Censorship of Religious Texts: The Limits of Pluralism
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law
October, 28 2008
University of Technology, Sydney Law Review, Vol. 8, pp. 49-65, 2006
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/120
This article focuses on an established area of Australian law which has been recently redeployed to restrict freedom of expression for anti-terrorism purposes. Long a field of controversy, particularly in the arts, literature and student media, censorship law is a politically malleable tool which has now been applied ostensibly to avert the incitement of terrorism. This article analyses two decisions of Australia's Classification Review Board in mid-2006 to refuse classification to two radical Islamic publications concerning 'jihad': Join the Caravan and Defence of the Muslim Lands. It first outlines the reasons for the decisions, before questioning whether the decisions were correctly made. It then examines whether the criteria for refusing classification are appropriate for dealing with religious texts, particularly in a climate of pervasive anti-terrorism sentiment which increasingly devalues freedom of expression as something which jeopardizes the higher public good of security.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: terrorism, censorship, classification, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, pluralism
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K40Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 31, 2008
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