UN chief: Free speech must be protected, unless it provokes or humiliates someone's beliefs

Alarming, not because you or I take this stooge seriously but because lots of dopey liberals do, and not just here in the U.S. At a moment when the left’s dimmer lights are taking a second look at blasphemy laws, it’s repulsive that a guy charged with defending human rights would equivocate on speech. But not surprising: The Organization of the Islamic Conference has used the UN for years as a platform to push anti-blasphemy resolutions. That’s textbook Islamism, exploiting an ostensibly liberal institution to advance illiberal goals. Say what you want about Ban, but he’s speaking for an awful lot of his constituents here.

“Freedoms of expression should be and must be guaranteed and protected, when they are used for common justice, common purpose,” Ban told a news conference.

“When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way.”

“My position is that freedom of expression, while it is a fundamental right and privilege, should not be abused by such people, by such a disgraceful and shameful act,” he said.

Just once, I’d like someone taking this position to say clearly, “I don’t believe in free speech.” Notice how they never do that? Even when they’re carving out huge chunks of their principles to protect the tender sensibilities of rioting barbarians, they’re always careful to say that they believe in a baseline right of free expression. Either that’s cognitive dissonance at work or, somehow, they honestly can’t see the contradiction. A little reality check from liberal atheist Sam Harris:

The contagion of moral cowardice [after the Mohammed movie broke into the news] followed its usual course, wherein liberal journalists and pundits began to reconsider our most basic freedoms in light of the sadomasochistic fury known as “religious sensitivity” among Muslims. Contributors to The New York Times and NPR spoke of the need to find a balance between free speech and freedom of religion—as though the latter could possibly be infringed by a YouTube video. As predictable as Muslim bullying has become, the moral confusion of secular liberals appears to be part of the same clockwork…

What exactly was in the film? Who made it? What were their motives? Was Muhammad really depicted? Was that a Qur’an burning, or some other book? Questions of this kind are obscene. Here is where the line must be drawn and defended without apology: We are free to burn the Qur’an or any other book, and to criticize Muhammad or any other human being. Let no one forget it…

The freedom to think out loud on certain topics, without fear of being hounded into hiding or killed, has already been lost. And the only forces on earth that can recover it are strong, secular governments that will face down charges of blasphemy with scorn. No apologies necessary. Muslims must learn that if they make belligerent and fanatical claims upon the tolerance of free societies, they will meet the limits of that tolerance.

Emphasis mine. In other news today, our friends in Pakistan declared Friday to be a national day of protest and the Organization of the Islamic Conference is mobilizing to agree on an “action plan” against blasphemy. Meanwhile, in France, the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo is being protected by riot police tonight because it dared to publish new Mohammed cartoons today. And in spite of it all, the head of the UN is busy appeasing rioters by reassuring them that there’s no right to insult their faith. Perfect.

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