UN: Thou Shalt Not Blaspheme

This one has been doing the rounds a bit, but I thought it was worth mentioning here.   It seems there are disturbing moves afoot at the UN – that great bastion of freedom and democracy – for a binding resolution against “blasphemy”… wait, did I say “bastion of?”  I meant something else.

It’s aim is basically to curtail speech that offends religion – Islam, in particular (yet again, it’s people demanding their right to not be offended… I find the UN offensive – can we ban it?)

We already have anti-vilification laws in this country.  This anti-blasphemy resolution would be even worse.  The video is 10 minutes long, but do watch it.

[Via Tim Blair, via LGF]

8 thoughts on “UN: Thou Shalt Not Blaspheme

  1. If you take this far enough, the existence of the state of Israel is an insult, since the Bible and its’ prophecies of Jews returning to claim their lands have all been superceded by the Qoran. even if you don’t call for a war to exterminate this Zionist entity, you should at least never use the name again!

  2. A response to this from a much more knowledgable person on Reddit:

    “Since I find Lou Dobbs to be generally misinformed (or uninformed) about international law, his reaction in this video comes as no surprise–I could have guessed what he was going to say before watching and still be pretty close to the mark. I’m further confused by the choice of Christopher Hitchens for the commentary. Heck, there are 500+ attorney members of the ABA’s Section of International Law: UN & International Institutions Coordinating Committee (of which I’m a member and yes, it’s a mouthful) that I am sure would be glad to consult Dobbs and Hitchens on these types of matters. I’m a zealous advocate for the First Amendment and an atheist, but I cannot sit idly as Lou Dobbs is spewing misinformation.

    First, the United Nations is not a transnational legislative body in any manner, as it is described by Dobbs in the video. The language in the provisions of the United Nations Charter is promotional and pragmatic in character. No Articles have any language of obligation, only that the Member States will “pledge themselves” to action “for the achievement” of promoting the observance of human rights. (Arts. 1(3), 13(1) of the U.N. Charter) Even the resolutions passed by the General Assembly called “binding” resolutions do not have per se legally binding effect. However, they might provide evidence of international consensus, but that alone does not create a binding effect. Furthermore, our status as a signatory to the Charter cannot be used to leverage a treaty obligation, as state consent is necessary under customary international law.

    Second, it seems problematic that Dobbs uses the words ‘blasphemy’ and ‘defamation’ interchangeably but as far as legal effect goes, they have completely different meanings. I’m fairly certain a law criminalizing blasphemy would be unconstitutional on its face, as a violation of both the Free Speech and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. However, defamation as defined as slander or libel could possibly be justiciable in U.S. courts, regardless of any relevant U.N. Resolutions.”

  3. Filipe, so what’s your point? If the UN obliges ‘the Member States will “pledge themselves” to action “for the achievement” of promoting the observance of human rights. (Arts. 1(3), 13(1) of the U.N. Charter)’ then the UN should be upholding the right to critcise religion, even if it’s done in an offensive way. After all, freedom of speech is a fundamental human right.

    All you’re saying is 1. international law isn’t really ‘law’, it’s a forum for discussion, and 2. the UN doesn’t understand what human rights are about. Well, I agree with you on both those points.

  4. I’m, not a lawyer but I suspect Felipe has a point pragmatically speaking.

    Who cares what the UN says – if they make it illegal to criticise Islam, only the Islamic states will adopt this in their law (it’s already part of Sharia anyway law I think)

  5. I care what the UN says. Many of the idiots I know think the UN is important and authoritative. So those idiot would think the blasphemy resolution something to take note of.

  6. papachango; I have my doubts that only Islamic nations will accept it. In many countries Islamic populations are reaching 5-10% of the population, especially in Europe and thus can be considered a constituency in a political sense. A president or PM or even an opposition leader would look at what might swing that volume of votes in his direction, and think it might be worth signing off on such a resolution. I do not have much confidence in politicians being principled where the chance of actual power is concerned.

    There is an interesting Youtube video here.

    The characters Fariborz Pooya and Bahram Soroush are from The Iranian Secular Society and Council of Ex-Muslims, and have an interesting take on the anti-liberty agenda in another article I found which is a transcript of an International TV interview, “Mayor of London, political Islam and us.”

    All this fits into an ideology which justifies all these attempts – as if society is based not on citizens, but on groups of people belonging to various religions and tribes. So women who have escaped from Islamist societies should be treated according to the laws in place in those societies; and apparently they can never get out of that label. What people like the Mayor of London are doing is working within that context. What they are revamping is a movement which is fascistic, ultra right-wing, inhumane and undemocratic in every sense.

    Fariborz Pooya: Ken Livingstone’s report represents a bowing to the Islamic movement. I think its essence is a retreat from civilized standards and universal rights. In the philosophy of Ken Livingstone, which is shared by Bush, Paul Bremer, the Labour government and the United Nations, society is or should be a mosaic of tribes, ethnic groups and religions. Citizenship, universal rights and civil society do not exist any more. In this philosophy people are labelled and branded according to religion, ethnicity, and community; it’s a fragmented society which needs to be brought together, and power, the state and resources need to be shared based on that. This is what we see in Iraq; a government being installed based on tribes and religions, a post-Cold War type of government. What Bush and the like represent is a Western version of that. It’s a shame for humanity at the beginning of the 21st century to be retreating to the Middle Ages, where standards of the state and society were based on recognition of tribes, religions and fragmented identities.

    To come up with comments like this, these guys seem to have a brilliant grasp on the concept of individuality, to the point where Rand, Hazlitt, Block, and Nozick would feel comfortable with them.

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