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At Least 67 Countries Have Blasphemy Laws

The Center for Inquiry has helped lead the global fight for freedom of expression and against "blasphemy laws" that criminalize criticism of religion.

Launched in 2015, our Secular Rescue program has helped dozens of imperiled secularists escape persecution and violence in their home countries. But there are far more people in need than we have the resources to help. More must be done.

And now there's an opportunity for the United States to do more: a resolution calling for the repeal of blasphemy laws around the world is moving through the U.S. House of Representatives - and CFI needs your help to secure its passage.

House Resolution 512 recognizes that "many countries have blasphemy laws that punish expression deemed blasphemous" and that "blasphemy laws are inconsistent with international human rights standards, as they protect beliefs over individuals and often result in violations of the freedoms of religion and expression."

It also:

* Calls upon the president and State Department to make the end of blasphemy laws a key component in all relations with countries that have such laws;

* Encourages the president and State Department to oppose any efforts at the United Nations to create an international anti-blasphemy norm;

* Calls on the president and State Department to designate states that enforce these harmful laws as "countries of particular concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act;

* Urges the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries to amend or repeal their blasphemy laws, and to release and ensure the safety of any people imprisoned on charges of blasphemy;

At least 67 countries have blasphemy laws. In some of them, criticism of religion is punishable by death. No one should have to die because their beliefs are contrary to those of the state or the majority. The passage of House Resolution 512 would send a strong signal to these countries that the U.S. rejects such laws and that they must be repealed.

That's where you come in.

CFI urges you to join us in standing for the rights of all people to express their beliefs and doubts about religion. Please, use our pre-written form to contact your U.S. representative today and tell them to co-sponsor and support passage of H. Res 512.

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See also:

* Al-Bawaba: Lebanese Band Ready To Apologize For Songs 'Offensive To Christianity.

"According to articles 473 and 474 of the Penal Code, insulting a religion or committing blasphemy is punishable by prison sentences of up to a year or three years, respectively."

* Daily Times: The Fear That Follows Minorities.

"I'm sharing my part of story after a while, because us minorities don't even have the right to speak about the blasphemy law. That's how deep this fear runs. Even in this article I tried to avoid the subject of blasphemy as far as I could."

* AsiaOne: Former Jakarta Governor Ahok Believes His Political Career Is Over.

"Ahok was convicted of blasphemy in 2017 following a series of sectarian rallies staged by Muslim conservatives in the capital who demanded the then governor to be prosecuted for a speech they believed to be blasphemous . . . He was released from prison earlier this year after serving nearly two years."

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on July 25, 2019


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