Islamophobia, Defamation of Religions, and International Human Rights



Since 1999, under pressure from Muslim majority states, the United Nations passed a series of resolutions asking states to combat the defamation of religions. This initiative raises the question: Should there be an international norm against hate speech targeting a religion? In particular, is the United Nations Resolution “Combating the Defamation of Religions” a step forward in developing such a norm? So far these questions have polarized international society by setting Muslims against Western liberal democracies. After 12 years of campaign, the supporters of the Resolution decided not to pursue defamation resolution and joined major Western states to pass a joint resolution on religious tolerance and freedom.


Racial Discrimination Free Speech Western State Muslim Community Hate Speech 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    UN Doc. A/36/684 (36/55) Adopted by the General Assembly on November 25, 1981. Also see The Challenge of Religious Discrimination at the Dawn of the New Millennium, ed. Nazila Ghanea, 2003. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    Micheline R. Ishay. 2004. The History of Human Rights. Berkeley: California University Press. Pp. 241–243.Google Scholar
  3. 20.
    Also see, Steve Edwards. 2008. “The Trouble with Religious Hatred Laws,” Policy 24(3): 38–46.Google Scholar
  4. 24.
    Interview of the Secretary General with Jyllands Posten (October 28, 2008). n%20Interview.pdf (accessed on August 20, 2011).Google Scholar
  5. 27.
    Jack Donnelly and Rhoda E. Howard. 1988. “Assessing National Human Rights Performance,” Human Rights Quarterly 10(2): 214–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 28.
    Chris Demaske. 2009. Modern Power and Free Speech. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, p. 74.Google Scholar
  7. 34.
    Geoffrey B. Levey and Tariq Modood. 2009. “Liberal Democracy, multicultural citizenship and the Danish cartoon affair,” in Secularism, Religion, and Multicultural Citizenship, ed. Geoffrey B. Levey and Tariq Modood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 225.Google Scholar
  8. 35.
    Cited in Kay Goodall, 2007. “Incitement to Religious Hatred: All Talk and No Substance?” Modern Law Review, 70(1): 94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 36.
    Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann. 2000. “Canadians Discuss Freedom of Speech: Individual Rights Versus Groups,” International Journal of Minority and Group Rights 7: 109–138.Google Scholar
  10. 39.
    Tariq Modood. 2009. “Muslims, Religious Equality and Secularism,” in Secularism, Religion, and Multicultural Citizenship, ed. Geoffrey B. Levey and Tariq Modood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 171–172.Google Scholar
  11. 40.
    Ben Clarke. 2007. “Freedom of Speech and Criticism of Religion: What are the Limits?” Murdoch University E Law Journal 14(2): 94–121.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mahmood Monshipouri 2011

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations