Protecting the Rights of Christians and Religious Minorities in the Muslim World.

Remarks by the Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mr. Rashad Hussain on November 30, 2012 at the Second National Baptist-Muslim Dialogue, Newton, MA.

Mr. Rashad Hussain expresses the debate between the United States’ position on Freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment and the international community’s approach of combatting hate speech, thus restricting “defamation of religions.”

To promote interfaith dialogue, should we restrict freedom of expression?

“After the release of an anti-Islamic film earlier this year, some have called for governments around the world to implement legal restrictions on speech. We disagree with this approach. In the United States, when something offensive is published, rather than asking the government to ban it and then considering their job done, religious communities – including Muslim communities – have instead decided to peacefully raise awareness about misrepresentations of their faith and educate society about their beliefs and to address the underlying cause of intolerance. That is why Muslim Americans have hosted dozens of forums on Islam and the life of the Prophet Muhammad, and why they have come together with people of all faiths to condemn the anti-Islamic sentiment.”

Which approach do you think is best?