council in June broke a long-running deadlock between Western and Islamic countries in the wake of the publication of cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

The resolution has no effect in law but provides Muslim countries with moral ammunition the next time they feel central tenets of Islam are being ridiculed by Western politicians or media through “negative racial and religious stereotyping.”

American diplomats say the measure — co-sponsored by Egypt — is part of the Obama administration’s effort to reach out to Muslim countries.

“The exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression is one of the essential foundations of a democratic society,” the resolution states, urging countries to protect free speech by lifting legal restrictions, ensuring the safety of journalists, promoting literacy and preventing media concentration.

Rights groups cautiously welcomed the resolution as an improvement on earlier drafts, but said Egypt was in no position to lecture other countries about free speech as it has a poor record on the matter.

“Egypt’s cosponsorship of the resolution on freedom of expression is not the result of a real commitment to upholding freedom of expression,” said Jeremie Smith, Geneva director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.

“If this were the case, freedom of expression would not be systematically violated on a daily basis in Egypt,” he said.

Others warned that the resolution appears to protect religions rather than believers and encourages journalists to abide by ill-defined codes of conduct.

“Unfortunately, the text talks about negative racial and religious stereotyping, something which most free expression and human rights organizations will oppose,” said Agnes Callamard, executive director of London-based group Article 19.

“The equality of all ideas and convictions before the law and the right to debate them freely is the keystone of democracy,” she said.

Although the resolution was passed unanimously, European and developing countries made it clear that they remain at odds on the issue of protecting religions from criticism.

Some Asian and African countries had called for stronger condemnation of articles, cartoons and videos they believe defames Islam.


U.S. consponsors anti-free speech resolution at the UN

Update from JW:

Free speech death watch. The U.N. Human Rights Council approved the resolution, cosponsored by the U.S. and Egypt, yesterday.

It calls on states to condemn and criminalize “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.” It also condemns “negative stereotyping of religions and racial groups,” which is of course an oblique reference to accurate reporting about the jihad doctrine and Islamic supremacism — which is always the focus of whining by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and other groups about negative “stereotyping” of Islam. They never say anything when people like Osama bin Laden and Khaled Sheikh Mohammed issue detailed Koranic expositions justifying violence and hatred; but when people like Geert Wilders and others report about such expositions, that’s “negative stereotyping.”

And the worst aspect of this and all such measures is that the “Incitement” and the “hatred” are in the eye of the beholder. The powerful can decide to silence the powerless by classifying their views as hate speech. The Founding Fathers tried to protect Americans from tyranny by protecting free speech. Now our free speech is threatened, and tyranny will take advantage of that. But we still have the First Amendment, right? Eugene Volokh, in an excellent analysis of the resolution, explains why it isn’t that easy to dismiss this:

6. But why the fuss, some might ask, if we’re protected by the First Amendment? First, if the U.S. backs a resolution that urges the suppression of some speech, presumably we are taking the view that all countries — including the U.S. — should adhere to this resolution. If we are constitutionally barred from adhering to it by our domestic constitution, then we’re implicitly criticizing that constitution, and committing ourselves to do what we can to change it.
So to be consistent with our position here, the Administration would presumably have to take what steps it can to ensure that supposed “hate speech” that incites hostility will indeed be punished. It would presumably be committed to filing amicus briefs supporting changes in First Amendment law to allow such punishment, and in principle perhaps the appointment of Justices who would endorse such changes (or even the proposal of express constitutional amendments that would work such changes).

The Resolution seems to have been originally introduced in 2005. Does that mean that in 2005 the American government decided that such a resolution made sense? It is unclear to me what the chronology of things is here. But whenever it was introduced, and by whom, the resolution itself, is disgusting, unspeakable, and dangerous.

Who thought it would be a good idea for the Americans to cosponsor such a resolution with Egypt, a world center of antisemitism (with the Protocols and Mein Kampf in Arabic not merely available, but taken deeply to heart by some with no attempt, in the official media, to attack antisemitism — of the Islamic or the European kind, or that Special Blend of the two that is available, and for free, all over the Arab lands), and with those Protocols even serving as the basis for a well-known Egyptian television serial).

One more thing. Here is a phrase from Eugene Volokh’s article that is unwittingly telling:

“…advocacy of mere hostility — for instance advocacy that people should hate and be hostile to radical strains of Islam (and its adherents), or to Scientology, or to Catholicism, or to fundamentalist Christianity, or for that matter to religion generally — is clearly constitutionally protected here in the U.S.; but the resolution seems to call for its prohibition.”

Note that in the list that Volokh offers, of hypothetical objects of hostility and hate, he has “radical strains of Islam (and its adherents), or to Scientology, or to Catholicism, or to fundamentalist Christianity.”

So he can’t even bring himself to list Islam tout court, as he has no trouble doing, I note, with Catholicism. A braver version would have been to write:

“should hate and be hostile to Islam, to Scientology, to Catholicism.”..etc.

Or is Catholicism, subliminally, regarded as on a par only with “radical strains” of Islam.

And what exactly are those “radical strains” of Islam, what texts do they rely on, and how do those texts differ in any way from those used in orthodox Islam? Is it possible that “radical Islam” is merely Islam that has been unmodified, tamed, nuanced, worn down, by practical considerations, by perceived weakness, by a local tradition of not being fully observant Muslims, but rather of being syncretistic (parts of sub-Saharan Africa), or relaxed or quasi-lapsed Muslims, while those described as “radical strains” of Islam are merely Islam itself, unmodified?

Volokh should examine his phrase here, and tell us exactly what defines “radical Islam” so we may understand what it is about Islam itself that is, in his view, so apparently acceptable.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eugene-volokh/is-the-obama-administrati_b_307132.html

3 thoughts on “UN rights body approves US-Egypt free speech text”

  1. Dismantle the U.N.
    this resolution will only contribute to further islamization
    of the organization.
    it is discrimination of Religion and a double standard.
    The U.N. outlived its purpose a long time ago.

  2. I am not concerned about this ruling in the least.
    It will not affect my opinions of Islam because Islam is not a religion.
    Islam is a totalitarian ideology and not a religion.
    Christianity is a religion as is Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.
    You cannot make defamatory remarks against those religions. But you can criticize, using the truth, about an ideology like Scientology or cults or social/political/religious ideologies such as Islam because they are not true religions. That, according to Geert Wilders, Muslims against Sharia, and many more, is the truth. And I am sure I would be backed up in any court of law on those legal precepts.
    Good luck in your case Mr. Wilders, and God bless!

  3. al-Kidya, you must be confusing us with someone else. We never said Islam is not a religion. On the contrary, we always make the point of distinguishing Islam, a religion, from Islamism, a political ideology.

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