National Secular Society: Islamic groups trying to use human rights law to stifle free speech


Mr Porteous Wood has counselled strongly against the UK following the Canadian model and pointed out that this latest case should be seen as forming part of a wider and growing assault on freedom of expression by Muslim or Islamist bodies – depending on the definition employed. These bodies certainly include the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which has been so successful curtailing freedom of expression in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) itself, as Keith can testify from personal experience.

Keith Porteous Wood commented: “Ezra Levant should also be lauded for his single-minded determination to win, and congratulated for doing so. But Ezra Levant only did so by paying a huge personal price: financially (and without any compensation); emotionally; and the disintegration of his personal and professional life. I hope that our Canadian readers — and we know there are some very influential ones — will point to these examples and seek to change the law in Canada to prevent any repetitions.

“These victories should not however blind us to the massive and continuing threats to freedom of expression. The publicity fall out over the years from Ezra’s case, the murders in the Netherlands, the death threats over Rushdie, the Danish cartoons to name but a few examples, all conspire to create a growing climate of self-censorship that is so poisonous to those seeking to maintain (yes, we are on the defensive) an open democratic and fair society.

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