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Norwood v. the United Kingdom, dec., No. 23131/03, ECtHR (Second Section), 16 November 2004


Conviction for displaying a poster inciting to religious hatred. Lawful interference with freedom of expression.

Normative references

Art. 10 ECHR
Art. 17 ECHR


Public expressions that link a religious group as a whole with a grave act of terrorism are incompatible with the values guaranteed by the Convention, notably tolerance, social peace and non-discrimination. By virtue of Article 17 ECHR, such expressions do not enjoy the protection of Article 10 ECHR. 
(In the instant case, the applicant was convicted of aggravated hostility towards a religious group for having displayed in his window a poster representing the Twin Towers in flame, that was accompanied by the words “Islam out of Britain – Protect the British People”. He contended the breach of his right to freedom of expression. The Court found that the applicant's display of the poster amounted to an attack on all Muslims in the United Kingdom and that it should be regarded as an abuse of rights within the meaning of Article 17 of the Convention. Consequently, it declared the application inadmissible).