"Defamation of religion" : a critique of the United Nations and Arab co-authorship of the balance between expression and religious rights
Faculty of Law
Ave Maria international law journal
, p. 87-115
The past decade has seen numerous resolutions on defamation of religion presented before the United Nations by Islamic countries. These resolutions have undoubtedly been controversial, particularly because of the tension that they have created between freedom of religion and freedom of expression. As the movement appeared to quiet down and the language of defamation of religion was removed from the resolutions and replaced by Resolution 16/18, many believed that defamation of religion belongs to the past and that freedom of expression had prevailed. Perhaps such a view was naïve. This article considers the definition, history, and development of the defamation of religion movement. The resulting tensions between freedom of expression and religious freedom will be addressed, specifically within the context of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), before moving on to a critique of the defamation of religion movement. It is argued that defamation of religion presents overly expansive, arbitrary, and vague limitations to religious freedom and freedom of expression.