Blasphemy laws by country

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Blasphemy laws limit freedom of speech regarding religious subjects, or apathy toward religious people, customs, and beliefs. Some religious consider some opinions to be blasphemy and therefore should never be expressed.

Similar laws can also forbid "religious defamation", hate speech, the vilification of religion, or "religious insult".

In most countries, blasphemy is not a crime. Criminalising blasphemy is a violation of the separation of church and state.


An Islamic state, Afghanistan prohibits blasphemy as an offense under Sharia.


Algeria uses retaliatory legislation rather than Sharia to combat blasphemy against Islam. The penalty for blasphemy can be up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine.


The states, the territories, and the Commonwealth of Australia are not uniform in their treatment of blasphemy. Blasphemy is an offense in some jurisdictions but is not in others.


In Austria, a section of the penal code relates to blasphemy.


Bangladesh forbids blasphemy by a provision in its penal code that prohibits "hurting religious sentiments."


Article 208 of the penal code states that "publicly vilifying an act or object of religious worship" is a crime.




Ireland introduced a blasphemy law in 2010 which criminalizes: [1]

"publishing or uttering [of] matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion"


Mohammad Asghar claimed to be the prophet Muhammad, which is considered blasphemous. The fact that he had been previously diagnosed with severe paranoid schizophrenia was not considered in his trial. He was sentenced to death in January 2014. [2]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Raif Badawi, resident of Saudi Arabia, was sentenced to 5 years in prison, a large fine and 1000 lashes. His "crime" was to admit his atheism on facebook, support women's rights and creating a website called Saudi Liberal Network. He was accused of "encouraged sinfulness and ridiculing Islamic sanctities and spreading sedition and corrupting faith" [3]

United Arab Emirates[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

In England and Wales, blasphemy as an offence was abolished in 2008. Scotland still has blasphemy laws but since the last successful prosecution was in 1843, it is considered by some to be no longer a crime. Northern Ireland still retrains its blasphemy laws although its use is extremely rare. Critics of religion are sometimes prosecuted under the Communications Act 2003 because their message is allegedly "grossly offensive". [4]




See also[edit]

v · d Religion and society
Politics and law   Code of Hammurabi · Blasphemy laws · Separation of church and state · Theocracy · Gay marriage · Territorial claims
Social issues   Abortion · Adultery · Child abuse · Contraception · Fornication · Halloween · Homosexuality · Masturbation · Misogyny · Pornography · Proselytizing · Ritual slaughter · Right to die · Religious clothing · Religious test · School prayer

v · d Secularism
Support for separation of church and state   United States Constitution · First Amendment · Free exercise clause · Religious test · Separation of church and state
Attacks against separation of church and state   Proselytizing · Theocracy · In God We Trust · Persecution · Authoritarianism · Fundamentalism · Blue laws · Dominionism · Sharia · Theodemocracy · Blasphemy laws · Blasphemous libel · List of Theocratic political parties
Arguments for theocratic government   America as a Christian nation · Australia as a Christian nation · Canada as a Christian nation