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Free to disagree

"Free to disagree" Continued...

Issue: "2009 Daniel of the Year," Dec. 19, 2009

In the global debate, the Obama administration has support against the defamation resolutions from a strange alliance of international nongovernmental organizations. Over 100 NGOs-a spectrum of groups from the Baptist World Alliance to the American Humanist Association to the American Islamic Congress-signed a common statement on the matter in November. "From the beginning the issue has made odd bedfellows," said Becket's Wu, adding that she hopes more Muslim American groups sign on.

"United Nations resolutions on the 'defamation of religions' are incompatible with the fundamental freedoms of individuals to freely exercise and peacefully express their thoughts, ideas, and beliefs," the statement reads.

This kind of backing gives the United States some ammunition to win new allies and defeat the resolutions-not this December, but maybe at some future General Assembly. Open Doors' Vessey, for example, worked with other organizations to lobby UN members to vote "no." Whether the country's diplomatic arm remains committed to lobbying countries to vote "no" remains an open question.

"It seems that on this issue the State Department is taking the right stand," said Vessey. "As far as how much they're doing behind the scenes, it's hard to tell."

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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