26 February 2017

Why secular Denmark is using a sledgehammer to protect the sacred

DENMARK is one of the least religious countries in the world; a poll has found that barely one in five Danes considers faith to be a really important factor in daily life. Yet as of this week, it looks as though Denmark may be one of the very few countries in the Western world where a blasphemy law is in active use.

The country’s state prosecution service has emphatically defended its decision to bring blasphemy charges (and the suggestion of a fine, not a prison term) against a 42-year-old man who burned a copy of the Koran in his garden and then posted a video of the deed on an anti-Islamic Facebook group. "Such an act may be a violation of the blasphemy section of the Criminal Code which concerns public mockery or scorn with reference to a religion," a prosecutor said.

What lies behind this decision? It’s easy to think of reasons why the authorities in any Western country would view the public burning of Islam’s holy text as something against the public interest, an act to be discouraged in any possible way. [The Economist] Read more