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Meditation 458
Blasphemy and Human Rights

One person's blasphemy is another's orthodoxy.

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Because of the outrage over the Muhammad cartoons, the Organization of Islamic Conferences (an association of 56 Islamic states promoting Muslim solidarity) has been lobbying the United Nations to include language against blasphemy in the tenets of a new UN human rights body. [1]

This quite frankly is an abuse of the concept of human rights.

In no place in the world where laws against blasphemy are currently enforced do they respect human rights, particularly the right of freedom of religion. Such laws are used solely for repression and for enforcement of the state religion.

In no place in the world where laws against blasphemy are currently enforced are moderate versions of the state religion respected. Such laws are used solely to impose the fundamentalist vision and suppress reasonable interpretation.

If rules against blasphemy became part of the UN human rights code, then the most repressive backward regimes in the world would have cover for the abuse of their own citizens.

Let us understand what blasphemy is.

Every religion that denies the divinity of Jesus Christ is blaspheming against the Christian religion.

Every religion that denies that Muhammad was Allah's greatest and final prophet blasphemes against Islam.

Every religion the denies Krishna blasphemes against Hinduism.

I could elaborate about the blasphemies that denominations and sects in each religion regard the other denominations in the same religions as committing.

The reality is that blasphemy against other religions is part and parcel of following any specific religious view. For quibblers who claim that those who consider all religious views equally valid are not blaspheming, think again . They blaspheme against the very concept of the one true religion propounded by other religions.

Laws against blasphemy deny freedom.

Laws against blasphemy are a weapon of the intolerant against the tolerant; a weapon of fundamentalists against moderates.

Laws against blasphemy are the antithesis of human rights. To add the concept to human rights legislation is Orwellian.


  1. Originally it was stated in this article, based on newspaper reports, that the European Union's foreign policy chief has endorsed the idea. This is incorrect. However, he did state he would not object to the possibility of addressing such issues. (National Post page A15 21 February 2006)