Saturday, September 13, 2008

Criminalizing Criticism of Islam

There are strange happenings in the world of international jurisprudence that do not bode well for the future of free speech. In an unprecedented case, a Jordanian court is prosecuting 12 Europeans in an extraterritorial attempt to silence the debate on radical Islam.
The prosecutor general in Amman charged the 12 with blasphemy, demeaning Islam and Muslim feelings, and slandering and insulting the prophet Muhammad in violation of the Jordanian Penal Code. The charges are especially unusual because the alleged violations were not committed on Jordanian soil.

Among the defendants is the Danish cartoonist whose alleged crime was to draw in 2005 one of the Muhammad illustrations that instigators then used to spark Muslim riots around the world. His co-defendants include 10 editors of Danish newspapers that published the images. The 12th accused man is Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, who supposedly broke Jordanian law by releasing on the Web his recent film, "Fitna," which tries to examine how the Quran inspires Islamic terrorism.

Jordan's attempt at criminalizing free speech beyond its own borders wouldn't be so serious if it were an isolated case. Unfortunately, it is part of a larger campaign to use the law and international forums to intimidate critics of militant Islam. For instance, in December the United Nations General Assembly passed the Resolution on Combating Defamation of Religions; the only religion mentioned by name was Islam. While such resolutions aren't legally binding, national governments sometimes cite them as justification for legislation or other actions.

More worrying, the U.N. Human Rights Council in June said it would refrain from condemning human-rights abuses related to "a particular religion." The ban applies to all religions, but it was prompted by Muslim countries that complained about linking Islamic law, Shariah, to such outrages as female genital mutilation and death by stoning for adulterers. This kind of self-censorship could prove dangerous for people suffering abuse, and it follows the council's March decision to have its expert on free speech investigate individuals and the media for negative comments about Islam.


Given this trend, it's worth taking a closer look at the Jordanian case.

Read on here at The Wall Street Journal

4 comments:

  1. Dhivehi Christian5:28 AM

    Over the years, totalitarian regimes around the world have attempted to hijack the UN and the system of one-state-one-vote in the General Assembly to denounce freedom and the Free World.

    The admission of backward totalitarian regimes to the UN, some of them with populations of a few thousand people, helped larger state-tyrants in this regard. In the 1960s- 1980s, the Left-leaning Non-Aligned Movement led by Yugoslavia and Cuba and the Communist bloc led by the Soviet Union and China used the non-proportional system of representation in the General Assembly to pass outrageous resolutions that mocked all that was decent.

    As the Soviet Union crumbled, post Deng Xiao-Ping China became pseudo-Capitalist and the Non-Aligned Movement fizzled out with the passing of Soekarno, Nasser and Tito, the mantle of using the UN to ride rough-shod over civilised behaviour has passed to a natural and more barbaric successor- Islam.

    In the coming years there is bound to be a bitter struggle between the savage forces of Islam and the Free World. Freedom-loving people such as us, based inside this evil empire of Islam, must stand in solidarity with Civilisation so that good may ultimately triumph over the evil that is Islam.

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