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U.N. Anti-Blasphemy Resolution is Flawed

Contact: Jeff Field, Director of Communications, The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 212-371-3191

NEW YORK, Nov. 9 /Standard Newswire/ -- A vote on the proposed U.N. resolution condemning religious defamation is expected to take place this week. Catholic League president Bill Donohue explains why it should be resisted:

The Catholic League is an anti-defamation organization that uses such First Amendment guarantees as freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to protest Catholic bashing. But it is one thing to issue a news release, conduct a letter-writing campaign, call for a boycott or hold a street demonstration; it is quite another to criminalize offensive speech.

It is not just that this U.N. resolution is poorly worded, it is the intent behind it: it is being promoted by member states that are known for disrespecting human rights, including, most spectacularly, religious liberties.

Since 1999, Pakistan has been pushing for this anti-blasphemy resolution. Joined by nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the resolution is not a check on religious defamation: rather, it is designed to give Islamist nations the right to plunder the religious rights of non-Muslims--under the guise of fighting religious intolerance!

There is a reason why the Christian community in the Middle East has shrunk to less than two percent of the population--they've been driven out. Just recently, the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad was the scene of violence that left 58 dead and at least 75 wounded. Their crime? They were Catholics.

The Catholic League supports all democratic remedies that thwart religious intolerance, but it will never support fascistic laws. These Muslim nations already kill Christians and Jews with impunity; they don't need any further encouragement to bring their idea of justice to the shores of other nations. This resolution, "On Combating Defamation of Religions," is an affront to religious liberty and deserves to be voted down.