Egypt and Yemen Speeches Set Up "Freedom of Expression" Clash


Washington, Sept. 27 — Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansour Hadi, addressing the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday, insisted that Western values, including and especially freedom of expression, must be tempered when they conflict with religious sensibilities.

Their stance, for which there is little sympathy in the United States, risks diplomatic and even geopolitical collisions between Western democracies and newly democratized Arab Spring countries.

Morsi emphasized that freedom of expression must not be permitted to “disregard others,” a point echoed by Hadi. Both men were referring to the privately produced film by a Coptic Christian man in California that negatively depicted Mohammed. The film triggered violent riots across the Muslim world and in several Western capitals.

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