March 28, 2011

Blasphemy is a victimless crime

In a March 24, 2011 story in their online Religion, Faith and Ethics feature, Reuters reports on the ongoing efforts of the UN’s Islamic bloc to pass what they euphemistically called a Religious Anti-defamation Resolution. This effort, led by the Saudis, began in 1998. I mentioned it rather critically in my first post on this blog.

The Reuters headline gives great hope that the World Body may now be ready to move beyond the 12-year effort by Islamic member countries, which was actually just a thinly veiled attempt to criminalize blasphemy, specifically of Islam, on a world scale.

Western nations in alliance with Latin American allies have consistently opposed the defamation concept, and on Thursday, joined by Muslim and African states, the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva approved a plan to promote religious tolerance. The new approach would switch the focus from protecting beliefs to protecting people.

Leonard Leo, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, is quoted in the article as saying, “What is needed now is for countries, such as Pakistan, that have blasphemy laws to eliminate them.”

Pakistan is far from the only offender. Canada, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Sudan and the UAE could be added to the list. Australia and New Zealand have laws on their books that are not enforced, and Britain had a Christian-specific blasphemy law until just three years ago.

A full version[PDF] of the resolution may be found HERE.

H/T Hemant