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 Therefore, it sends a vital message to the rest of the world if Iceland has repealed its blasphemy law.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’s Blasphemous Libel Law
- Canada’s Blasphemy Law
- Canada is Repealing its Blasphemy Law
- CFIC Discourse #5: Blasphemy
- Raif Badawi
- CFI Condemns Murders at Charlie Hebdo
- Secular, Humanist and Freethought Links
- HUMAN RIGHTS
- Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom
- Atheist Bloggers Risking Their Lives
- A Call for Justice
- Charlie Hebdo and the Question of Blasphemy
- CFI Canada at the Office of Religious Freedom’s EAC
- International Human Rights
- Supreme Court Decision
- Secular Human Rights Campaigns
- Founders of Centre for Inquiry Canada
- CFIC Condemns Superstition-based Violence
- Another Pediatric Death by World View
- CFIC’s Mission, Vision, and Values
- CFI Canada Student Campus Groups
- CFIC Discourse
- CFI Canada Condemns All Faith-Based Violence
- 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
- Hitchmas 2015
- Canada Deserves Better Than Pope John Paul II Day
- Centre for Inquiry Globally
- George Kourounis: Take The Centre With You
- Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign
- James Randi in Toronto!
- Not Over Yet! Humanists Should Speak out on the Right to Die with Dignity
- History and Mandate
- CFIC Bylaws
- Catholic School Board Breaking the Law, Complaint Alleges
- CFIC’s Ethical Perspectives
- Who is CFIC, and what do we do?
- CFIC’s founding principles
- Crisis in Nepal: What can we do?
- 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”
- Physician-Assisted Death
- Ask the Religion Experts: Should we boycott the Sochi Olympics?
- Spoon Bending and Higher Learning
- What is CFIC
- From the Cradle to the Grave
- Timothy Caulfield coming to Ottawa
- Vaccine records – Who’s responsible?
- Atheist advertisements have been rejected in Vancouver – again
- Merry NewtonMass
- CFI to file human rights complaint alleging discrimination by Pattison Outdoor in Vancouver
- Is God a Figment of our Imagination?
- International Women’s Day
- CFI US Presents: Women in Secularism III
- Secular Humanists Grieve with the LGBTQ Community of Orlando, FLA
- CFI Manitoba