The 1989 fatwa against Salman Rushdie and the deadly 2006 Danish cartoon riots brought worldwide attention to the issue of Muslim blasphemy bans. Though these events made global headlines, they are only one aspect of the debate about blasphemy bans in recent times. Charges such as "blasphemy," "apostasy," or "insulting Islam" are no longer limited to censoring irreverent caricatures of Islam's prophet, Mohammed. Some maintain that: they are increasingly used as tools by authoritarian governments and others to influence behavior and acquire power.
The West is also now experiencing a move toward new blasphemy standards through bans on "hate speech," "the stereotyping of Islam," and charges of "Islamophobia." The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) within the United Nations and in the European Union has been a visible proponent of hate speech restrictions and other measures. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that the U.S. government will sponsor a conference with the OIC on how to implement a U.N. resolution combating "negative stereotyping" of Islam, the focus of a recent U.N. resolution. The OIC conference is expected to take place in December in Washington, DC.
Our conference speakers will address the prevalence of trends concerning hate speech and blasphemy laws, and whether they pose a serious threat to the freedoms of citizens of the West, including Muslims, as well as people in OIC member states. This panel featured Mr. Paul Marshall and Ms. Nina Shea, both of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, as they discussed their new book Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide.
**During the recording of this event, we experienced issues with the sound system. We apologize for the sound quality of this video.**
Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide
An Overview by the Authors
9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
- Mr. Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
- Ms. Nina Shea, Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
- Introduction: Mr. Jonathan Bunch, Vice President & Director of State Courts, The Federalist Society
Cannon House Office Building