Push to call blasphemy a crime

59

THE divide in world opinion over what constitutes free speech will be on display again this week at the United Nations, where arguments over a proposed blasphemy law were an annual feature for a decade. 


This time it is the global reaction to a YouTube video that disparages Islam’s prophet Muhammad that is sure to roil the meeting of the UN General Assembly.

Muslim leaders have vowed to discuss the offensive video from their UN platforms, sowing concern among free-speech activists of a fresh push toward an international law that would criminalise blasphemy. Human rights groups and Western democracies resisted such a law for years and thought they had finally quashed the matter after convincing enough nations that repressive regimes used blasphemy laws to imprison or execute dissidents.

”I expect that we’ll regress to where we were a couple of years ago,” said Courtney Radsch, program manager for the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at the non-profit group Freedom House.

”Human rights are not about protecting religions; human rights are to protect humans,” she said. ”Who is going to be the decision-maker on deciding what blasphemy is?”

At one end of the spectrum is France, where a magazine on Wednesday published cartoons of Muhammad as a naked, cowering man to underscore a point that even the most offensive expression should be protected.

At the other end of the spectrum is the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who disappointed many free-speech activists last week by suggesting limitations to freedom of speech when it was ”used to provoke or humiliate”.

Written By: Hannah Allam
continue to source article at smh.com.au

59 COMMENTS

  1. As a precaution, I have dug out the letter “M” from my laptop and Blackberry keyboard to prevent me from inadvertently insulting the Prophet (Peace be on to Him).

    I have an iPhone 5 as well, so I scratched the place on the screen where the M appears. My Galaxy S3 is in the process of being defaced, and the same fate awaits my iPad 3 once it arrives in the mail.

    Small price to pay for 72 pristine moose-knuckles when I get to heaven.

    I am praying (5 times a day) that the letter “A” does not get banned as well. I’d easily give up a consonant for a camel-toe, but it’s a tough choice between a vowel and a virgin.

    I am hoping I can work out a “Wheel of Fortune” arrangement with Allah, where maybe I can buy a vowel with a virgin, so maybe I can keep my vowels and settle for 67 virgins.

    Allah, please advise. Thanks.

  2. If an Islamic government decides to introduce blasphemy laws in its territory, it has a right as the government  to do so, but how can the international community consider imposing religious guff on the free world and non-fairy-tale based nations?

  3. ” Ban Ki-moon(, who) disappointed many free-speech activists last week by
    suggesting limitations to freedom of speech when it was ”used to
    provoke or humiliate”.”

    Hey Ban, you have stupid ideas and you don’t think good. Nobody likes you, and you smell. Four-eyes. I made a bunch of cartoons of YOU.

    Guess I’m going to jail.

  4. No, you won’t. It’s okay to insult people, especially the ones that are considered to be smart and do not believe in fairytales.

    Apparently it’s also okay to exclude people, or lock them up for disagreeing with fairytales or even kill them as long as you can say that someone insulted an obscure figure from the dark ages.

  5. Blasphemy laws are attempts to silence dissent against theocracy. To enable the foolish to behave foolishly without feeling the incredulity of others. 

    What has this got to do with the UN?

    Fuck All!

    We are not talking really about offence or bearded nutters raving about insults to a dead nutter and his fanciful ideas because religions are not limited to people thinking and talking like silly buggers in a mosque or church on a  Sunday.  Religions affect our geopolitical world in impressive ways and largely by violent means.

    The UN of all organisations should take a long hard look at the way theocracies have behaved when they are on the forefoot and think carefully before handing them the authority to imprison, maim, torture and kill.

    Doesn’t the UN depend upon a free flow of information?   We need people to grow up and understand that the opinion of any third party on any subject whatsoever is just an opinion nothing more. Criticism of Mo or Jeebus or the Poop or islam or leprechauns is not different to criticising silly ideas in any other subject. Blasphemy laws will not help these people grow up and will not advance the human race.

