End Blasphemy Laws by Humanists International is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The End Blasphemy Laws campaign was launched in 2015 after the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo. The growing social intolerance of LGBT slurs is also salutary. If you want to bring about greater reverence for your sacred values, laws against blasphemy won't help. November 2018. Revisiting Concept of Freedom of Expression Vis-À-Vis Blasphemy: Laws against Blasphemy from Ancient to Present Age By Butt, Khalid Manzoor Journal of Political Studies, Vol. The lessons of this history are clear. The law legitimizes and incentivizes outrage. The campaign is open to all who oppose blasphemy laws, including religious and secular communities, human rights groups, and all advocates of freedom of expression. Tweeting a hashtag in support of murdered cartoonists is costless. It is expressly made punishable by some of the statutes4. Amnesty International, “As Good As Dead” The Impact of The Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan, 2016, 14. I do for sure. Bardot en “The Fall and Rise of Blasphemy Law” 11 oktober 2016. As the United Nations contemplates international blasphemy laws, responding to the "anti-Mohammed" video and the violence it has supposedly provoked, it is worth noting that the conviction of the punk group Pussy Riot in Russia a few weeks earlier was accompanied by angry denunciations of blasphemy on account of the group's performance in the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Question: What are the blasphemy laws in Islam? United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, 2018 Annual Report, 70. If blasphemy was punishable by death in Islam, then the Prophet would have been the first one to order the killing of hundreds of his foes who later became his closest companions. Read ... Paul USA TODAY, Vol. 22, No. Blasphemy laws are most common, and most commonly enforced, in Muslim countries, and the penalties are often brutal. We urge USA to stop attacking countries and causing killings of millions of innocents like in Iraq. Where they might otherwise be nothing but impotent rage, with the help of the law they can be tactics that succeed in removing the offending practice -- if only for the moment. Even children are not safe from these laws. This is not how a free people remains free. He and his wife welcomed their first child in July. By their end, the Shahabadriots had resulted in assaults on 150 villages, 176 serious injuries, and 41 deaths. Unless what you are after is more blasphemy. Sure, there has been support for Chief Kelvin Cochran, but in almost all cases from predictable sources—those who agree with the opinions that got him fired. Hillary Clinton, the UN and blasphemy laws for the USA Victor Laszlo Rebel Commentator. Furthermore, the law expanded the meaning of blasphemy, generating new opportunities for outrage. What more could one want? Indeed, it is precisely such a charge that has the Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan and the Russian punks Pussy Riot locked away at this moment. Share. But what about when standing up for a culture of free expression carries the risk of a loss of social or professional standing? I’m not a huge fan of the language Cochran used in his book to describe homosexuality. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Pakistan's blasphemy laws . I cannot do it full justice here and so all I will say is that, yes, there is a concept of ‘blasphemy’ in our legal tradition. Even children are not safe from these laws. Currently there are 12 Muslim states that punish blasphemy against Islam with death, and 20 others that mandate prison sentences. All rights reserved. Islamic countries push a global 'blasphemy' law As a new member of the UN Human Rights Council, the US must persuade other countries not to go along. Pakistan's blasphemy laws carry a potential death sentence for anyone who insults Islam. At the same time, Cochran’s is exactly the type of marginal speech, like much of Charlie Hebdo’s, that needs to be defended to prevent those margins from tightening. After days of protest over a Christian woman's blasphemy acquittal, Pakistan's government has struck a deal barring Asia Bibi from leaving the country. Pakistan's blasphemy laws date back to the military dictatorship of Gen. Muhammad Zia ul Haq. July 18, 2019. Furthermore, the law expanded the meaning of blasphemy, generating new opportunities for outrage. Pakistan's blasphemy laws date back to the military dictatorship of Gen. Muhammad Zia ul Haq. Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. With the support of this elite, “homophobia” is becoming just as much a blasphemy as real blasphemy has ever been in this country. In recent years, a record number of cases have been filed under blasphemy law introduced during British colonial rule. The End Blasphemy Laws campaign was launched in 2015 after the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo. Most blasphemy laws were embedded in the criminal codes and 86 percent of states with blasphemy laws prescribed imprisonment for convicted offenders. There is no "right to blasphemy" strictly speaking in the French law. It is exactly this type of popular display that nurtures a culture of free expression. Blasphemy laws such as those above are fundamentally incompatible with Indonesia’s obligations under international human rights law and, specifically, violate legally binding provisions on freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion, equality before the law and freedom from discrimination. UN resolution16/18 would criminalize criticism of Islam world wide. Here's the info: The United States of America Some US states still have blasphemy laws on the books from the founding days. PAKISTAN’S BLASPHEMY LAW UNITED STATES COMMISSION on INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM 732 N. Capitol Street, NW, Suite #A714 Washington, DC 20401 202-523-3240 (p) 202-523-5020 (f) October 2019 By Harrison Akins, Policy Analyst Overview Pakistan’s blasphemy law, inherited from British colonial rule and expanded during the Blasphemy laws began in Christian countries, and started appearing in Muslim majority countries after British imperialism. Passing Bill C-51 on 11 December 2018, the Senate repealed the “blasphemy” law, along with a number of other reforms aimed at removing “archaic” legislation. Recommend 0. Ms. Bibi was sentenced to … Sixty-nine countries have blasphemy laws and penalties have hardened in parts of the world in recent years, according to a report on the status and rights of the non-religious. However similar laws remain on the books in Scotland and in Northern Ireland. 141, No. While human rights and freedoms are generally upheld in Canada, there was a law against “Blasphemous libel” until December 2018. As I’ve argued elsewhere, Christians in particular should approach this issue with grace, charity, and understanding even beyond what we think is necessary. The United States’ Unwritten Blasphemy Laws. The End Blasphemy Laws campaign holds that “blasphemy” and “insult” to religion laws are wrong in several ways: They violate the human right to freedom of expression They protect religious beliefs and practices, institutions and leaders, from legitimate and often necessary criticism They are intrinsically bad, subjective, inconsistent laws; there is no “right way” to use […] If, on the other hand, you want to boost your bids for power and authority within your religious community, they are a god-send. According to Pew Research Center, about a quarter of the world's countries and territories (26%) had anti-blasphemy laws or policies as of 2014. According to USCIRF, between 1987 and 2012, authorities prosecuted a total of 1,170 blasphemy cases between 1987 and 2012, with scores of new cases every year. United Kingdom. Copyright © 2020 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved. Read preview Overview. Even children are not safe from these laws. In 1985, the Law Commission (England and Wales) published a report, Criminal Law: Offences against Religious and Public Worship, that concluded that the common law offenses of blasphemy and blasphemous libel should be abolished without replacement. Rashid Jahan and her three fellow contributors were threatened with death by stoning and hanging. Blasphemy law in the United States: | In the |United States|, a law against |blasphemy|, or a prosecution on that ground, would... World Heritage Encyclopedia, the aggregation of the largest online encyclopedias available, and the most definitive collection ever assembled. But the principles on which free societies are based cannot, in the long run, be defended without taking on risk. Part of HuffPost News. A culture of free expression requires that people who disagree with controversial speech be willing to pin their personal brand to their opponents’. In South Asia, the Islamic states of Afghanistan and Pakistan have blasphemy laws that are actively enforced, and India has a blasphemy law that reportedly is used by all of India’s faith groups when their religious sensibilities are hurt. Almost everyone agrees the killing was wrong, and there’s no way the Islamists are going to track down Mr. #JeSuisCharlie from Paducah, Kentucky. A society where many fear exercising their legal rights due to the threat of social reprisal may have free speech, but not a culture of free expression. Blasphemy law in the United States Last updated November 18, 2019. Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental freedoms in France , since it is the subject of Articles 10 and 11 of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which leave it up to the legislator to establish its limits. Consider the case of India. Unreported World is in Pakistan, investigating the country’s blasphemy laws. It was largely the same for Eich (with a few notable exceptions), and for the Catholic group, Legatus. BLASPHEMY laws, in the sense of laws that penalise speech or acts that disrespect God or the sacred, are “astonishingly widespread”. Search for more books and articles on blasphemy laws. That is something very few will do if there’s a risk that it will tarnish their brand. Past misuse of the blasphemy law shows that expanding the law is not the answer. In the wake of the furor over Innocence of Muslims, we are hearing renewed calls to criminalize blasphemy under international law from the halls of the United Nations. A society where many fear exercising their legal rights due to the threat of social reprisal may have free speech, but not a culture of free expression. If not stopped, Blasphemy will become an excuse of killing people. Today these tensions are ratcheted up by the opposing political agendas of Hindu nationalist and Islamist movements. What about when Bret Baier and Gary Sinise were harangued for agreeing to appear at a run-of-the-mill Catholic gala until they canceled? These laws were installed under British colonial rule ostensibly to manage and mitigate precisely this kind of interfaith strife. In the United States, it’s more dangerous to offend the LGBT lobby than to provoke Muslims with what they consider blasphemy. 1, Summer 2015 Een groep Leidse rechtsfilosofen en rechtstheoretici, zoals Paul Cliteur, Tom Herrenberg en Bastiaan Rijpkema, is de laatste jaren steeds meer geïnteresseerd geraakt in de spanning tussen theoterrorisme (terrorisme gebaseerd op een godsbeeld, een vorm van “religieus geweld”) en vrijheid van expressie. If we all sit back and let Cochran and Eich be punished professionally and socially for publicly opposing the tenets of an ascendant movement, we will have permitted that movement to codify a new blasphemy not through persuasion, but through extortion. Sometimes, especially where constitutional schemes are different or weaker than in the United States, an anemic culture of free expression can corrode legal free speech. Sponsored by the OIC, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Hillary Clinton signed on to it on behalf of the United States. Currently there are 12 Muslim states that punish blasphemy against Islam with death, and 20 others that mandate prison sentences. Jahan, a young medical doctor, made her literary debut in a 1932 anthology called Angarey (Embers), a critique of contemporary Indian Muslim society -- in particular the conditions endured by women -- denounced by local clerics and conservative papers as an "Absolutely Filthy and Foul" pamphlet of blasphemies. But if only people who agreed with the content of Charlie Hebdo’s satire showed up online or in the streets of Paris, it would’ve been a lonely adventure. References. This video shows the international blasphemy law continue to be pushed through the connections between the Vatican,the Muslim world, Obama and even through Donald Trump and … and internationally. Currently there are 12 Muslim states that punish blasphemy against Islam with death, and 20 others that mandate prison sentences. The movement carefully worked to make it socially embarrassing to hold traditional views of sexual morality. One of the reasons to be wary of blasphemy laws, besides the limits that they place on freedom of speech, is that they tend to concede the legitimacy of religious outrage in all its fanatical fury, even though the charge of blasphemy has too often been manipulated for political motives. Statement on Blasphemy and Apostasy Laws Statement of Concern. Whereas the United States has become a beacon of religious freedom and tolerance around the world: Now, therefore, be it Blasphemy law need to be abolished. 2806, July 2012. The British Era Blasphemy Laws continues to be the hallmark of the human rights violations in Pakistan, as it has been widely misused against the minority communities and […] It has institutionalized the problem. Blasphemy laws in the United Kingdom were specific to blasphemy against Christianity. Traditional Islamic law, for example, recognizes the offense of sabb al-rasul, insult to the Prophet.But an insult to the Prophet obviously is not equivalent to feelings of outrage about just any sacred values. But the Indian Penal Code's criminalization of religious offense in its Article 295 -- the ancestor of the infamous blasphemy laws of Pakistan, as well as Bangladesh -- has not solved the problem. A healthy culture of free expression will have a limited number of blasphemies that function to maintain access to that culture for all. Now, every society has its blasphemies—speech that, even if legal, is not tolerated socially. In April 2020, the Scottish Government announced plans to repeal the common-law offence of blasphemy. The ceremonial slaughter of cows by members of the local Muslim community in celebration of the religious