Iceland Removes Blasphemy Law!
CFI Canada was very pleased to observe the Parliament of Iceland remove it’s antiquated blasphemy law on July 3, 2015. Our colleagues in Iceland were early and enthusiastic supporters of the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws when the coalition was formed following the Charlie Hebdo attacks. We are re-publishing here comments from the Sidmennt website on this historic advance of word secularism.
Iceland’s parliament agreed today to abolish the blasphemy provision of the Criminal Code. The Pirate Party’s parliamentarians submitted the proposal in January, which received broad support from all other political parties in Parliament and the matter was unanimously supported by the committee examining the proposal. Icelanders have now taken an important step in guaranteeing human rights and joined other nations which respect freedom of speech and expression.
There was also extensive support for the bill among the various organizations consulted by Parliament: in addition to Sidmennt (The Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association), the bishop of Iceland, the Icelandic priesthood, the Association of Publishers, PEN Iceland, IMMI (The International Modern Media Institute) an Icelandic based international organization of information and freedom of expression and an atheist group called Vantrú.
The bill is a response to criticism by various international institutions such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe which specifically concluded that countries should abolish the blasphemy provisions in their laws.
Sidmennt has always focused attention on abolishing the blasphemy provision in the Icelandic Criminal Code and has sent parliamentarians memoranda about this in our annual letter to them with suggestions about important issues which promote human rights. Sidmennt’s comments to Parliament on this bill included the following:
“Often, countries where there is a lack of democracy and freedom are criticized for punishing people for blasphemy even with death sentences. When those countries are criticized, their spokespeople frequently point out, correctly, that similar laws are in force in “Western” democracies. Therefore, it sends a vital message to the rest of the world if Iceland has repealed its blasphemy law. Nations which maintain blasphemy laws with serious consequences should not be able to point to Iceland and say that it has the same kind of law.”
Sidmennt celebrates the fact that parliamentarians from all parties have supported broadening human rights. It should be noted that there are provisions in the Icelandic Criminal Code against hate speech so that protection against that is still guaranteed.
Submitted by Hope Knutsson
- Update on Parliamentary Petition e-382 calling for the elimnation of Canada’s anti-blasphemy law
- Canada is Repealing its Blasphemy Law
- Canada’s Blasphemy Law
- Canada’s Blasphemous Libel Law
- CFIC Discourse #5: Blasphemy
- HUMAN RIGHTS
- Secular, Humanist and Freethought Links
- CFI Condemns Murders at Charlie Hebdo
- Raif Badawi
- Atheist Bloggers Risking Their Lives
- Charlie Hebdo and the Question of Blasphemy
- Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom
- International Human Rights
- A Call for Justice
- CFI Canada at the Office of Religious Freedom’s EAC
- Founders of Centre for Inquiry Canada
- Canada Deserves Better Than Pope John Paul II Day
- CFIC Discourse
- AP REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER A ENT USA CA
- Secular Human Rights Campaigns
- CFIC Condemns Superstition-based Violence
- Supreme Court Decision
- Another Pediatric Death by World View
- Are Organized Religions a Possible Public Health Hazard “Vector”? Apparently we have our job to do…
- Canada’s Standing Committee on Health (HESA): Report 13
- 2015/2016 Flu Shot is a Good Idea
- Against Quebec’s Bill C21
- Hitchmas 2015
- CFI Canada Condemns All Faith-Based Violence
- Centre for Inquiry Globally
- CFI Canada Student Campus Groups
- History and Mandate
- George Kourounis: Take The Centre With You
- CFIC’s Mission, Vision, and Values
- Secularism Discussion
- Not Over Yet! Humanists Should Speak out on the Right to Die with Dignity
- CFIC Bylaws
- Crisis in Nepal: What can we do?
- CFIC’s founding principles
- Welcome to the Centre for Inquiry
- February 26 – Avijit Roy Day Honouring Murdered Atheist Writers in Bangladesh
- CFIDiscourse #1: A Christian in Favour of Atheist Billboards
- US to tighten rules on homeopathic “medicines”
- Policy Statements
- Physician-Assisted Death
- Spoon Bending and Higher Learning
- The Cave Painter
- CFIC’s Ethical Perspectives
- From the Cradle to the Grave
- What is CFIC
- CFI Canada Board of Directors
- Timothy Caulfield coming to Ottawa
- Vaccine records – Who’s responsible?
- Winnipeg Bus Shelter Ads Highlight Human Rights Violations
- Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign
- CFI to file human rights complaint alleging discrimination by Pattison Outdoor in Vancouver
- Merry NewtonMass
- Is God a Figment of our Imagination?
- International Women’s Day