Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Law Library of Congress Report on Blasphemy and Related Laws

The Law Library of Congress in Washington recently published a report that surveys laws criminalizing blasphemy in 77 jurisdictions around the world:
"This report ... surveys laws criminalizing blasphemy, defaming religion, harming religious feelings, and similar conduct in seventy-seven jurisdictions. In some instances the report also addresses laws criminalizing proselytization. Laws prohibiting incitement to religious hatred and violence are outside the scope of this report, although in some cases such laws are mentioned where they are closely intertwined with blasphemy. The report focuses mostly on laws at the national level, and while it aims to cover the majority of countries with such laws, it does not purport to be comprehensive. For each surveyed country, the law in question is quoted or paraphrased and examples of enforcement actions are briefly described where reports of such actions were found. Blasphemy laws are widely dispersed around the globe; regional patterns are apparent. Such laws are more likely to exist and be actively enforced in Islamic countries."
Despite the fact that active enforcement appears to be more common in Moslem countries, the report notes that there have been prosecutions in recent years in Austria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Under Canada's Criminal Code s. 296, it is an offence to commit “blasphemous libel”. However, that section has not been used since the mid-1930s.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:02 pm


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