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Is there a right not to be of ended in one's religious beliefs?

Letsas, G; (2012) Is there a right not to be of ended in one's religious beliefs? In: Law, State and Religion in the New Europe: Debates and Dilemmas. (pp. 239-260).

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© Cambridge University Press 2012. This chapter explores the place of religion in Europe, which is the general theme of this volume, through the lens of European human rights law and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in particular. I will focus on the normative claim that freedom of religion requires respect for the religious convictions of believers when expressing oneself in public; or, put differently, the claim that there is a right not to be insulted in one's religious beliefs by the public expression of the views of others. This claim has been endorsed by the European Court of Human Rights in its judicial reasoning and is popular with many courts in Europe when reviewing criminal legislation that prohibits blasphemy, religious hate speech or the disparaging of (known) religious doctrines. The claim, if true, justifies the position that a liberal state may sanction or prevent the public expression of views for the reason that they offend, or are likely to cause offense to, religious convictions. The claim has recently become the subject of much controversy and public debate, following the publication of the Danish cartoons and the subsequent riots around the world that resulted in the death of dozens of people. Various legal proceedings were initiated at national level complaining that the publication violated the right to freedom of religion of Muslims. Religious organizations called for stricter regulation of speech that offends religious doctrine. Meanwhile many liberal politicians, intellectuals and lawyers defended fiercely the freedom to publish cartoons and condemned regulation as a violation of free speech. The debate is still raging and it is typically cast in terms of what the appropriate balance is between freedom of expression on one hand and freedom of religion on the other.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Is there a right not to be of ended in one's religious beliefs?
ISBN-13: 9781139022729
DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139022729.011
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Laws
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1379167
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