Defamation of Religions redux

So…since my last post, I’ve been in Mexico City, Warsaw, Krakow, and London, mostly, but not entirely, for work.  I don’t know why I bother pretending to blog anymore.  I’ll post pictures soon, but in the meantime, here is a snippet of why Warsaw, and below are two places you can hear me blabber this Wednesday, October 21, if you’re interested: Congressional Human Rights Commission at 11am and a Georgetown University symposium at 1:30pm. Details below.

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC)
Hearing Announcement: Implications of the Promotion of “Defamation of Religions”

Wednesday, October 21
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Rayburn B-318

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a timely hearing to discuss the implications of the concept of “defamation of religions.” For the past several years, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council and the General Assembly have adopted resolutions promoting the concept of “defamation of religions.”

Panel I
U.S. Department of State
Leonard Leo, chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Panel II
[–], international law director, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Tad Stanke, director of policy and programs, Human Rights First
Zainab Al-Suwaij, executive director, American Islamic Congress

***Witness list subject to change.

If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Hoffman (Rep. Wolf) or Hans Hogrefe (Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599.

Frank R. Wolf, M.C. James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC Co-Chairman, TLHRC

Georgetown University
Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs

Human Rights and the Defamation of Religions
October 21, 2009 | 01:30PM
Hotung International Law Building, Dining Room

rsvp required

For several years, various UN bodies have enacted resolutions condemning the “defamation of religions,” arising from the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. This raises complex issues at the intersection of domestic and international law and policy. How do states conceptualize the relationship between freedom of speech, censorship, blasphemy laws, and the prohibition on defamation or hate speech? Can theological debate and criticism of religion be disentangled from defamatory and violence-inciting speech? In what way is “defamation of religion” a human rights issue? How has this debate played out at the international level–what actors and states support or oppose these resolutions and why? What is the future prospect for enacting stricter condemnations of the defamation of religion?

This event is held at the Georgetown University Law Center campus at 550 First St. NW, Washington DC 20001. A map of campus, with the Hotung Building marked in red, is available here.

1:30-1:40: Welcome Remarks

Alex Aleinikoff, Dean, Georgetown Law

1:40-2:00: Introduction to the Issues

Abdullahi An-Na’im, Charles Howard Candler Professor, Emory Law School and Senior Visiting Fellow, Berkley Center

2:00-2:55: Panel 1: Defamation of Religions at the State Level

Moderator: [–], International Law Director, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Knox Thames, Acting Executive Director, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Senior Program Manager, Human Rights and Religious Freedom, Freedom House

3:00-3:55: Panel 2: International Human Rights in Tension

Moderator: Ted Piccone, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director for Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution
Abdullahi An-Na’im, Charles Howard Candler Professor, Emory Law School and Senior Visiting Fellow, Berkley Center
José Casanova, Professor, Department of Sociology, Georgetown University; Senior Fellow, Berkley Center
Tad Stahnke, Director of Policy and Programs, Human Rights First

4:00-5:00: Keynote Address

Frank LaRue, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression

5:00-6:00: Reception, Alumni Lounge, Hotung International Law Building