Loading
Free speech questions surface after Clinton's invitation to Muslim group
By Michelle Bauman
Paul Marshall of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom
Paul Marshall of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom

.- A religious liberty expert is concerned that the U.S. State Department appears to be collaborating with a group that has worked to outlaw criticism of Islam around the world.

“The U.S. government should not be getting into the business of trying to shape what people say about religion,” said Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.

Marshall made his remarks to CNA on Dec. 5, after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited the Saudi Arabia-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation to attend a Dec. 12-14 conference in Washington, D.C. to build "muscles of respect and empathy and tolerance."

In Marshall’s view, Americans should be “very concerned” that Clinton and the State Department “are taking the organization seriously.”

He explained that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has explicitly campaigned against free speech for years, pushing resolutions at the United Nations to ban anti-Islamic speech. The group has also worked for more than two decades to encourage states to ban speech that is insulting to Islam and to punish “Islamophobia.”

In a Dec. 5 opinion article in The Wall Street Journal, Marshall joined Nina Shea, also a senior fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom, to raise concerns about the upcoming conference.

Marshall said that preparations for the conference are vague enough that questions about what it will entail are going unanswered. He noted that the conference has not been officially announced and a list of its participants and schedule has not been released.
 
There is very little chance that the United States will adopt the speech-limiting legislation proposed by the organization, which blatantly violates the First Amendment, said Marshall.

However, the conference could still be influential because the U.S. government exercises substantial power through the State Department’s diplomatic channels and its funding of various groups.

Clinton’s invitation, Marshall said, “raises expectations” that the Obama administration will cooperate with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which could lead to an increase in self-censorship.

Marshall described the appearance of cooperation with such a group as “demoralizing” to those people in the Muslim world who have suffered because they were accused of insulting Islam.

Holding this conference is “sending exactly the wrong message” to the world, he argued.

Instead, the United States should be vigorously “defending free speech,” upholding the “unique stance” that it has traditionally held on the subject, he said.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
17

Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Gospel
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Homily
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: