Man Charged With Blasphemy for Burning a Quran

George Bernard Shaw

Denmark - Blasphemy law is a law limiting the freedom of speech and expression relating to blasphemy, or irreverence toward holy personages, religious artifacts, customs, or beliefs. Blasphemy laws are sometimes used to protect the religious beliefs of a majority, while in other cases, they serve to offer protection of the religious beliefs of minorities.

Denmark is one of only five countries in the European Union that has a blasphemy law on the books but no one has been convicted of blasphemy in Denmark since 1946. The blasphemy law hasn’t been invoked since 1971, when two people broadcast a song mocking Christianity and stirred a debate over female sexuality but they were acquitted.

The decision to charge the man who burned a Quran and posted a video on Facebook was made by a regional prosecutor in Viborg, on the Jutland peninsula, and had to be approved by the country’s attorney general. A trial has been scheduled for June. If convicted, the defendant faces up to four months in prison or a fine. The video was posted on Dec. 27, 2015, to a Facebook group called “Yes to Freedom — No to Islam,” and had a title “Consider your neighbor, it stinks when it burns.”

Andrew Copson, President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), comments: “We condemn the use of ‘blasphemy’ laws in all circumstances. Around the world, accusations of ‘blasphemy’ can spark mass protests, the harassment of individuals, or even murder. ‘Blasphemy’ is a bizarre, fictitious notion as a crime and has no place in courts of law anywhere in the world.”

“The fundamental rights that allow a religious believer to freely profess the divinity of a holy book also allow someone else to defile that book, and still others to censure such an action,” said Michael De Dora, the Center for Inquiry’s (CFI) main representative to the United Nations. “While the actions of the accused may be offensive and his sentiments ugly, real democracy is only possible with the freedom to criticize even the most deeply held beliefs.” The mission of the CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

Lone Ree Milkær, chairperson of the Danish Humanist Society, said: “Denmark should abolish the blasphemy law. We have freedom of religion and belief and it makes no sense to have a special protection of religions or worship.”

A book, especially a religious one, is a symbol of faith and it shouldn’t be destroyed like this, but also it isn’t actually hurting someone. Let’s hope the case will lead to a rallying cry to abandon such laws once and for all.

Photo Credits: Reddit

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