MPAC & Human Rights First Condemn Hate Speech, Promote Freedom of Expression
September 28, 2012
Today, MPAC and Human Rights First released a joint statement condemning hate speech, opposing violence, and upholding freedom of expression.
“In the past few months, we have seen an increase in attacks against houses of worship and an increase in anti-Muslim speech,” said Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC’s President. “Standing with Human Rights First is an important step in allies coming together and standing up against these types of crimes. Hate speech has done nothing but poison our country and turn us against one another. At this time of unrest and unease, we, as a global community of concerned citizens, must come together to oppose hate and violence, while protecting freedom of speech.”
The joint statement outlines five important points that need to be taken to stop this growing culture of hate:
- Hate speech against Muslims must be taken seriously.
- Hatred must be fought through non-legal means, with responsible speech.
- Violence as a response to speech is unacceptable
- “Defamation of religions” or blasphemy laws do not protect individuals — they harm them.
- The United Nations must uphold freedom of expression.
The statement in part reads:
Hate speech that intends to degrade, intimidate or incite violence against someone based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or disability is harmful. In many parts of the world, there is a rise of hate speech against Muslims. Often, anti-Muslim prejudice is preceded by the malicious intent of dehumanizing Muslims and denigrating the prophet Muhammad or the Quran. We are also aware that hateful words can all too easily lead to physical attacks on Muslims and set off a cycle of violence.
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