Proposals that would have banned "defamation of religion" were formally rejected by United Nations international bodies this week. The contentious "blasphemy" resolution presented by Pakistan, introduced at the UN and supported by some of the Middle East regimes, called upon all governments to forbid critical, insulting or defamatory statements about religion, especially the Islamic faith. The proposal failed to earn sufficient votes in the UN General Assembly to become a binding resolution, and it will not be on the agenda at the next conference, slated for Geneva in April. Doubtless, it will be again proposed in the future, as zealots seek to promote their discriminatory agendas.
This Pakistani resolution was designed to legislate personal opinions and expression, and had nothing to do with the stopping the clearly intolerable acts of violence perpetrated against ethnic and religious groups. The basic principle of freedom of speech, conscience, and expression – so far as the UN is concerned – has been once again upheld.