Blasphemy Laws: The Next Step in 'Religious Tolerance'
Seemingly disparate calls for enforcement mechanisms to encourage "religious tolerance" throughout the world are slowing but surely coalescing around the pursuit of laws banning criticism of Islam or Mohammed.
We've seen this approach to speech in Islamist countries, where criticism of Islam or Mohammed can literally get you imprisoned, if not killed. For example, in Egypt, 27-year old Albert Saber is on trial for posting excerpts of "Innocence of Muslims" on various websites. And earlier this month, an Egyptian court sentenced a Coptic Christian to 6 years in prison for posting cartoons of Mohammed on a Facebook page.
It was evident the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had garnered broad support for such laws when their resolution for "religious tolerance" was adopted by the UN in December 2011. The Obama administration not only supported it but actually held meetings after its adoption in order to seek out ways to implement it.
Then, just weeks ago, "Innocence of Muslims" provided an international springboard from which all nations could criticize those whom they believed were criticizing Islam or Mohammed. Soon, calls to bar speech that "hurt the religious feelings" of Muslims began to fill international news outlets and even mainstream outlets in America.
And now pressure is being applied in the U.S., where the Islamic leaders in Dearborn, MI are rallying Sept. 28 for laws that prohibit speech deemed offensive to Muslims. You can see the international roots of this rally in the fact that the organizers speak of "universal free speech," which is a European Human Right, rather than "freedom of speech," which is a natural right protected by the Bill of Rights.
The next step in the process was revealed on Sept. 26, when Indonesia's president spoke at the UN and called for the adoption of Sharia blasphemy laws by all member states.