Americans value, perhaps more than any other right, their freedom of speech. This includes all forms of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
In recent years, America’s unique freedoms have come under assault from abroad.
For instance, the late Saudi Prince Khalid bin Mahfouz and members of his family have filed at least 40 lawsuits against US publishers, writers and journalists, for quoting US government officials and documents which implicated the Prince and his family in financing Jihadist terrorism. The Mahfouz family’s preferred method for filing such suits has been to employ “libel tourism,” in which the plaintiff seeks and finds a friendly jurisdiction in which to file a suit.
But libel tourism is far from the only threat to free speech manifesting itself from outside our borders.
In response to the publication of the infamous “Mohammed” cartoons, Islamic clerics, sheikhs, scholars and ayatollahs either encouraged Muslims to react violently or threatened to do so. As a result, publishers, writers, journalists and book retailers have all self-censored themselves to appease the sensitivities of those who would resort to violence. We believe that this sets a dangerous precedent.
Now, as a result of these episodes, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a 57-nation voting bloc in the United Nations, is promoting resolutions prohibiting the “defamation of religion.” Again, we believe that this type of activity sets a dangerous precedent in stifling and intimidating the free speech, free expression and free press which form a bedrock of America’s constitutional liberties.