USCIRF chairman states that blasphemy laws “invite abuse and can lead to assaults, murders, and mob attacks”. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has released a report that shows how blasphemy laws around the world fall short of international human rights benchmarks.
“Respecting Rights? Measuring the World’s Blasphemy Laws” catalogs the offending laws found in a wide range of countries In some countries, blasphemy laws are enforced weakly, if at all, yet such laws, “in both theory and practice, harm individuals and societies.” The report explains laws spanning the globe from nations, for example, Canada and Switzerland to Iran and Indonesia with punishments going from fines to death.
Shockingly, more than “Religious freedom includes the right to express a full range of thoughts and beliefs, including those that others might find blasphemous,” noted USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark. “Advocates for blasphemy laws may argue that they are needed in order to protect religious freedom, but these laws do no such thing. Blasphemy laws are wrong in principle, and they often invite abuse and lead to assaults, murders, and mob attacks. Wherever they exist, they should be repealed.”
The report analyzed the text of blasphemy laws against such indicators as freedom of expression, , flexibility of religion or conviction, dubiousness of the law, seriousness of punishment, discrimination against groups, and state religion protections.. Most laws in the investigation failed to ensure freedom of expression, were vaguely worded, and carried unduly harsh penalties for violators.
In each of the five of the worst-scoring countries (Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Qatar), the blasphemy laws aim to secure the state religion of Islam in a way that impermissibly discriminates among different groups. At the point when society wish to help people of different faiths from speech that offends them private citizen must act, not the government, and they should act calmly, never with brutality. In such cases, solidarity across faiths can be a powerful tool for promoting tolerance and mutual respect.
Though implementation varies, countries from Switzerland to Sudan persist in outlawing expression of views deemed ‘blasphemous’,” said Chairman Mark. “Some countries, including Canada, have such laws but do not actively enforce them. We call upon those countries to set an example for the others and repeal their blasphemy laws. And we call upon all countries to repeal any such laws and to free those detained or convicted for blasphemy.”