EXMNA Input Included in UN Report on Religious Hatred
Press Release
February 14, 2024
The report acknowledged the negative effects of "de facto" blasphemy laws.

Ex-Muslims of North America’s (EXMNA) input has been included in the recent Report on Hatred on the Basis of Religion or Belief from the United Nations (UN) by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. It will be read and discussed as an agenda item at the upcoming 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council which is scheduled to take place from February 26th to April 5th, 2024.

The Special Rapporteur “calls for greater efforts to counter hate speech, promote freedom of religion or belief, foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue and understanding and protect religious and belief minorities while upholding all human rights” in the report. EXMNA’s input focused specifically on laws targeting “religious hate speech” as they frequently act as tacit blasphemy laws.

“EXMNA has long pointed out that laws which criminalize ‘hurting religious sentiments’ or ‘defaming religious belief’ are almost always blasphemy laws by a different name in their implementation,” said Muhammad Syed, President of EXMNA. “In most Muslim-majority countries, and also increasingly frequently in other countries such as India, these laws serve as a mechanism to enforce respect for the orthodoxy of the country’s religious majority and to suppress the freedoms of religious minorities including non-believers. We applaud the UN Special Rapporteur for recognizing this fact, based in part on EXMNA’s input.”

While the report still maintains that some state action is necessary in order to curtail religious hatred that can lead to violence, it notes that failure to consider the context of how such laws can be misused can be detrimental to the ultimate goal of ensuring freedom of conscience for all believers and non-believers. This is a position EXMNA shares, while also advocating for the total repeal of all de jure and de facto blasphemy laws.

EXMNA’s input to the report is included in section V, “Countering hatred and transformative approaches.” The report can be accessed in six languages here.

Don't miss out
Stay up to date with our work, news and events
0 / 40
0 / 40
© 2024 Ex-Muslims of North America. All rights reserved.
Powered by Contentful