December 22, 2008

A Modern Day Inquisition?

Egged on by the member states of the uniquely theology based international organization, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the United Nations General Assembly has once again passed a resolution condemning the "defamation of religions", with an almost exclusive focus on the detractors of Islam. Of course, scant, if any, attention is paid to the worst perpetrators of religious apartheid — Iran, Saudi Arbia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia... well, in short, the OIC.

As Walid Phares puts it in his must read article, The OIC: A Modern Day Inquisition?:

... Indeed how can one define "defamation" as an aggression against faith, any faith? Where is the limit between criticizing a set of beliefs or ideas and defaming a whole religion? How can members of a religion reform their system if they cannot criticize it? Will reform become synonymous to defamation? If the very concept of "defamation" is not clarified and thoroughly defined, legislation such a sought would lead to blocking reforms and punishing reformers. As it stands at this stage the wording of "defamation of religion" -- even if some are well intentioned in pushing for it -- is a stark reminder of the blasphemy laws of medieval times which were behind religious persecution and the Inquisition. Defamation of religion as a concept has to be specified and accepted within the state of international consensus so that it won't become a serious setback to human rights instead of an additional protection to it. [emphasis mine]

Such cynical attempts to manipulate international laws, designed to suppress freedom of thought and expression, risks paying a price far higher than what the world pays for terrorism. After all, what is the meaning of life without liberty and the pursuit of reason?

As Patrick Henry said in his speech at the Virginia Convention, "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!"

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