A 42-year-old man who burned a Quran and posted a video of it on Facebook has been charged with blasphemy in Denmark, a striking decision by prosecutors in a country that is largely secular but has grappled with the role of Islam in public life.
The decision stunned many Danes: No one has been convicted of blasphemy in Denmark since 1946, and the country has a long tradition of free speech; burning the flag is not a punishable crime.
Simmering tensions between religious sensitivities and free speech have been a theme in Denmark since 2005, when the newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The depictions outraged many Muslims, who consider such representations to be blasphemous.
.... Mr. Paludan also noted that in 1997, a Danish artist burned a copy of the Bible on a news show by a state broadcaster but was not charged. “Considering that it is legal to burn a Bible in Denmark, I’m surprised then that it would be guilty to burn the Quran,” he said in a phone interview. [The New York Times] Read more