Al-Marayati Explores Religious Freedom & Free Speech in Europe

January 28, 2010

Last week, Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati traveled to Europe at the invitation of the State Department to speak about religious freedom and free speech. He spoke at UNESCO in Paris and at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

Al-Marayati explained that religious freedom and free speech are opposite sides of the same coin of human rights. Given the alarming degree of Islamophobia in Europe, some Muslim countries have sought to pass anti-defamation legislation to counter anti-Islamic rhetoric.

In Geneva, Al-Marayati told a group of Muslim ambassadors that legislation will not resolve the problem of Islamophobia, but rather, engagement in the political, social and cultural arenas of any society.

The Quran chronicles attacks against the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) without suppressing free speech.  Instead, the good work of the early Muslims replaced the negative stereotypes that others imposed on them.

The same applies in this day and age. Many of the ambassadors were thankful for Al-Marayati's perspective on this issue and for working to bridge the divide between Muslim and Western countries.

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