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Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law$
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Anver M. Emon, Mark Ellis, and Benjamin Glahn

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641444.001.0001

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Freedom of Speech: The Great Divide and the Common Ground between the United States and the Rest of the World

Freedom of Speech: The Great Divide and the Common Ground between the United States and the Rest of the World

Chapter:
(p.168) 9 Freedom of Speech: The Great Divide and the Common Ground between the United States and the Rest of the World
Source:
Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law
Author(s):

John B Bellinger III

Murad Hussain

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641444.003.0010

The tension between Western views on open discourse and Islamic views on taboo subjects has been echoed in the United Nations. Over the last decade, the Organization of the Islamic Conference annually sponsored successful resolutions in the UN General Assembly, Commission on Human Rights, and Human Rights Council condemning ‘defamation of religion’ and stereotyping of Islam. By focusing on insulating beliefs from criticism instead of protecting the rights of individual believers, the resolutions drew heavy opposition from the United States and the European Union, out of concern for giving international legitimacy to state-sanctioned persecution of religious minorities, suppression of public discourse, and pursuit of personal and political vendettas in the name of defending the faith. This chapter discusses freedom of speech under the US Constitution; freedom of speech under European law; freedom of speech under international law; freedom of speech versus ‘defamation of religion’; and the possible emergence of common ground on freedom of speech between the United States and the rest of the world.

Keywords:   European law, US Constitution, international law, freedom of speech, defamation of religion, Islamic law

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