Dutch Blasphemy Law to Fall, Irish One May Follow

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Laws criminalizing blasphemy are set to be struck down soon in the Netherlands and may disappear in Ireland, but rising tensions in economically battered Greece seem to be reviving pressure to prosecute offenses against God.


Blasphemy appears more frequently in headlines from the Muslim world, where countries such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia readily punish perceived critics of Islam, but a lesser known trend is a general movement in Europe away from such laws.

Cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and works of art seen as offensive to Islam have angered many Muslims in Europe and beyond in recent years, sometimes sparking violent protests. Yet attacks on religion no longer seem to shock most Europeans.

In the Netherlands, scrapping a 1932 blasphemy law became an issue last year after a court undermined it by acquitting far-right leader Geert Wilders on charges of inciting hatred against Muslims.

Ireland opens a constitutional convention on Saturday to consider a major reform of the political system, including removal of a blasphemy law only passed in 2009.

Greece is a major exception. The producer, director and actors in a play depicting Jesus and his Apostles as gay were charged this month with blasphemy after protests by priests and right-wingers, including deputies from the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party

The Dutch and Irish cases fit into a trend of abolishing blasphemy laws as antiquated leftovers in today’s Europe, said historian David Nash of Oxford Brookes University in Britain.

Written By: Tom Heneghan
continue to source article at thejakartaglobe.com

11 COMMENTS

  1. Well praise the lord.  Now, please let my home country (Ireland) follow suit.  The striking down of these outdated laws will hopefully serve another purpose in telling any would be fanatic of another faith that if we don’t give a shit about our country’s ‘established’ religion what makes you think we care about yours.   

  2. ““There is a gradual leeching away of out-and-out blasphemy laws and an increase in those against defamation of religion,” said Nash, an expert on the history of blasphemy.”

    Could someone please explain the difference between blasphemy and defamation of religion?

  3. What the hell has happened to spelling these days?? ‘Leaching’ has no connection with blood-sucking! 

    Seriously, though the source of the report is surprising- the Jakarta Globe, no less. Encouraging that an Islamic nation takes notice.

  4. Islamic countries use these ridiculous laws to protect their idiotic (so-called) religion from the truth. It cannot stand the glare of truth any more than it can ridicule. I wish there was some mechanism for blaspheming on a mass scale, thereby overwhelming the courts in these stupid countries…

  5. I’m all in favour of these laws, I think every country should have them, we need to take some time and think of the helpless victims!!

    Step 1. Victim Impact statement:
    any God, Gods or Goddess(es) that have been offended should go to their local police station, to record details of their trauma and receive counselling.

    Step 2. Compensation.
    if the God, Gods or Goddess(es) leave their bank details, it will simplify the process of them being suitably compensated for the pain & suffering caused by those nasty humans on planet earth.  

  6. BTW the Irish law of 2009 is just a rehash of a much older law, no one has ever been charged and most experts believe the law is completely unprosecutable due to its vague nature and total lack of any precedent (outside of Afghanistan) 

    To remove these laws completely will take a change to the constitution and therefore a referendum.

    I’m pretty sure it will pass, we Irish know something is wrong when countries like Pakistan and Iran are holding our law up as an example.

  7. Could someone please explain the difference between blasphemy and defamation of religion?

    “Defamation of religion” doesn’t require that the state sponsor a particular religion; nor presume that the accused be a follower.  It replaces irreverence towards specific religious doctrines with the more generic charge of “hurting religious feelings”.

    Basically, it presents blasphemy behind a facade of multicultural modernity.

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