A man whose named has not been made public has been charged with ‘blasphemy’ in Denmark. The 42-year-old allegedly made a film of himself burning a copy of the Quran and shared the film online.
The ‘blasphemy’ law in force in the region of Alsace-Moselle, France, has been repealed by the national Senate!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!
The island nation of Malta has become the latest country to scrap its “blasphemy” law. Abolishing the law against “vilification” of religion, Bill 133 is a victory for free expression and freedom of religion or belief.
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!
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.
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…
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.
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!
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”.