Chapter

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

John B Bellinger III and Murad Hussain

in Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641444
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741104 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641444.003.0010
Freedom of Speech: The Great Divide and the Common Ground between the United States and the Rest of the World

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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

Chapter.  6630 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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