CFI UK Blasphemy Conference

Recorded on the 28th January 2012 at Conway Hall in London, CFI UK (and the British Humanist Association) organised a conference on blasphemy. This event focused on the criminalization of religious hatred, defamation, and insult under European human rights, and how this functions as a de facto blasphemy law.

It was organised and introduced by Dr Stephen Law of Heythrop College, University of London and Editor of Think (Royal Institute Philosophy) Provost of Centre for Inquiry UK.

We have three of the talks available here. We hope to add the other two – pending permission from the speakers.

Andrew Copson – Blasphemy laws by the back door

Andrew Copson has been chief executive of the British Humanist Association since 2010 before which he spent five years coordinating the association’s campaigns work including on blasphemy and free speech issues.

After decades of campaigning the criminal offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel have been abolished but censorship of blasphemous content and even threatened prosecution of blaspheme’s continues in the UK. Andrew explores how corporate interests, opaque advertising regulations and new criminal laws continue to stifle free expression, free criticism and mockery of gods and religions.

Austin Dacey – The Future of Blasphemy

Austin Dacey, Ph.D., is a representative to the United Nations for the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the author of The Future of Blasphemy:

If blasphemy is an affront to values that are held sacred, then it is too important to be left to the traditionally religious. In the public contestation of the sacred, each of us—secular and religious alike—has equal right and authority to speak on its behalf and equal claim to redress for its violation. Laws against blasphemy and “religious hatred” are inherently discriminatory because they give traditional faith communities a legal remedy that is not available to religious minorities and secularists when their sense of the sacred is violated.

Maryam Namazie – Blasphemy, Offence, and Islamophobia limiting Citizen Rights

Maryam will be speaking on how accusations of blasphemy, offensive speech and ‘Islamophobia’ censor and restrict free speech, limit citizen rights, and aid and abet Islamism. Maryam Namazie is Spokesperson of the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran. She is also National Secular Society Honorary Associate and the NSS’ 2005 Secularist of the Year award winner and was selected one of the top 45 women of the year 2007 by Elle magazine Quebec.

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