Saturday, March 2, 2024

USCIRF condemns Denmark’s ‘blasphemy law’, human rights violations

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Buildings and ships along Nyhavn harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark | Getty Images

Religious freedom organizations that work directly with the U.S. government have expressed concern about the recently passed bill in Denmark that classifies it as a blasphemy law, warning that it is incompatible with a democratic society and contrary to international law. ing.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom cited the Danish Parliament’s Dec. issued a statement condemning the vote. The bill passed with 94 votes in favor and 77 votes against.

The proposed amendment would make it a crime to “improperly handle documents, or items that appear to be, of religious significance to a recognized religious community.”

The bill cites the “recent burning of the Quran” in the country and the resulting “threat of terrorism” as reasons why the criminal law reform is necessary. Violating the new law could result in a fine or up to two years in prison.

USCIRF identifies itself as “an independent, nonpartisan federal agency established by the United States Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad,” and is “an independent, nonpartisan federal agency established by the United States Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad.” It characterized the measure as a blasphemy law, saying it aims to “deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief.”

The agency defines blasphemy as “an act that shows contempt, contempt, or lack of respect for God or something sacred.” USCIRF points out that “blasphemy laws punish expressions or acts that are considered blasphemous, defamatory, or disrespectful of religion or religious symbols, persons, or sentiments,” and that “such laws does not include religious sentiments, figures, or symbols whose actions or statements are inconsistent with human rights laws that protect the rights of people, but which are considered blasphemous.”

“USCIRF condemns the burning of religious texts such as the Koran, the Bible, the Torah, the Vedas, the Tripitaka (Pali Rite), and other items of religious significance as highly disrespectful and disrespectful.” said USCIRF Director David. curry. “Criminalizing blasphemy is the wrong approach and is ineffective in addressing security concerns and the underlying hatred experienced by religious communities.”

Currie predicted that “this amendment will only spread harmful stereotypes that could worsen the situation for religious minorities in Denmark.” USCIRF Director Steven Schneck offered a similar analysis of Denmark’s criminal law reform, calling it “how the government suppresses human rights protected under international law in pursuit of national security concerns.” Cited as an example.

“Denmark, as a democracy, should not violate fundamental rights to achieve such objectives,” Schneck added. “Instead, the Danish government must work with local communities to address religiously motivated hatred and intolerance and support freedom of religion and belief.”

As noted by USCIRF, the amendments to Denmark’s criminal law come six years after the country’s parliament abolished blasphemy provisions that date back more than 100 years. A fact sheet compiled by the agency reveals that blasphemy laws are common in Europe. Specifically, Andorra, Austria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Spain, Switzerland, and Ukraine have each enacted blasphemy laws.

Denmark’s parliament has rejected accusations that the country’s criminal law reforms violate international law, particularly its obligations under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The bill states that “the protection of freedom of expression under Article 10 is not absolute.”

“Freedom of expression is necessary in a democratic society where intervention is provided for by law and is necessary for national security, territorial integrity or public safety, the prevention of disorder and crime, the protection of health and morals, and the protection of society. In certain cases, it may be obstructed.In order to prevent the dissemination of confidential information, to ensure the authority and impartiality of the judiciary, and to enhance the prestige and reputation of the rights of others.”

Before the implementation of the amendments to the Danish Penal Code, including the prohibition on “improper handling” of religious documents, current Danish law stipulated that “a person who publicly insults a foreign country, its national flag, or any other recognized national emblem or national flag” Flags of the United Nations or the Council of Europe are punishable by a fine or up to two years’ imprisonment.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. Contact him at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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