The Netherlands has formally repealed its 80-year-old law of blasphemy nearly half a century after it was last enforced in practice.
Members of the Dutch Senate approved a motion to abolish the offence, which was passed by the Lower House in March despite resistance from the confessional Christian parties.
The law forbidding “abusive blasphemy” has been on the statue book since 1932, when a communist magazine caused a public outcry by publishing articles and cartoons that mocked religion.
It has been effectively dormant since 1968, when novelist Gerard Reve was prosecuted and acquitted of the offence, but blasphemers could still theoretically be fined or sent to prison.
One Liberal (VVD) politician told NRC: “The abolition of this law is just as symbolic as its existence.”
The Senate vote was the end of a long campaign to abolish the ban which was held back by political sensitivity. It gained momentum in the wake of the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was stabbed to death by an Islamist fanatic in 2003.
Written By: Amsterdam Herald
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