Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The scary United Nations

Here's a column by Paul Schneidereit appearing in the Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald, April 15, 2008:

"THE war on free speech in the West goes on, from both outside and within, unabated. That’s not to say that we’re losing. But it’s not clear we’re winning, either.

There are, at the heart of this matter, two very different ideas of what free speech is all about. One, the traditional Western concept, holds that, short of libel, slander or the direct incitement to violence, people should be free to pretty much say what they think. The other, now being pushed by a group of Islamic nations in the UN – and aided by na├»ve, appeasing bureaucrats in our own nation – believes that certain topics, like sharp criticism of religion, should be taboo.

In the last month, the UN’s Human Rights Council has passed several resolutions that in essence seek to criminalize criticism of Islam around the world. Now, the council spends very little if any time on real human rights abuses in the many countries where they occur, as its days are almost exclusively spent on the task of painting Israel as a monster. That, of course, is related to the fact that a majority on the world’s so-called human rights council are either Islamic nations hostile to Israel or regimes run by brutal autocrats who want to ensure there is no criticism of their own flagrant human rights abuses. But I digress.

In late March, the Orwellian-named council passed a motion condemning the "defamation" of religions, especially Islam, and calling on all member states to move to make such criticism of religion illegal in their countries. The motion passed, 24 to 10.

Can you defame a religion? If so, wouldn’t criticism of the Vatican’s nonsensical rules on birth control be out of line, too? Watch your footing; we’re on the slipperiest of slopes here.

Early this month, the UN human rights body passed another resolution – this time by a 32 to 0 vote – directing the UN’s own special rapporteur on free speech to report on individuals or media outlets that publicly make negative comments about Islam.

As other observers have noted, this seeks to turn a supposed promoter of free speech into a censor."


To read the full column, go to this site. Thanks to SteynOnLine for the link.

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