    Time to stop organising the village to accommodate the village idiot.

  6. May I ask when the UN is going to discuss freedom of murder please?   Why are they always trying to bring resolutions against words and never against violent action taken by those whom the words apparently cause harm.

    If you are going to try and ban words try banning sentences that contain the words ‘women can not go to university’ or anything a politician might say!

  7. You can call it a crime but that won’t stop me from calling it bullshit. Besides, who gives a damn what the U.N. says. After all, in a forward thinking country like Canada, the U.N.’s 1993 Human Rights Committee ruling that Quebec’s
    sign laws broke an international covenant on civil and political rights.

    “A State may choose one or more official languages but it may not exclude outside the spheres of public life, the
    freedom to express oneself in a certain language.” This statement means fuck all in Quebec and the rest of Canada. Fuck all!

    Freedom of expression comes from our ability to express ourselves, not from any governing body. To stop expression requires murder, you can’t stop expression any other way.

  8. Now the truth has emerged about the protesting mob that killed the US diplomats in Benghazi.

    There was no such mob. It was a terrorist strike by AQ, timed on the anniversary of 9/11 for greatest impact.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politic… 

    It should have been anticipated, as the ambassador knew that he was on a death-list, yet there was no extra security for him and the embassy buildings and staff. 

    So why did the Obama administration blame an obscure video and invent the story about a protest that got out of hand? 

    We need more videos to keep delivering the goods on Mohammed. 

    But they should give solid source references to back them up, just as the Wilders video did.

    No retreat, no surrender!  No blasphemy laws!

  9. To stop expression requires murder, you can’t stop expression any other way.

    Yes the holy grail of religious fundamentalists everywhere, what is the point of the one true religion if you cannot smite the unbelievers?
    Seems that someone has been whispering sweet nothings in Moon’s  shell like and he has swallowed it hook line and sinker.
    Seems the religious have been waging a not so secret but intense campaign in the UN to get blasphemy laws strengthened, looks like the UN has crumbled to religious idolatry …be afraid ….very afraid!

    That is why the riots, about the tacky film, went on for so long and got so rancid, the Islamic head honchos decided to spin it out simply to give them leverage in order push the UN for a theocracy in the west, that is all it was about nothing to do with the content of some crappy xian inspired wet dream, it was just a handy excuse, and seemingly the Islamic scholars will continue to be provoked similarly as long as it takes to instigate their vision of  paradise on Earth!

    Ban Ki-moon stepped right into it and managed to get himself manipulated by the Muslim dream, well done that man!

  10. Sam Harris: ” Some percentage of the world’s Muslims—Five percent? Fifteen? Fifty? It’s not yet clear—is demanding that all non-Muslims conform to the strictures of Islamic law.”

    Well, fuck them. And fuck their wing-ed horse, too.

  11.  I would do [strike you down, that is], but with a new blasphemy law in the offing there’s far too much fun to be had.

    For one thing, all religions are mutually blasphemous. Islam does not believe Christ is/was God, Christianity does not believe Gabriel ever spoke to Mohammed or that he was anyone’s prophet. No-one believes what the Mormons believe. All of the above contradict what Hindus know to be true, and let’s not forget the Moonies and Scientologists. Or the Janes, Zoroastrians, Jews, Samaritans, Buddists, …

    They all have publications. 

    Game on, I say.

  12. This blasphemy thing is not what it seems.  It much like my mother’s demand that I never contradict.  No one is permitted to question the obvious BS that is used to construct religions. They don’t like being questioned so they use a special word blasphemy to describe ridiculing falsehood or countering falsehood,  as if it were bad thing.

  13. From flying airplanes into buildings,to suicide attacks on global major cities,to a barbaric show of religious sensitivity,all this being designed by islamists to achieve the demise of free speech, the chief of the UN must realize.It is a grave mistake to reward the onslaught on civil liberties by surrendering a fantastic human achievement.

