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Writers Speaking Out on Religious Defamation and Free Speech

As part of the United Nations side-session panel discussion about free expression and religious defamation with Dr. Agnes Callamard, Tariq Ramadan, Budhy M. Rahman, and John Ralston Saul, PEN American Center asked Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka, Ariel Dorfman, Azar Nafisi, and Kwame Anthony Appiah to make express their views in a video statement. All of the participants echoed John Ralston Saul's message that individuals have an absolute right to practice their religion freely and without discrimination or threat of violence, and that prohibitions on religious defamation are not an effective means to reduce bigotry or religious hatred.