Saturday, January 5, 2019

European Court of Human Rights Promotes Human Wrongs

European Court of Human Rights Promotes Human Wrongs

by Tommaso Virgili  •  January 5, 2019 at 5:00 am
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  • One might also wonder where, in the European Convention on Human Rights, "feelings" are mentioned. Following the court's logic, would it be appropriate to cover the windows of steakhouses not to hurt the feelings of animal activists? Or only if they threatened to riot? Is the new ruling just a capitulation to extortionistic threats of violence?
  • The supposition seems to be, "If you had just kept quiet, these bad things (fill in the blank) would not be happening." It is both a false premise -- the "bad things" might have happened anyway, as they did, for example, when the Bataclan Theater in Paris or the Brussels airport were attacked -- and it is a demand for enforced self-censorship. Moreover, who gets to decide who is accountable? Who watches the watchers?
  • How soon will the public be asked to stop other activities -- drinking alcohol, men and women dancing together, ringing church bells, art that depicts the human image, separation of religion and state, and equal justice under the law for women, to name just a few -- that also might hurt "religious feelings?"
  • Will the ECHR's Grand Chamber -- the only authority that could reverse the decision -- correct this treacherous path?
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that criticism of Islamic prophet Mohammed constitutes incitement to hatred and therefore is not protected free speech. Pictured: A courtroom of the ECHR in Strasbourg, France. (Image source: Adrian Grycuk/Wikimedia Commons)
October 26 marked a historic day for Ireland, where citizens, in a national referendum, overwhelmingly voted to repeal the country's blasphemy law.
Blasphemy remains a serious offence in many parts of the world, in some Muslim countries even requiring the death penalty.
More astonishing is that even some European countries are criminalizing "defamation of religion".
Recently, an actor was detained in Spain for failing to appear in court where he would face the accusation of "having insulted God and the Virgin Mary".
The outcome of the Irish referendum will entail a modification of the Irish Constitution, which states in Article 40.6.1:
"The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law."


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