  14. I tend to support legislation that calls for a penalties against so-called “hate” speech that denigrates entire groups of people and  incites violence toward those people.  There’s a far cry from hate speech to blasphemy, however.  I have no problem with somebody voicing an opinion that, say, Islam is a thuggish religion founded by an ignorant pedophile as long as that person doesn’t also advocate that, as a result, all Muslims ought to be taken outside and shot.  And the same holds true for opinions regarding any other religion or group, including those based on nationality, race, sexual orientation, etc.

    Yes, the film at the center of the current controversy is certainly blasphemous (at least as perceived by faithful Muslims), but as long as it did not make any statement that Muslims should be harmed then it should not be illegal.  And it doesn’t matter whether the makers of the film made it “knowing” that it would likely provoke violent reactions from those who were offended by it.

    The gray area, in my opinion, is when people voice opinions that promote specious “facts” that are designed to incite other people to violence against the target group, even if there is no direct incitement to violence.  An example would be promoting rumors that the target group was responsible for a particular atrocity, whether large-scale or small.  Such as telling people that Jewish people in Europe routinely killed Christian children and used their blood to make bread.  Even if that “opinion” doesn’t actually call for people to attack Jews, the charge is so heinous that it is expected that people will do so as a result.

    So, forget making blasphemy illegal and please focus on hate speech instead.  Just be sure to be careful when defining what is hate speech or else we’ll be right back at outlawing blasphemy under a different name.

  15. Hi Godzillatemple,

    So-called hate speech is merely blasphemy by another name.

    We already have laws on incitement.

    If you cannot see that, I’ll be seeing you over the barricades.

    Peace.

  16. So, limitations on speech used “to provoke or humiliate” are justified according to Ban Ki-Moon.

    Don’t many artists today consider themselves provocateurs?  With the decline in old-style artistic aspirations, such as striving to depict ‘truth’ and/or ‘beauty’, isn’t the notion of ‘provoking a response’ absolutely central to the role of art and the artist in the 21st century? 

    And isn’t there something to the notion that humility is a virtue, and that those who are arrogant and powerful (like, say, Theocratic Thugs who claim a hotline to the Creator of the Universe) should be humiliated and denigrated and mocked?  Are there not tangible societal benefits to exposing embarrassing truths about powerful individuals and groups, and in promoting free discourse in all its manifestations, including the freedom to say things that are stupid, offensive, sarcastic, harsh, and satirical?

    I believe Ban Ki-Moon should resign as Secretary General of the UN. 

  17. And what will the United Nations do? Send to prison all atheists? It’s obvious that if UN succeeds in passing this law, the Muslims or others won’t stop at this; they will want to curtail the freedom of atheists by banning their books and press under the excuse that their publications are blasphemous, they’ll force women to wear veils because if they don’t, it’ll be a blasphemy, etc. Grant them what they want and pretty soon we’ll live in a Medieval totalitarian world.

  18. I’m looking forward to the UN’s attempt to give blasphemy a legal definition. I’ve never really understood it. And is blasphemy described in the Bible anywhere other than in the Ten Commandments (i.e. taking the Lord’s name in vain)?

  19. No-one is going to take the blindest bit of notice what the UN says regarding blasphemy they are not capable of enforcing any law regarding blasphemy in any country and I could not imagine any country rushing to enact a new blasphemy law just because the UN says so.

  20. agreed. small localised earthquake outside the courtroom for “guilty”, clouds parting revealing a beautiful rainbow for “innocent” and nonthing at all for “seriously? we’re actually doing this? ffs you guys need to grow up”

  21.  I can’t wait for their definition of what constitutes blasphemy. Mine is putting ice in malt whisky! Aieeeee Aieeee I’m so offended I’m now off to rip down the shelves in the garage!!!

  22. @thebaldgit

    I could not imagine any country rushing to enact a new blasphemy law just because the UN says so.

