So you would think Americans would have learned something from us.
The Obama government appears to be going down the same path that we took nearly two decades ago that has left us today with a tattered and nonsensical notion of human rights as they apply to free expression.
As part of Obama’s outreach program to Muslims, the U.S. has joined the odious United Nations Human Rights Council, dominated by the Islamic states who regularly engineer resolutions condemning the state of Israel and who have supported resolutions in the General Assembly calling for members of the U.N. to criminalize the “defamation of religion”, meaning the defamation of Islam, since Islam regularly defames other religions and non-religious beliefs.
As a counter to that resolution the U.S. has initiated a resolution that says the following, among other things:
Also expresses its concern that incidents of racial and religious intolerance, discrimination and related violence, as well as of negative stereotyping of religions and racial groups continue to rise around the world, and condemns, in this context, any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and urges States to take effective measures, consistent with their international human rights obligations, to address and combat such incidents.
The resolution was passed at the Council and presumably is sent up the ladder to eventually be passed into U.N. law.
This poisonous stew is understood by Islamic nations to be a prescription whereby Muslims can use the government organs of non-Islamic states to prosecute criticism of Islam within those states, or they wouldn’t have supported it.
The key phrases in this paragraph for Muslims are “negative stereotyping of religions” and “advocacy of … religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination…”
Religions ought not to be exempt from criticism, especially a religion that is also a political ideology like Islam.
Consider these words in Canada’s Human Rights Act.
13. (1) It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate … any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.
Religion is one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination under this statute.
These words justified several human rights agencies in Canada taking action against two news publishers; one who published the Danish cartoons and the other who published an excerpt from a book by author Mark Steyn who wrote about the rise of Islam in Europe. These actions were prompted by Muslim activists who claimed they were “likely to be exposed to hatred or contempt” because of these publications.
It would be easy to contemplate exactly the same actions being processed by the human rights regimes here on the grounds that these publications were advocating religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination.
It may also have unintended consequences. For example, if a secular advocacy group wanted to challenge the ritual of prayer in government legislatures, could that group be accused of inciting discrimination because it hated the idea of religion mixing with government? Would complaining about the separation of church and state become off-limits?
This is a slippery slope Mr. Obama’s “feel good” diplomacy has led America to and we know better than anybody what is at the bottom of it.