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Mr. Speaker, freedom of speech is one of the most basic of all human rights. However, more and more European countries are arresting individuals for insult speech. Speech to be free must allow individuals to criticize religion and government.

The first amendment protecting speech and press is first because it's the most important. But in Europe, speech must be politically and religiously correct. Criticize or insult another person's religion and you're likely to be hauled off to prison thanks tothe speech police. After all, heaven forbid, offensive or insult speech may hurt somebody's feelings.

In Germany, an insult to a religion can be a crime worthy of imprisonment. Recently, a 61-year-old German businessman was convicted and sent to jail for offending Islam. The same thing happened in Britain where Nick Griffin was prosecuted for describing Islam as a ``vicious and wicked faith.''

Free speech must be universal. If controversial issues like religion and politics cannot be debated in countries, the people are not free, even in Europe.

Teddy Roosevelt once said, ``Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free.''

And that's just the way it is.

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