    Then your imagination has failed to consider why the 54 countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation have been pushing the UN to say so.

  23. It works by ignoring it and expressing yourself freely. Fight anyone who tells you otherwise. Ignore their demands and counter their claims. If they say shut up, you say whatever you want. If they say you can’t, you say whatever you want. If they lock you up, harm you or kill you, we know who the threat is.

    P.S. Just because you are free to say it, doesn’t mean you won’t be judged for what you say.

  24.  Amen to that!

    I am afraid I am all ‘respected’ out.
    There is none left, the tank is dry, and I have no wish to put myself into an integrity debt by loading up on apologetics for brain dead cretins.
    They stand or fall on the words and the intent they display, so far I have yet to read a Christian post on any forum where I come away with a favourable impression of their character.
    I always come away with the urge to shower profusely…and they are getting worse!

  25. Much worse. The problem religion faces is the simple fact that they have no argument whatsoever. They have nothing at all. Their only options are to get law to shut up those critical of religion or shut them up by violence. They can not shut up anyone with childish, fairytale arguments.

  26. I would recommend reading some of Donald Klein’s work on the Humiliation Dynamic, a couple of papers can be found at 
    http://www.humiliationstudies…. It goes some way to explain why it can be such a powerful driving factor behind violence, and also how abusers often try to portray themselves as victims to further humiliate the real victims.

    I think that this blasphemy law will actually be used to help humiliate atheists and assert further abuses by religious organisations, so agree that hate speech would be a better focus.

  27.  

    I think that this blasphemy law will actually be used to help humiliate
    atheists and assert further abuses by religious organisations

    Hell yeah, what is the point of religiously themed balderdash if it is not helpful to smite thine enemies?
    Well they can try but after a 2000 odd years they are not having a great deal of luck in smiting atheists out of the equation are they?
    The mere fact they  now rely on pet politicians like Moon to do their bidding plays ample witness to the fact they are losing their glamour and terror inducing ways on the populace.
    Now they have to rely on the law of the land…which is secular and which they fervently wish was not!

    Now that the burning fire brands have been removed from their sweaty little hands and the keys to the dungeons have been retrieved from their pockets they seem to have a bit of bother of actually convincing folks they are the power and the glory on Earth these days!

    The problem for these rabid theists is that now folk are apt to expose their shenanigans and hold them up to receive the derision of the world.
    They are not evolving quickly enough because they do not believe in evolution, when they pontificate forth they still believe they are preaching to a select and sycophantic congregation, when in actual fact their words and attitudes are capable of being ricocheted around the web canyon bouncing off this blog and off that one until their words run out of momentum and the bigotry falls to the ground a spent and empty force in the world.

    There is no trick in surviving their onslaught, well maybe just one…don’t get hit & hurt by their crass and vitriol laced projectiles of pompousness, they hold little power now, their words are hollow and flesh and bone are strong.
    Be you man, woman, gay or straight, be you black, white, multicoloured, be you mighty or weak..

    Just stand your ground, they will break before the integrity and the rationality and they will no choice but to diminish and pass out of memory.
    But , as is apparent, they will resort to knife, gun and bomb to achieve their aims, because their god sure as hell is incapable, no one will stop them from their own side for sure, and it will be a challenge…but to coin a phrase…’NO SURRENDER!’

    Ban Ki-Moon has ably demonstrated he is a lightweight buffoon, expect no help there and I doubt the UN has much more about them.
    It will be up to local activists not to keep silent against the abomination that is religion.
    I know I will not  go gentle into that good night, I will Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    We all must do so, otherwise rationality and a world fit for our children will remain an intangible dream, and we are worth far more then that!

  28. At the other end of the spectrum is the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who disappointed many free-speech activists last week by suggesting limitations to freedom of speech when it was ”used to provoke or humiliate”.

    But it’s okay for the religios to threaten me with hell? (Bangs head on table).

Leave a Reply