Blasphemy: Legal Perspectives and Remedies

The tools of combating religious intolerance start with legislation that protects people’s fundamental political rights and civil liberties, including freedom of expression. Certain laws have been promulgated at different levels to curtail this issue. According Pew Research Report of 2012, 22% of the countries in the world have anti-blasphemy laws and 11% have policies for the punishment of apostasy which includes fine and death sentence. International law declares freedom of expression to be the rule but it can be limited when it conflicts with other rights. These incidents are also in blatant violation of Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of the UN which inflicts ban on advocacy of national, racial and religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. Article 10 of the European Union’s Convention on Human Rights also limits freedom of expression for incitement to discrimination and religious hatred. Countries like Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Czech Republic, France, and Germany have Holocaust denial law. Then why Countries cannot have Anti-Blasphemy Law for all religions including Islam, Christianity and Judaism? There is a need to create awareness for different legal perspectives and remedies available for such incidents. This conference aims to focus on, and not confined to the following:

  • Blasphemy laws in the Muslim countries
  • Jurisdiction of blasphemy: Impunity or penalty
  • Islamization of blasphemy laws
  • Blasphemy laws in the western world
  • Blasphemy laws of the secular countries