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US Tries to Break 'Religious Defamation' vs. Free Speech Deadlock at UN
by Patrick Goodenough
Seeking to break a longstanding impasse between Western and Islamic nations over freedom of expression, the United States has piloted a finely-balanced resolution through the U.N.'s Human Rights Council which the two sides are choosing to interpret differently.
The resolution was adopted unanimously on Friday, the last day of a month-long session of the Geneva-based council which saw the U.S. actively participating as a member for the first time.
Free speech advocacy groups gave the move a cautious welcome, saying it marked an improvement but still posed difficulties.
The clash between freedom of expression and religious sensibilities, fueled by the furor over the newspaper cartoons satirizing Mohammed, has been one of the most consistently divisive issues in the HRC in its first three years of operation.
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