The State Department began a three-day, closed-door meeting Monday to talk about U.S. free speech rules with representatives from numerous Islamic governments that have lobbied for 12 years to end U.S. citizens’ ability to speak freely about Islam’s history and obligations.
Free speech advocates slammed the event as an effort to gradually curb public criticism of Islam, but it was defended by Hannah Rosenthal, who heads the agency’s office to curb anti-Semitism. The meeting is a great success, she said, because governments in the multinational Organisation for Islamic Cooperation have dropped their demand that criticism of Islamic ideas be treated as illegal defamation. Member countries include Pakistan, Iran, Saudia Arabia and Qatar.
In exchange for dropping the demand, she said, they’re getting “technical assistance [to ] build institutions to ensure there will be religious freedom” in their countries, she told The Daily Caller.