Blasphemy in Viborg

Denmark has decided it believes in something called “blasphemy,” and that people should be prosecuted and punished for it.

Denmark is reactivating its ‘blasphemy’ law, for the first time in 46 years, charging a man for posting a video of himself burning a copy of the Quran.

The accused (aged 42) posted the video clip entitled “Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns” to a Facebook group called “YES TO FREEDOM – NO TO ISLAM” (“JA TIL FRIHED – NEJ TIL ISLAM“) in December 2015.

A spokesperson from the public prosecutor’s office in Viborg said: “It is the prosecution’s view that circumstances involving the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Quran can in some cases be a violation of the blasphemy clause, which covers public scorn or mockery of religion.” The case will now be heard in court at Aalborg, and if found guilty the accused could face a prison sentence, though prosecutors say they will probably ask for a fine.

Really. So it’s a crime to publicly scorn or mock religion?

Religion is a big doody-head.

There; I guess I’m a criminal in Denmark.

The Danish Humanist Society, Humanistisk Samfund, said the use of the ‘blasphemy’ law was “scandalous” and that “Legislation should protect  the individual freedom of speech and individuals against hate-speech and hate-crimes. Hateful and critical utterances directed at ideas, religions and ideologies should be fought with words and debate.” 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. Imagine that we protected ideologies in the same way. In a secular democracy we should be able to tolerate utterances (and actions with no victims) that we dislike or disagree with and we should argue against them instead of punishing by law.”

Notice that even Milo Yiannopoulos is not being punished by law. He’s being ostracized, which is itself not something people should do for trivial reasons, but he’s not being charged with a crime.

Lone Ree Milkær spoke at the United Nations in Geneva last year, on behalf of the Danish Humanist Society and IHEU, as a guest of the IHEU delegation. She urged Denmark to abolish the ‘blasphemy’ law, citing Denmark’s “international responsibility to be at the forefront in promoting and protecting the right to freedom of expression”. She also noted that ‘hate speech’ as such was already covered in the penal code, and that that ‘blasphemy’ laws around the world are used to persecute minorities.

IHEU and the Danish Humanist Society are among the partners in the End Blasphemy Laws campaign.

Blasphemers of the world unite.

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