Who Has Anti-Blasphemy Laws?

Fareed Zakaria notes that the Qur’an does not mention blasphemy but

Somebody forgot to tell the terrorists. But the gruesome and bloody belief the jihadis have adopted is all too common in the Muslim world, even among so-called moderate Muslims — that blasphemy and apostasy are grievous crimes against Islam and should be punished fiercely. Many Muslim-majority countries have laws against blasphemy and apostasy — and in some places, they are enforced.

That impelled me to wonder what countries had anti-blasphemy laws?

As it turns out many countries do and the countries that do aren’t just in the Middle East and North Africa. 31% of the countries in the Americas have anti-blasphemy laws and 16% of European countries do including Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Greece.

Some U. S. states have anti-blasphemy laws, e.g. Masschusetts and Michigan, which are unenforceable due to the First Amendment.

I’m not sure what the point of this post is other than that France and the United States may be the exceptions rather than the rule in this area.

5 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw

    At some point, even the U.S. might treat a in-person expression of religious contempt as “fighting words,” for which a disorderly conduct might be charged. The point would be to uphold the value of the sacred per se, but upholding the peace. Laws against burning American flags seem like anti-blasphemy laws as well, also not enforceable.

  • Andy

    Watching the news today and reading about this it strikes me that many western elites simply cannot comprehend that for some, notions of honor are worth killing and dying for.

  • PD Shaw

    Oops: The point would “NOT” be to uphold the value of the sacred per se, but upholding the peace.

  • PD Shaw

    That link may not have all of the blasphemy laws:

    “Section 296 of the Criminal Code makes “blasphemous libel” punishable by up to two years in jail in Canada.

    No one been prosecuted under the law since 1935. As late as 1980, the law was used to charge the Canadian distributor of Monty Python’s film Life of Brian; the charges were later dropped.

    . . .

    The United Kingdom abolished its blasphemy law in 2008; the United States has never had one at the federal level. The French region of Alsace-Moselle does have one, dating back to its history as part of Germany, but it’s not easy to use. Last February, a group of French Muslims actually tried to sue Charlie Hebdo itself for blasphemy under the Alsace law, after it published a cover they’d found offensive. The suit failed because Alsace law only protects Catholicism and not Islam.

    Meanwhile, Canada’s law has expanded in application beyond Christianity, to religion in general. The Canadian law was first used in 1892 and was originally intended to protect Christianity from blasphemy. Case law since then has broadened its application.”

    National Post (Canada)

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