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Brian Pellot: On Freedom

The UAE’s new anti-discrimination law is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

By Brian Pellot — July 21, 2015
Anti-discrimination laws should protect people. The United Arab Emirates’ new law, issued by royal decree, criminalizes the criticism of religions and ideas. It should be scrapped.

United against violence in the name of religion…up to a point

By Brian Pellot — July 20, 2015
If freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief are mutually reinforcing rights, why are we still arguing over the rules of engagement and sidelining key stakeholders?

When thin-skinned Zoroastrians sue Snoop Dogg, we all lose

By Brian Pellot — July 8, 2015
Members of India’s Parsi community are suing Snoop Dogg and others for featuring a Zoroastrian symbol in a new music video they’ve deemed “insensitive” to their faith. Whatever comes of this baseless lawsuit, free speech will suffer.

Gay marriage * Ramadan deaths * Abortion drone: June’s Religious Freedom Recap

By Brian Pellot — July 2, 2015
America remains buried under three feet of glitter. More than 1,000 people have died during a Ramadan heatwave in Karachi. And an “abortion drone” was spotted dropping pills over conservative Poland. Read on.

#LoveWins for gay couples, but for polygamy activists, the fight continues

By Brian Pellot — June 30, 2015
As the glitter settles following a weekend of SCOTUS celebrations and Pride marches, group marriage activists fight on. Is polygamy the next slide on our slippery slope to damnation or the next rung on our steep climb towards full civil rights and equality in America?

South African lesbians counter violence with visibility in ‘African Pride’

By Brian Pellot — June 11, 2015
In South Africa’s townships, where homosexuality is widely considered “un-African” and “un-Christian,” the rape and murder of lesbians is often met with indifference and impunity. Filmmaker Laura Fletcher shows how local activists are fighting for dignity, and their lives.

Raif Badawi sentence highlights Saudi Arabia’s human rights hypocrisy

By Brian Pellot — June 9, 2015
Last week, a high-level conference on combating religious intolerance was hosted in Saudi Arabia, a U.N. Human Rights Council member state. Three days later, Saudi leveraged its own brand of religious intolerance to keep blogger Raif Badawi in prison, facing lashes and fines.

VIDEO: Journalists & Religious Leaders Reflect on Faith in Myanmar Media

By Brian Pellot — June 5, 2015
Religion Newswriters Foundation gathered a panel of journalists and faith leaders representing Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism to discuss how they see local media portrayals of faith in Myanmar.

Geller effect * Rohingya plight * Dad-son marriage: May’s Religious Freedom Recap

By Brian Pellot — June 2, 2015
Gunmen strengthen Pamela Geller’s brand of Islamophobia. Thousands of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya remain stranded at sea. And a Pennsylvania “father” plans to wed his legally adopted “son.” Read on.

VIDEO: Religious Freedom & Foreign Policy

By Brian Pellot — May 22, 2015
Last month's lively Newseum debate about the role of religious freedom in foreign policy.

Countering violent extremism and hate speech in the age of social media

By Brian Pellot — May 22, 2015
Yes, violent extremists can use social media to spread lies and recruit disenfranchised communities, but peace advocates can just as easily use social media to counter these messages of hatred and intolerance without stifling freedom of expression.

Who are the Rohingya and why are they fleeing Myanmar?

By Brian Pellot — May 20, 2015
Thousands of Rohingya people have left Myanmar this spring and at least hundreds are now stranded at sea. Who are these Rohingya and what are they running from?

Amos Yee case exposes Singapore’s forced harmony, sacrificial freedoms

By Brian Pellot — May 13, 2015
Singapore intolerantly forces tolerance on its residents, crushing criticism and dissent with vague laws that criminalize obscenity and religious insult. The latest victim of this hypocrisy? Foul-mouthed teen blogger Amos Yee.

Get rich quick! How to crowdfund your intolerance in 3 easy steps

By Brian Pellot — May 7, 2015
Want to make a quick buck? How about hundreds of thousands? Just say something outrageous, claim you’ve been persecuted, and watch the money roll in.

5 takeaways from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s new report

By Brian Pellot — May 6, 2015
The Central African Republic is bad, Malaysia is getting worse, and ISIS fighters should face the International Criminal Court. Despite much gloom and doom, silver linings offer some hope in USCIRF’s latest report.
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