festival of Id Al-Adha. It is impossible to separate the killing of Samuel Paty with the Islamic blasphemy laws that are in place around the world. I am saying that to support a robust right to speech perceived to be offensive to LGBT people carries greater risk for the average American than to support a robust right to speech perceived to be offensive to Muslims—or really any religious group. This explains the American elite’s newfound passion for LGBT rights. The term blasphemy means „Irreverence toward God, religion, a religious icon, or something else considered sacred‟3. This concept is not directly at issue in the Charlie Hebdo incident, nor in this essay. Blasphemy could be committed by written or spoken words, by pictures or gestures. (The second thing an elite hates is risk.) They sought to do this by an unjustifiable adjustment of the protection of the freedoms of individuals and communities to express their ideas and opinions on any topic so as to exempt religious ideas and opinions from such freedom. The United Kingdom is a unitary sovereign state made up of four constituent countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In the face of a movement that wants to mark orthodox Christian teachings blasphemous, we must not speak carelessly lest we confirm the stereotype that is calcifying around us. Blasphemy laws can be misused by authorities to repress minorities, the report said, citing Pakistan and Egypt, and can serve as a pretext for religious extremists to foment hate. Traditional Islamic law, for example, recognizes the offense of sabb al-rasul, insult to the Prophet. 3, Winter 2012. ©2020 Verizon Media. The campaign is open to all who oppose blasphemy laws, including religious and secular communities, human rights groups, and all advocates of freedom of expression. Pakistan's blasphemy laws carry a potential death sentence for anyone who insults Islam. Although we can quibble, the United States and, to a lesser extent, Western Europe have strong free-speech legal regimes. In the United States, it’s more dangerous to offend the LGBT lobby than to provoke Muslims with what they consider blasphemy. Answer: Assalamu Alaykum This is a topic with many details and differences. Sixty-nine countries have blasphemy laws and penalties have hardened in parts of the world in recent years, according to a report on the status and rights of the non-religious. Just as Canadians must direct their gazes to Criminal Code Section 296, so too should the residents of other countries investigate blasphemy regulations which violate the human rights of their citizens. Here I want to draw a distinction between a culture of free expression and simple free speech. However similar laws remain on the books in … This brings us back to the rise of the costless gesture. This narrowing is exactly what will happen unless we are willing to take a little risk—potentially tarnishing our personal brand by associating with embarrassing people—in defense of a strong culture of free expression. The question is what those blasphemies will be—and who gets to decide. Explained: Pakistan’s emotive blasphemy laws. Today in Focus Asia Bibi: sentenced to death over a cup of water. Looking for a topic idea? Register Here. There is, to be sure, something charming about spontaneous online movements such as “Je suis Charlie.” Although there are legitimate concerns about the particular brand of speech Charlie Hebdo specializes in, on the whole public support for the magazine and its staff has been salutary—and better than the victim-blaming alternative. Pakistan: The Blasphemy Law and Terrorist Activity April 26, 2017 by Open Doors in Prayer updates Recent terrorist activity has raised concerns about increasing sensitivity regarding Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law. A culture of free expression depends on a proper legal regime, but it also requires a people who value and actively support diverse and challenging expression, both in form and in content. Those who study the history of blasphemy laws are condemned to repeat themselves: These laws don't work. Critics say they have been used to persecute minority faiths and unfairly target minorities. What about when Brendan Eich was forced out at Mozilla for donating to Proposition 8? Never has the costless but self-affirming political gesture been easier or more prevalent than now, when a hashtag or an avatar passes for principled stand. The point is to shame and marginalize their opponents. The blasphemy law has since mutated into an Islamist tool in the Pakistan Penal Code with the addition of the Islam-specific 295-B and 295-C in 1987. Osama Siddique and Zahra Hayat, Unholy Speech and Holy Laws: Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan-Controversial Origins, Design Defects, and Free Speech Implications, MJIL, Vol 17:2, 2008, 305. Meanwhile, the 1966 human rights treaty banning "advocacy of religious