Silenced? Are Global Trends to Ban Religious Defamation, Religious Insult, and Islamophobia a New Challenge to First Amendment Freedoms?
November 4, 2011, 9:00 - 2:00 PM - Washington, D.C. Area
Are Global Trends to Ban Religious Defamation, Religious Insult, and Islamophobia a New Challenge to First Amendment Freedoms?
Sponsored by the Federalist Society
Cannon Caucus Room
Cannon House Office Building
Independence Avenue and First Streets, S.E.
Friday, November 4, 2011
9:30am – 2:00 pm
SPEAKERS: Danish Member of Parliament Naser Khader, author of While Europe Slept; Bruce Bawer, Silenced authors Nina Shea and Paul Marshall, UK Barrister and defense attorney Paul Diamond, European human rights lawyer Jacob Mchangama, Australian author Mark Durie, Ahmadi lawyer Amjad Khan, Pakistan legal analyst Professor David Forte, U.S. Constitutional Rights expert David Rivkin and others.
The 1989 fatwa against Salman Rushdie and the deadly 2006 Danish cartoon riots brought worldwide attention to the issue of Muslim blasphemy bans. Though these events made global headlines, they are only one aspect of the debate about blasphemy bans in recent times. Charges such as "blasphemy," "apostasy," or "insulting Islam" are no longer limited to censoring irreverent caricatures of Islam's prophet, Mohammed. Some maintain that: they are increasingly used as tools by authoritarian governments and others to influence behavior and acquire power.
The West is also now experiencing a move toward new blasphemy standards through bans on "hate speech," "the stereotyping of Islam," and charges of "Islamophobia." The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) within the United Nations and in the European Union has been a visible proponent of hate speech restrictions and other measures. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that the U.S. government will sponsor a conference with the OIC on how to implement a U.N. resolution combating "negative stereotyping" of Islam, the focus of a recent U.N. resolution. The OIC conference is expected to take place in December in Washington, DC.
Our conference speakers addressed the prevalence of trends concerning hate speech and blasphemy laws, and whether they pose a serious threat to the freedoms of citizens of the West, including Muslims, as well as people in OIC member states.
Our conference coincided with the release of Paul Marshall and Nina Shea's book, Silenced (Oxford University Press - Foreword by late Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid).
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