The Dangers of Blasphemy Laws – The Situation In Bangladesh

By: Aeneas Lavinium
ICLA

We have written alot here at ICLA about blasphemy laws and freedom of expression. We have focused a great deal on how the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) seeks to make Islamic blasphemy laws a permanent component of international law. UNHRC Resolution 14/18 that purports to be about religious freedom is really about its opposite – blasphemy.

The video below shows scenes from Dhaka in Bangladesh after Islamists demanded the dealth penelty for atheist bloggers who were deemed to have ‘insulted Islam’. That particular claim seems to be increasingly used around the world to terrorise non-Muslims as well as Muslims who the Islamists claim are not ‘pure’ enough. Such problems are caused by blasphemy laws. That such laws are actually encouraged by Western governments is a very depressing situation indeed.

To call for someone to be put to death for ‘insulting Islam’ is, frankly, offensive! Such talk is a relic of a previous age and should not be encouraged. However, Western governments continue to pursue pro blasphemy agendas. The world is increasingly looking like a place where the Englightenment did not happen! In the West sharia critics are demonised and delegitmised. This is just a short step from what is happening in Bangladesh. Philosophies must be open for discussion and criticism if we are to preserve tolerant societies.

Islamists want to put their own religious philosophies beyound criticism. They deamnd respect but are not willing to give it to others. How many Islamists have criticised atheist or Christian philosophy? People are not obliged to believe in the same things. Why should the views of one group be protected by law when those of another are not. If all ideas are protected from criticism there would never be any new ideas or progress.

As Western governments continue to encourage blasphemy laws and their secular eqivalents the darker and more depressing society becomes. Surely it is time for fewer (or better still no) blasphemy laws! Western Governments really need to learn how to pronounce the word NO! when they meet with the blasphemy law facilitators of the OIC.

Freedom of expression is the most fundemental freedom because it is the basis of all others, including religious freedom. To promote blasphemy law at the expense of freedom of expression is a very foolish activity indeed!

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