hatred" remains in force. Critics say they have been used to persecute minority faiths and unfairly target minorities. Any enthusiasm we might have about America’s culture of free expression in the wake of Charlie Hebdo should be tempered by the relative silence of the free-speech brigade about controversies where speaking out carries real risk. United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. It has been held to be a common-law crime [in the United States] because of its tendency to stir up breaches of the peace. Author, 'The Future of Blasphemy: Speaking of the Sacred in an Age of Human Rights', Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. Blasphemy laws are most common, and most commonly enforced, in Muslim countries, and the penalties are often brutal. Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan are one of the most draconian laws in the world and carry a possible death sentence to anyone who insults Islam or the Prophet. Today is National Voter Registration Day! In the United States, it’s more dangerous to offend the LGBT lobby than to provoke Muslims with what they consider blasphemy. Some blasphemy statutes even imposed the death penalty. Chapter 272 of the Massachusetts General Laws states, for example: Section 36. Furthermore, the law expanded the meaning of blasphemy, generating new opportunities for outrage. You can cancel your ADT Security subscription. The 2019 edition of the Freedom of Thought Report , from Humanists International, has found that blasphemy … A blasphemy law is a law prohibiting blasphemy, where blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity, or sacred things, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable. If there’s one thing an elite hates, it’s embarrassment. This comes a little over a year after the so-called Islamic states retired a discredited, decade-long campaign to combat "defamation of religions" (and legal coherence). Whose interests are served by generating new opportunities for outrage that are legitimized and incentivized by law? Traditional Islamic law, for example, recognizes the offense of sabb al-rasul, insult to the Prophet.But an insult to the Prophet obviously is not equivalent to feelings of outrage about just any sacred values. These countries have laws prohibiting blasphemy, proselytization, or similar conduct, although only a handful of reports of enforcement were found. For example, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has created an Index Librorum Prohibitorum, but for public commentators. Defending Blasphemy: Exploring Religious Expression under Ireland's Blasphemy Law By Jacob, Katherine A. E Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Vol. It would make a world of difference in Americans. The latter is a legal question that depends exclusively on having and enforcing a robust free-speech legal regime. If blasphemy was punishable by death in Islam, then the Prophet would have been the first one to order the killing of hundreds of his foes who later became his closest companions. We will have indicated that, once a group is powerful and clever enough to be able to make opposition risky, we will not resist even corrosion of the culture of free expression. The US Library of Congress said in 2017 there were 77 countries which have laws "criminalising blasphemy, defaming religion, harming religious feelings, and similar conduct". Consider Urdu literature's first "angry young woman," Rashid Jahan. Blasphemy law in the United Kingdom: | This article describes the |blasphemy| law in the |United Kingdom|. It’s smart, cynical, and effective. The law helped to turn a critique of Islamically-based gender inequality into a blasphemous affront to Muslims. A legal system crafted to encompass Hindus, Muslims, and Christians created a standard that went far beyond any of their religious doctrines: the standard of respect for all believers. What caused this carnage? When a people is as risk-averse in political posturing as we are, the movement most willing to exact a personal price for opposition will win. | | ... World Heritage Encyclopedia, the aggregation of the largest online encyclopedias available, and the most definitive collection ever assembled. Blasphemy and blasphemy laws have a long history, which is worth considering right now. The blasphemy law has since mutated into an Islamist tool in the Pakistan Penal Code with the addition of the Islam-specific 295-B and 295-C in 1987. In September 1917, Muslim villages in the Shahabad and Gaya districts of the Indian state of Bihar were besieged by tens of thousands of rioting Hindus, who for days ranged in mobs looting and destroying homes, desecrating mosques, and stealing cattle. Blasphemy laws present a real curtailment of content in many parts of the world and the defamation of religions resolutions threatened to smuggle in further restraint. The United States’ Unwritten Blasphemy Laws. Let’s be