The tensions between free speech and religious sensitivities are an ongoing source of political conflict, both within western democracies and within the UN human rights system where rivalling states compete to define the limits of freedom of expression. Examining the debate on free speech and its limits in the context of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in 2015 and the Danish cartoon affair in 2005, this article analyzes the discursive similarities between secular critics of religious satire and Muslim-majority states in the UN. In both cases, censorship is justified on the basis of combating racism, hate speech, intolerance and related human rights violations. Instead of applying theological doctrines and religious language, the article shows how the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is gradually adopting secular and leftist mainstream human rights language in its quest to instal new international censorship norms.
- Freedom of expression
- Organization of Islamic Cooperation
- Charlie Hebdo
- Danish Cartoons
- Hate Speech