Religion and Freedom of Expression: Freedom-Related Problems in Different Societies (A New Book)

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The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) published a new book entitled &#146Religion and Freedom of Expression: Freedom-Related Problems in Different Societies.” The book covers various studies including the problem of the Freedom of Expression in the Danish Caricature Crisis; the problem of Freedom of Expression in Egypt; Freedom of Expression in the Jurisprudence of the Egyptian Judiciary and the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) Judicial System.

The book, edited by Ragab Saad Taha and introduced by Radwan Ziyada, comprised many studies by a group of experts, academics, human rights activists, poets, journalists, writers and judges. Writers include Salah Eissa, Hisham el-Bastawesi, Helmi Salem, Mahmoud el-Werdany, Bahey el-Din Hassan, Ali Mabrouk, Ezz el-Din Nageeb, Sameh Fawzi, Radwan Ziyada, Khaled Salah and Hafez Abo Seda in addition to other international experts.

The book includes the first Arabic translation of a guideline on the implementation of the ECHR of Article 10 (on freedom of Expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. It also includes a paper prepared by the Danish Institute for Human Rights on Freedom of Expression and Contempt of Religions in the Danish Law.

It is worth mentioning that the book is the outcome of a six-month program on Freedom of Expression across Cultures in which many international and Arab organizations took part. The program was initiated by the CIHRS, and implemented in cooperation with the Denmark-based International Media Support (IMS), the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), Article 19 Organization, the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights and the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies.

The program aimed at encouraging dialogue between Egyptian and Danish journalists with regard to freedom of expression-related problems in Arab and European contexts in the aftermath of the Danish caricature crisis. It also aimed at identifying lessons learned by both parties to promote freedom of expression. Other objectives include promoting cooperation between Mediterranean civilizations that have been recently suffering tension reflected in a group of crises with a cultural character. In this framework, it was noted that the civil society in the southern Mediterranean region should play a role in reaching out to its North Mediterranean counterpart, and that efforts should be exerted to promote cooperation and improve strained relations between both regions. Furthermore, the examination of the impact the difference in the political and cultural contexts has on the exercise of freedom of expression, in addition to raising awareness about the problems of freedom of expression from a human rights perspective.

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