UN rights body votes in favour of banning Quran burnings, National Secular Society (UK), 2023-07-12.
Members of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) today voted in favour of a resolution for the “deliberately and publicly” burning of the Quran or “any other holy book” to be prohibited by law. The UK voted against the resolution. In a statement yesterday, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “we do not accept that, by definition, attacks on religion, including on religious texts or symbols, constitute advocacy for hatred.” Other states opposed to the motion included France, Germany and the USA, but they were outvoted 28 to 12.
NSS chief executive Stephen Evans said: “Equating the desecration of religious books and symbols with incitement to violence is a pernicious attempt to impose blasphemy laws by stealth. The Islamic nations behind this resolution have long been more interested in protecting religion than protecting individuals.”
This resolution represents a serious threat to freedom of expression globally and, as the NSS points out, a pernicious attempt to restore blasphemy laws by stealth. The resolution builds on the unfortunate decision of the General Assembly in 2022 to declare March 15 the International Day to Combat so-called “Islamophobia.”
- Human Rights Council Condemns and Strongly Rejects Any Manifestation of Religious Hatred, Including Recent Public Acts of Desecration of the Holy Quran, 2023-07-12.