The Mid West Humanists received this message recently from the European Humanist Federation. Atheist Ireland is one of the 200 supporting organisations.
It is good to see international support for our campaign to remove the law against Blasphemy from Ireland’s Constitution.
The End Blasphemy Laws Campaign is thought to be the first campaign focusing solely on the issue of laws against “blasphemy” including “ridicule” and “insult” to religion or “hurting religious sentiments”.
The coalition behind the campaign, led by the European Humanist Federation (EHF), the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and various national partners, represents around 200 Humanist and secular organizations globally.
Campaign’s website: end-blasphemy-laws.org
Sonja Eggerickx, President of the IHEU, said, “In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings there have been renewed calls to abolish ‘blasphemy’ and related laws in almost every country where they still exist. Our organizations have worked for many years to protect this important right: to question, criticise, and yes even ridicule religion. Given this new impetus to challenge these anachronistic laws, we believe that we can work together across national boundaries to support local voices calling for the repeal of all such laws.
“The idea that it is wrong to satirize religion, lends false legitimacy to those who murder in the name of being offended. The idea that it is taboo to question or to criticise religious authorities is one reason why sexual abuse in the Catholic Church persisted so long. The idea that “insult” to religion is a crime, is why humanists like Asif Mohiuddin are jailed in Bangladesh, is why secularists like Raif Badawi are being lashed in Saudi Arabia, is why atheists and religious minorities are persecuted in places like Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, and the list goes on!”
Pierre Galand, EHF President, explained: “Our campaign does not target laws against incitement to hatred, which are legitimate. What we are concerned about is laws which restrict freedom of expression about religion. As a first step, we want to see the remaining laws against blasphemy and religious insult in Europe repealed. There is an obvious double standard issue as the EU has taken a clear stand against blasphemy laws in the world. Now it must encourage its Members States to abolish existing blasphemy laws, as recommended by the Council of Europe.”
The campaign calls on transnational bodies and world leaders to look on “blasphemy” laws as they might look on law restricting press freedom: as a restriction on free expression and indicator of social harm.
EHF (European Humanist Federation): Pierre-Arnaud Perrouty (Executive Director): T +32 4 84 18 35 35, firstname.lastname@example.org
IHEU (International Humanist and Ethical Union) : Bob Churchill (Director of Communications): T +44 7743971937, email@example.com
Campus de la Plaine ULB
CP 236 1050 Brussels
International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)
39 Moreland Street
London EC1V 8BB
Filed under: atheism, blasphemy, constitution, Dáil Éireann, humanism, law, political issues, religion, Seanad Éireann | Tagged: blasphemy, campaign, constitution of ireland, EHF, equal rights, European Humanist Federation, free speech, International Humanist and Ethical Union, law, secularism |