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Religious Offence and Human Rights
The Implications of Defamation of Religions


Part of Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law

  • Date Published: July 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107039575

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About the Authors
  • Should international law be concerned with offence to religions and their followers? Even before the 2005 publication of the Danish Mohammed cartoons, Muslim States have endeavoured to establish some reputational protection for religions on the international level by pushing for recognition of the novel concept of 'defamation of religions'. This study recounts these efforts as well as the opposition they aroused, particularly by proponents of free speech. It also addresses the more fundamental issue of how religion and international law may relate to each other. Historically, enforcing divine commands has been the primary task of legal systems, and it still is in numerous municipal jurisdictions. By analysing religious restrictions of blasphemy and sacrilege as well as international and national norms on free speech and freedom of religion, Lorenz Langer argues that, on the international level at least, religion does not provide a suitable rationale for legal norms.

    • Recounts the controversies over 'defamation of religions' and the efforts to establish the concept on the international level
    • Provides in-depth legal analysis, but situates this analysis in a wider context through a combination of legal, historical and theological scholarship
    • Addresses the potential conflict between human rights and religion, taking into account both the historical normative importance of religion and its problematic aspects today
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Langer provides one of the most compelling accounts of the background to, and story of, the 'defamation of religions' debate across the UN throughout the 2000s … This book needs to be read.' Malcolm Evans, Ecclesiastical Law Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107039575
    • length: 462 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 29 mm
    • weight: 0.81kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I:
    1. The Danish cartoons revisited
    2. Legal responses to religious insult
    3. The current legal framework
    4. Invention of new alternatives? The concept of defamation of religions before and after the cartoons
    5. Defining defamation
    Part II:
    6. First principles: norms and norm-rationales
    7. Norm-rationales for the regulation of speech
    8. The religious rationale
    9. Religion, its defamation, and international law.

  • Author

    Lorenz Langer, Universität Zürich
    Lorenz Langer is a lecturer at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and a Senior Research Fellow at its Centre for Research on Direct Democracy. He is also the managing editor of the Swiss Review of European and International Law.

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