Obama Administration Opposes UN Anti-Defamation Laws

The Obama administration, through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, came out strongly today against the Organization of the Islamic Conference’s efforts to get the UN Human Rights Council to adopt resolutions barring the defamation of religion. By “religion,” the OIC means “Islam.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized on Monday an attempt by Islamic countries to prohibit defamation of religions, saying such policies would restrict free speech.

“Some claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion is to implement so-called anti-defamation policies… . I strongly disagree,” Clinton said. “The protection of speech about religion is particularly important since persons of different faiths will inevitably hold divergent views on religious questions.”

While unnamed in Clinton’s speech, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a group of 56 Islamic nations, has been pushing hard for the U.N. Human Rights Council to adopt resolutions that broadly bar the defamation of religion. The effort has raised concerns that such resolutions could be used to justify crackdowns on free speech in Muslim countries.

Earlier today, President Obama signed into law a new hate crimes bill that has been enraging the religious right, because it extends federal hate crimes to include assaults against people due to sexual orientation.

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