U.S. State Department rejects "defamation of religions"
On the occasion of the release of its 2008 International Religious Freedom Report on 19 September, the U.S. State Department rejected the concept of "defamation of religions," and affirmed the right of individuals to criticize religions. From Ambassador John Hanford's statement:
The United States advocates religious freedom for all faiths, which means we take a leading role in defending the religious freedom of Muslims around the world. However, it is because of this commitment that we take issue with efforts by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and its members like Pakistan and Egypt, in promoting the problematic concept of defamation of religions at the United Nations. As Secretary Rice mentioned a moment ago, this flawed concept seeks to weaken the freedoms of religion and expression by restricting the rights of individuals to share their views or criticize religions; in particular, Islam. The OIC's approach to defamation of religions is inconsistent with international human rights law, and is an attempt to export the blasphemy laws found in several OIC countries to the international level.