Regarding Defamation of Religions

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Sep 28, 2009 5:50 PM

As World Magazine has noted, Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN's Human Rights Commission, Ken Blackwell, delivered an excellent speech in Mexico City last week on “Defamation of Religions”. 

Following is an excerpt:

The [Organisation of the Islamic Conference, a collection of 56 Muslim-majority countries that first proposed a "Defamation of Islam" UN resolution in 1999,]  has stated its main complaint is the stereotyping of Muslims around the world, especially post-9/11. Although the grievance of harmful stereotyping of Muslims as ideological extremists is sincere and factual, the current effort by the OIC to alleviate religious stereotyping with an international legal protection against the “defamation of religions” is misplaced and counter-productive. Conceptually, the claim of “defamation of religions” is inadequate as a legal cause of action. Traditional defamation laws are meant to protect individuals from false truth claims and do not extend to the protection of ideas, philosophies, or religions. Therefore, “defamation of religions” turns the purpose of defamation laws on its head. Human rights are also meant to protect individual persons only. Not only do “defamation of religions” laws fail to protect individuals, but they are also used to harass individuals. Unfortunately, the vague notion of “defamation of religions” laws allows government to use such laws to suppress minority religious individuals and voices of dissent.


The symposium was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (for which a family member of mine now consults).

You can download the entire pdf by clicking here).