By Scotty Reid
Muslim school children, many of whom are non-white are facing increased acts of individual terrorism and mob violence in the UK following the attack on the French publication Charlie Hebdo which unashamedly and frequently engages in hate speech towards various groups the least of which is its continued provocations towards Muslims with crass and juvenile depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. Unlike Jews and Judaism, the European Union has no hate speech protections for other religions and their adherents.
In large part, the movement to circumscribe the bounds of free expression has its roots in three instruments of international law—the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Religious Discrimination (CERD), andthe International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 10 of the ECHR, for example, grants the freedom of expression to all, but the exercise of this right is conditioned on conformity with the restrictions necessary, inter alia, “for the protection of the reputation and rights of others.” The CERD and ICCPR, which also purport to recognize the freedom of expression, go a step further. Article 4(a) of the CERD obligates signatories to make “all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred” a punishable offense, while Article 20 of the ICCPR requires outlawing “any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.”
Due to the supposed sacred right of free speech often used to antagonize groups being denied protections under International law with baseless propaganda, the cycle of violence continues which includes physical and verbal attacks on children because of their religious and/or racial classifications.
Press TV reports,
A UK charity monitoring anti-Muslim hate crime has recorded a significant increase in incidents in schools in the wake of the killings in Paris. ‘Tell MAMA’ says it has logged 112 abuse cases with both parents and teachers reporting verbal and physical attacks against Muslim students. In one case, a teenage Muslim pupil at a school in Oxfordshire was allegedly slapped and called a terrorist by classmates. Elsewhere in France, the National Observatory against Islamophobia says 128 anti-Muslim attacks have been registered over the past two weeks which is almost equal to the total number of such attacks last year.
I must again say to so-called free speech absolutist that while I agree that everyone should have the right to criticize their governments, public officials and even religious authorities as the framers of the US Constitution intended, I assert that those rights end when it begins to infringe on the rights of others not to be targeted with unsupported claims which amount to racial and religious hate speech that often leads to real world negative consequences for those targeted and has been proven to have an ill affect on the larger society time and time again.