The U.N. Human Rights Council recently passed a resolution urging nations to pass laws prohibiting the dissemination of ideas that “defame religion.” It appears that the resolution was partly a response to last year’s Danish cartoon crisis, where hordes of angry Muslims rioted in violent protest of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

“The advocates of this resolution perversely equate those who drew the Danish cartoons with those who rioted and threatened to murder the cartoonists,” said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. “Both, they say, are guilty of a crime and should be restrained and punished by the government–with the unstated caveat that the cartoonists are guiltier, since they allegedly incited the violent mobs by defaming Islam.

“To morally equate the Danish cartoonists with the Muslim rioters is to wipe out the distinction between speech and force. It is to declare there is no essential difference between the filmmaker Theo van Gogh,and the Muslim who murdered him for producing a film that ‘defamed Islam.’

“Freedom of speech means that individuals have the right to advocate any idea, without the threat of government censorship, regardless of how many people that idea may offend. To silence individuals in order to protect the sensibilities of mullahs and mobs is to wipe out this crucial right–and it is to whitewash the blood-stained hands of killers by declaring that they are no worse than those who peacefully criticize them.

“Yet this disgraceful moral equivalence is a symptom of the larger moral equivalence that pervades the U.N. Human Rights Council, which is based on the gross pretense that its members–including belligerent regimes such as Iran and Syria, and oppressive dictatorships such as China and Cuba–are champions of peace and individual rights. As a result, its main function is to provide a forum for thugs and dictators to criticize free nations such as the United States and Israel, while pushing their anti-freedom agendas.

“The United States should condemn this resolution–and the morally corrupt organization that produced it.”

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