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Religious Persecution Wolf in Anti-Defamation Sheep’s Clothing

Posted in News by Skepdude on March 30, 2009

The Inquisition is back, and this time it has set up shop at the United Nations. Consider the resolution “Combating the Defamation of Religions” passed by a comfortable margin last week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (and passed by the General Assembly every year since 2005).

The resolution decries a “campaign of defamation of religions,” intensifying since 2001, in which “the media” and “extremist organizations” are “perpetuating stereotypes about certain religions” (read: Islam) and “sacred persons” (read: Muhammad). It urges UN member states to provide redress “within their respective legal and constitutional systems.” Capitalizing on cartoon riots and Western anxieties over the excesses of the war on terror, the language conflates peaceful criticism of Islam with anti-Muslim bigotry and seeks to stifle speech in the name of “respect for religions and beliefs.”

In my capacity as UN representative for the secularist think tank Center for Inquiry, I spent a surreal two weeks at the Council participating in the negotiations over the language of this resolution, sponsored by a 57-member intergovernmental body called the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC.

After one of these sessions, I found my way into a private conversation with the chair of the negotiations, a delegate for the government of Pakistan. We were soon joined by the representatives of the United States, Canada, and the European Union. There we were, “the West,” standing at the front of an empty conference room, gingerly trying to reason with this feisty, yet solicitous, Pakistani diplomat.

The American delegate noted that, “History shows that criminalizing speech doesn’t work,” when the chair interrupted her to propose a case he hoped would hit home. Suppose someone were to say that the Virgin Mary was not a virgin but a promiscuous woman? What could be the purpose of this statement, he asked, except mockery?

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “RELIGION DISPATCHES”

Whoring for Islam European style

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 27, 2009

Or put it another way, spineless, cowardly body oks call to curb religious criticism.

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.’s top human-rights body approved a proposal by Muslims nations Thursday urging passage of laws around the world to protect religion from criticism.

The proposal put forward by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic countries — with the backing of Belarus and Venezuela — had drawn strong criticism from free-speech campaigners and liberal democracies.

A simple majority of 23 members of the 47-nation Human Rights Council voted in favor of the resolution. Eleven nations, mostly Western, opposed the resolution, and 13 countries abstained.

The resolution urges states to provide “protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred in general.”

Which is all nice and dandy. After all we all are opposed to acts of hatred, discrimination and coercion. So I wonder what sort of defamation are they after to abolish anyway.

Muslim nations have argued that religions, in particular Islam, must be shielded from criticism in the media and other areas of public life. They cited cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as an example of unacceptable free speech.

“Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism,” the resolution said.

And if anyone ever claims this is not about stifling all criticism and free speech when religion is concerned needs to shut up. Just refresh my memory who was committing the violence and acts of hatred after the Muhammad cartoons were published? Why yes, the muslims were! So, let me get this right they want us to do away with our freedom of expression so that they don’t have to act violent in retribution. Talk about a logical pretzel. Talk about giving Islam a bad name. No wonder they want to hide as much of that as possible.

Opponents of the resolution included Canada, all European Union countries, Switzerland, Ukraine and Chile.

“It is individuals who have rights and not religions,” Canadian diplomat Terry Cormier said.

Absolutely right, even though from the point of view of the islamic countries this is about human rights, more specifically their right not to be offended or criticised, even when they want to incinerate and kill everyone else. The Right not to be Offended. Wow!

India, which normally votes along with the council’s majority of developing nations, abstained in protest at the fact that Islam was the only religion specifically named as deserving protection.

Of course why not. Why should Islam get special treatment? All delusions should be protected to the same extend from warranted criticism.

Esther Brimmer, Obama’s nominee for the job of Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizational Affairs, told a Senate hearing Tuesday that the council was a “major disappointment, diverted from its mission by states with some of the worst human rights records.”

Indeed Esther, indeed.

I’m sorry, do I offend you? Too fucking bad!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on February 28, 2009

What is this nonsense from the United Nations trying to pass a binding anti-blasphemy resolution that would make it illegal, in the US, to be blasphemous? I don’t care, no let me rephrase that, we as Americans should not care, if anyone is offended by anyone else expressing an opinion. We don’t care if you are Muslim or Christian, Jew or Hindu, believer or atheist, black or white. Who you are, and what you believe in or not, are of no consequence when matters of freedom of expression are concerned. We must not allow free speech to be curtailed to protect the fragile egos of those who want to trample all over other people’s rights without so much as a critique being thrown their way.

They want not to be criticized? They want not to be called out for their stupidity? Well fuck that I say, because you will be criticized, ridiculed and called idiots so long as you insist on engaging in idiotic behavior. And I for one am appalled that the UN in its wisdom (or in this case complete lack thereof)  should bend to the pressure of the Islamic nations, the ones that are responsible for the most horrific trespasses against human rights being perpetrated today. These are the countries were honor killings and sexual mutilations are the order of the day, where bloggers get imprisoned for daring to write what’s on their mind, where people are killed over cartoons in a newspaper thousands of miles away!  And they are the ones who are offended? We as humans should be offended by their actions! We should pass a resolution that forbids them from being such assholes in the name of their religion and their backwards traditions, not cut our own balls, hand them over to these fucktards so that they can stuff them back in our mouths! Because that is what in effect the UN is doing.

I am offended by their very existence. I am offended that people like them belong to the same species as we do. I am offended by their actions. I should not be forced to shut up or pay the consequences. Not in a democracy! Not in a civilized country! Not in the United States of America!