New York, Oct.4 : An anti-blasphemy resolution passed by the United Nations has been criticized in certain quarters as attempting to curtail the right to freedom of speech.
Religious groups and free-speech advocates are banding together to fight the resolution, which they say is being used to spread Sharia law to the Western world and to intimidate anyone who criticizes Islam.
The non-binding resolution on "Combating the Defamation of Religion" is intended to curtail speech that offends religion -- particularly Islam, they add.
It was adopted in 2007 and stresses the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred, against Islam and Muslims in particular."
The U.S. government mission in Geneva, in a statement, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in July that "defamation-related laws have been abused by governments and used to restrict human rights" around the world, and sometimes Westerners have been caught in the web.
Critics give some recent news events as examples of how the U.N. "blasphemy resolution" has emboldened Islamic authorities and threatened Westerners.