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Growing Repression in the WestThe 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 on the "Growing Repression in the West" featured Mr. Bruce Bawer, best-selling author of While Europe Slept; Mr. Paul Diamond, a United Kingdom defense attorney in hate speech cases; and the Rev. Dr. Mark Durie, Vicar of St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Melbourne, Australia.

**During the recording of this event, we experienced issues with the sound system. We apologize for the sound quality of this video.**

Panel II: Growing Repression in the West
11:25 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

  • Mr. Bruce Bawer, Best-Selling Author of While Europe Slept
  • Mr. Paul Diamond, United Kingdom defense attorney in hate speech cases
  • Rev. Dr. Mark Durie, Vicar, St. Mary’s Anglican Church (Melbourne, Australia)

Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC

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