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ICC Note: The book Silenced by Paul Marshall has  documented the abuse of legal structures to persecute religious minorities has documented its use, in Egypt and elsewhere. Over the past 3 years there were more than 60 cases of “contempt of religion” charges brought against those who have spoken out against the specific interpretation of the majority religion. 
2/13/2014 Egypt (MidEast Christian News) – Egypt witnessed over 60 cases of “contempt of religion” in the past three years, with most charges during the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, said prominent Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute Paul Marshall in an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm Thursday, discussing his new book, “Silenced.”
Egypt, he said, is in an “intermediate position” between the countries with a high degree of religious freedom and those with the lowest degree, adding the nation was better than Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but worse than Europe, the Baltic States, Morocco and Indonesia.
Marshall added that the reign of the military junta also witnessed more cases than under Mubarak’s regime, and there are “strong indications” of a decline in the contempt of religion charges after June 30, 2013.
Those he said were “silenced” were “media professionals and journalists, who are silent about the charges of contempt of religion against infividuals because of their ideas and beliefs.”
“As we head eastward to India, we find an increase in the rates of charging individuals with contempt of religions, while this rate declines as we go westward,” Marshall noted.
“In the long term, countries with alarming rates of the spread of hate speech and religious discrimination must start to reform their educational systems and provide a climate of pluralism that enhances tolerance and maintenance of human tendencies. This applies to the media and the public opinion institutions. In the short term, religious leaders and local communities with enlightened ideas can focus on a speech of tolerance and liberty and upholding common tendencies of human civilization instead of focusing on discourses of murder, destruction and revenge,” Marshall added.
He added that the imposition of laws leads to gagging voices and preventing ideas flow and argumentative discussions, and it would not change people’s convictions.
“Europe, for example, has an arsenal of laws to criminalize hate speech and anti-Semitism; however, we spotted cases of hatred. In the United States, there are no laws to criminalize hatred or anti-Semitism; yet there are fewer cases of hate. This of course does not negate the right of the state to punish those involved in a hate crime, such as assault on people or property, in accordance with the natural local laws. I think that the enactment of special laws to protect minorities and houses of worship of a particular community will increase the tension and worsen conflicts,” he told the newspaper.
Marshall said the 2014 Egyptian constitution is “relatively better” than previous constitutions as it provides for some religious freedom, even though it allows charges of contempt of religion.

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