Tag Archives: Fitna

Does religion threaten human rights?

It worries me that as we approach the 60th anniversary of the the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the world seems to be facing a new threat to freedom of expression. This freedom is basic in democratic societies. It’s also vital to exposing, and overcoming, violations of human rights throughout the world.

I have commented before about attempts by some international Islamic organisations to restrict freedom of expression when it comes to issues involving violation of human rights in Islamic countries. This has extended to preventing criticism of religion in UN organisations. Other religions have extended a degree of support for this position internationally, and within some European countries.

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Freedom of expression and human rights

Go to hellOne of the most important human rights is the freedom of expression. Not just because this is vital to human creativity. But because it is the only way we have of protecting our other rights – by identifying and exposing violations of human rights.

It is no accident that freedom of expression is one of the first things restricted by oppressive regimes – and even democratic governments when their leaders are criticised.

This is why the current clamour to limit the freedom of expression in the interests of “religious tolerance,” “multiculturalism” and “respect” is so insidious.

It’s not a matter of balancing the creative and artistic rights of Danish cartoonists, authors like Salmon Rushdie or Dutch film makers against the need for religious tolerance and respect. It’s a matter of sacrificing the human rights of women, gays and the non-religious which are regularly violated in the name of religion.

Requiring us to ignore persecution of fellow humans so that we don’t offend somebody’s religious feelings.

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