Free speech divides United Nations
The annual U.N. General Assembly meeting, which is intended to celebrate the world's common values, this year is exposing instead the gulf between Western and Islamic perspectives on freedom of expression, posing an unexpected challenge for President Obama when he speaks here Tuesday.
Prompted by the anti-Islam video produced in California that has stirred deadly riots around the world, delegations from major Muslim nations have arrived at the U.N. prepared to demand international curbs on speech or media that they believe defame their religion or the prophet Muhammad.
Western leaders say they won't give ground on free speech, but the clash is souring the mood at a gathering that diplomats had hoped would yield new collaboration on Syria, the dispute over Iran's nuclear development and the challenges newly elected governments face a year after the "Arab Spring" toppled authoritarian rulers in the Middle East and North Africa.
The demand for limits on anti-Muslim expression is coming from leading Islamic groups such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and leaders as diverse as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Continue reading at articles.latimes.com