Blasphemy law abolished in Alsace-Moselle region of France


A Protestant church in Metz, built between 1901 and 1905, during the Wilhelmine period in Alsace-Lorraine under German supervision.

The ‘blasphemy’ law in force in the region of Alsace-Moselle, France, has been repealed by the national Senate!

The repeal has been termed an “evolution” by lobbyists, and means that France is now free of ‘blasphemy’ laws as such!

How did France, a country renowned for its secularism, end up with a ‘blasphemy’ law on the books as late as 2016? The area where this law was in force was the Alsace-Moselle territory, covering the entire region of Alsace and the département of Moselle in the northeast of the region of Lorraine, and bordering Germany. The territory had been part of the German Empire from 1871 to 1918, and was occupied by Germany during World War II. The Alsace-Moselle ‘blasphemy’ law, articles 166 and 167 of the local penal code, had been inherited from the German Criminal Code of 1871, and kept in place ever since.

The territory has long-maintained its own local legislation reflecting the unique history of the area, despite being part of the French republic. While the ‘blasphemy’ law is now repealed, various religious privileges and exemption from the 1905 law “on the Separation of the Churches and the State” remain.

France, previously awarded a yellow “Local restrictions” rating on the End Blasphemy Laws Campaign map, now gets the “all clear” for ‘blasphemy’.

Greece must uphold pledge to abolish “blasphemy”

More than 50 secular and human rights groups, including numerous members of our International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws, have joined the Humanist Union of Greece in demanding that Greece uphold the pledges of consecutive governments and finally end “blasphemy” law in Greece. Continue reading »

Stop Victim Blaming: Take Action Against Violence

There have been a string of brutal killings against those who are said to have “blasphemed” or have shared political and religious views that are contrary to the views held by the Islamic extremists perpetrating the attacks. Human rights groups are fighting back – but it’s an uphill struggle against the a political culture that blames the victims themselves! Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #40

Pakistan’s glimmers of hope and long-term challenges, Australia’s billboard self-censorship, and Nigeria’s warning against “false” ‘blasphemy’ accusations. In India, Sikh protesters demand use of the country’s ‘blasphemy’ law. In Russia, the Kremlin hits out at Charlie Hebdo. In Egypt, intellectuals hit out at “blasphemy” laws! And in Mexico it’s Day of the Dead, to the ire of the Vatican.

Our 40th round-up of blasphemy news and views from around the world. Continue reading »

In the aftermath of a machete attack…

Even as more atheists are targeted in Bangladesh, leaving a secular publisher hacked to death at his place of business, the government responds by dismissing the killings as “isolated incidents” and blaming political opponents. As fears grow that the authorities have completely lost control of the situation, Islamist groups claim responsibility, and broaden the spectrum of targets they consider as “blasphemers”. End Blasphemy Laws looks at the aftermath of yet another machete attack in Bangladesh… Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #39

In Pakistan, rare sort of progress at the Supreme Court on ‘blasphemy’. In Turkey, another rare victory, at the Court of Appeals.

In Indonesia, “sole”-searching leads to a ‘blasphemy’ court case. In India, two distinct ‘blasphemy’-type claims have the Sikh community in turmoil. In Argentina, Barbie and Ken stoke controversy. While the Catholic Church seems to have an internal “heresy” problem.

And in comment and opinion pieces, there’s a reminder of the violence stalking Bangladesh, Roger Scruton defends “the right to insult”, and somewhere between Canada, India and Pakistan, hardliners selectively celebrate liberalism when it suits them.

This is your 39th weekly round-up of ‘blasphemy’ news and views from around the world. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #38

Pakistan gives a life sentence to a son accused by his own father of “desecrating the Holy Quran”.

However, there’s also an unprecedented spike in the number of “blasphemy” cases receiving bail (well, three people in two weeks – but that’s a lot more than the usual zero). Is it possibly a sign of reform?

Meanwhile, anti-“blasphemy” protests by Sikhs continue in India, score a victory, and spread to Pakistan!

And in Indonesia, for the credulous and thin-skinned leader of the “Islam Defenders Front”, a random pattern on the sole of a flip-flop sparks hysterical outrage. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #37

There were a lot of cases of ‘blasphemy’ in Pakistan last year, 1,400, and that’s just the formally registered ones. In another case this week, a Pakistani Christian father has had to flee with his sons after being told he couldn’t use the village’s only clean water tap unless the family converted.

India under Prime Minister Modi is sliding into the same cycle of ‘blasphemy’ violence, as cow protection laws prompt persecution and vigilante killings, one author argues. Meanwhile, an internal Sikh “blasphemy” protest escalates and police raid houses.

Egypt upholds a TV presenters’ “blasphemy” conviction, meaning he may face five years in jail for questioning Salafi Islamism on air. While in the UK, campaigner Maryam Namazie writes on the need to tackle Islamism head on.

And, following a controversial stage performance, there are shock new claims that “Literally Madonna is Lucifer”.


All this and more in this unfortunately very full 37th of our weekly updates on blasphemy news and views. Continue reading »

The week in “blasphemy” news #36

Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal considers the countries ‘blasphemy’ law – and says it is valid, unfortunately. Bahrain’s new ‘anti-hatred’ laws aren’t a valid way of combating hatred but will instead further criminalize free expression on religion, say experts. Pakistan’s Supreme Court decides it’s not valid to murder people because you think you have a ‘religious duty’ to implement a death-for-blasphemy norm. There are more ‘blasphemy’ victims in Pakistan, and even the United Kingdom doesn’t escape social discrimination. And an Iranian culture minister decides that Salman Rushie speaking about free speech at a book fair is a violation of freedom of expression.

This is the 36th weekly blasphemy round-up! Continue reading »