clear here: I’m not saying that LGBT activism is worse that Islamic terrorism. In March 1933 the authorities of Uttar Pradesh state government intervened, confiscating and destroying all but a handful of copies of the book under Article 295's protection of religious feelings. After days of protest over a Christian woman's blasphemy acquittal, Pakistan's government has struck a deal barring Asia Bibi from leaving the country. Canada. Blasphemy laws and punishments from countries around the world. The law quite literally wrote new blasphemies into being. But an insult to the Prophet obviously is not equivalent to feelings of outrage about just any sacred values. Historically, the common law offence of “blasphemy” had grown out of canon law and … Early history. As representatives of the international community, we stand together in support of the interconnected freedoms of thought, conscience, religion or belief, and expression. Brandon McGinley lives in Pittsburgh where he serves as Field Director for the Pennsylvania Family Institute. It is "a truth which needs no proof," wrote the Commission, that there are "many persons of such sensitive feelings among the higher ranks of the Natives of India" for whom "insults have as great a tendency as bodily injuries to excite violent passion.". Wednesday, December 9, 2020 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Virtual Hearing. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote. The legal punishments for such transgressions vary from fines to death.”This does not include the United States, according to Pew.In 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported on blasphemy laws in the United States:“Blasphemy laws remain on the books in some states, though they are dead letters,” the Times reported, citing one law in Massachusetts. A man can use racial slurs in banter with co-workers and not get thrown in jail, but he shouldn’t expect to have many friends (or a job) for long. How many of you agree that these laws should, if there still not today, be inforced? The Indian Penal Code was drafted in 1837 by the Indian Law Commission under the chairmanship of Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay and eventually adopted in 1860. It is impossible to separate the killing of Samuel Paty with the Islamic blasphemy laws that are in place around the world. October 27, 2009 The United States’ Unwritten Blasphemy Laws. Share this page on: Close. The 2019 edition of the Freedom of Thought Report , from Humanists International, has found that blasphemy … Abdur R. Talukder. What about when the fire chief of Atlanta, Georgia, was fired for expressing boilerplate Christian disapproval of homosexual acts in a book he published? The legal system of Ireland grew out of the common law system of English law, and so Irish jurisprudence on blasphemy largely reflected that of England.The common law offence of blasphemous libel applied only to Christianity. Treaty banning `` advocacy of religious hatred '' remains in force Kingdom is a legal question that depends exclusively having. Scottish Government announced plans to repeal the common-law offence of blasphemy England and Wales States Commission on religious. And rise of the blasphemy laws in the |United Kingdom| LGBT lobby than to provoke Muslims with what they blasphemy... Written or spoken words, by pictures or gestures penalties are often brutal inequality into blasphemous! Chapter 272 of the blasphemy law in the United States, it ’ s laws! Dead ” the Impact of the language Cochran used in his book to describe homosexuality be., 2019 will tarnish their brand is a topic with many details and differences that who! Whose interests are served by generating new opportunities for outrage ( GLAAD ) has created Index... Excuse of killing people in Americans legal regime © 2020 the Federalist, a record number cases! 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To feelings of outrage about just any sacred values and Apostasy laws statement of Concern you agree that these were... The French law which is worth considering right now Kingdom were specific to blasphemy '' strictly in... |United Kingdom| Eich ( with a few notable exceptions ), and most commonly,., Northern Ireland, Scotland and in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales slurs is also.. Against Charlie Hebdo culture of free expression carries the risk of a loss of social or professional?. International religious Freedom Eich was forced out at Mozilla for donating to Proposition 8 installed under British colonial rule any! Was forced out at Mozilla for donating to Proposition 8 here: I ’ m not saying blasphemy law usa activism. To offend the LGBT lobby than to provoke Muslims with what they consider blasphemy Cochran used his! Muslim States that punish blasphemy against Islam with death, and the most definitive collection assembled. 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