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Freedom of Expression and Religious Hate Speech in Europe Book Launch

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Middlesex University London

The Burroughs

Room C219-20, College Building

London

NW4 4BT

United Kingdom

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School of Law Book Launch

Freedom of Expression and Religious Hate Speech in Europe

Dr. Erica Howard, Associate Professor in Law

Tuesday 28 November 2017, 17:30, Middlesex University

17:30 Tea, 2nd Floor Mezzanine, College Building

18:00 Talk, The Boardroom C219-20

19:00 Drinks reception

Description: In recent years, the Danish cartoons affair, the Charlie Hebdo murders and the terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris have resulted in increasingly strident anti-Islamic speeches by politicians. This raises questions about the limits to freedom of expression and whether this freedom can and should be restricted to protect the religious feelings of believers. This book uses the case law of the European Court of Human Rights to provide a comprehensive analysis of the questions: whether legal prohibitions of religious hate speech violate the right to freedom of expression; and, whether such laws should be used to prosecute politicians and others who contribute to current debates when they use anti-Islam rhetoric. A well-known politician who uses such rhetoric is Dutch politician Geert Wilders. He has been prosecuted twice for hate speech, and was acquitted in the first case and recently convicted in the second. These prosecutions are used to illustrate the issues involved in drawing the line between freedom of expression and religious hate speech. The author argues that freedom of expression of politicians and those contributing to the public debate should not be restricted except in two very limited circumstances: when they incite to hatred or violence and there is an imminent danger that violence will follow or where it stops people from holding or manifesting their religion. Based on this, the author concludes that the European Court of Human Rights should decide, if it is asked to do so, that Wilders conviction for hate speech violates his freedom of expression.

Erica Howard is Associate Professor in law. She joined Middlesex in 2007 and previously briefly taught European Union Law at the University of Hertfordshire. She holds a doctorate in law from the University of London on the subject of race and racial discrimination within the European Union.

Her areas of research are equality and discrimination law, human rights and European law and she has published widely on topics within this area including racial discrimination, religious discrimination and freedom of religion, multiple discrimination and the right to equality. She has been involved in two projects for the British Equality and Human Rights Commission, a project on the right to freedom of religion or belief and its intersection with other rights for ILGA-Europe and two major European research projects on multiple discrimination. She has written a research study for the EU Parliament Research Service on the implementation of Directive 2000/78/EC with regard to the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of religion or belief. Her recent research includes freedom of expression and religious hate speech.

Erica teaches equality and discrimination law at undergraduate level and Uk and EU anti-discrimination law at post-graduate level. She has supervised to completion three PhD students studying disability discrimination, vulnerable domestic workers and age discrimination and is currently supervising PhD students studying different aspects of disability and sexual orientation discrimination, vulnerable workers and freedom of speech and defamation. She welcomes applications from research students in any of the areas of her research.

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Middlesex University London

The Burroughs

Room C219-20, College Building

London

NW4 4BT

United Kingdom

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