You are here

9. The relationship between freedom of expression and religious freedom [2]

Citation
Article title: 
9. The relationship between freedom of expression and religious freedom [2]
Publishers: 
Year: 
2009
Week: 
21
Article number: 
9
Article pages: 
p. 11
Date of source: 
21-05-2009
Author: 
Ahmad Fathi Surur
Reviewer: 
Basmah Ahmad al-Khashab
Text
Article summary: 

Prof. Dr. Fathī Surūr sheds due

light on the close relation between freedom of expression and religious freedom and how calling for religious hatred or

insults is but a manipulation of freedom of expression and should be criminalized.

Article full text: 

Prof. Dr. Ahmad Fathī Surūr

resumes the second part of his article ’The relationship between freedom of expression and religious freedom’ published in

al-Ahrām on May 20, 2009. In this part, Surūr tackles the second and the third problems. The second problem is

resorting legal measures to resolve the apparent dispute between the two types of freedom or standing against incitement to

religious hatred.
Most of the specialists during the conference organized by the Human Rights Council related to the

United Nations highlighted that it is not accurate to point to any contradiction between freedom of expression and religious

freedom because all human rights, they stressed, are universal and indivisible. Moreover, some of the countries shed light on

the importance of protecting Islamic communities from religious hatred directed against them. As a result, the conference

also stressed the importance of criminalizing any calls for religious hatred either through discrimination, enmity or

aggression.
Surūr concludes a number of principles from the discussions which took place about criminalizing

religious hatred. Firstly, stressing the close relation between freedom of expression and religious freedom, which mainly is

based on the freedom of expressing religious beliefs. The second principle is that each of the two types of freedom depends

mainly on a large degree of mutual tolerance and respect. Thirdly, constructive criticism should be respected.
The

third problem is how the religious affiliation of a country legally affects striking a balance between freedom of expression

and religious freedom. Surūr elaborates that some of the constitutions of democratic countries state the religious

identity to which the country subscribes. However, this is only a form of declaring the most prevalent religion in the

country without there being any legal consequences justifying putting limitations on freedom of expression. The Egyptian

Constitution respects the principle of religious freedom and the freedom of practicing religious rituals; each person has the

right to choose whatever religion to embrace. Consequently, stating the official religion of the country in the constitution

does not have any sort of influence on freedom of expression.

Information
Article counter: 
53
Text type: 
Quality: 
The article contains no obvious errors...
Classification: 
Opinion
Share this