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Denmark makes it illegal to burn the Quran or other religious texts

The government hopes to see less terrorist threats, but critics say it shows fear and a lack of trust in freedom of speech.

AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus COPENHAGEN 11 DE DICIEMBRE DE 2023 16:47 h
A park in Copenhagen, Denmark. / Photo: [link]Daniele Salutari[/link]

A fine or up to two years of jail is the punishment for those who desecrate religious scriptures in Denmark from now on.



The Folketing, the country’s national parliament, voted 94 to 77 in favour of a law whose main aim is to stop the burnings of the Quran, which have caused a security crisis in the Denmark and other neighbouring countries.



Islamic jihadist groups such as Hezbollah or al-Shabab had called to attack Denmark and Sweden in revenge for a series of public burnings of the Muslim holy book which were recorded and shared online by some people.



Now, the law targets the “inappropriate treatment of writings with significant importance for a recognized religious community”. The Minister of Justice said the “systematic mockery” which is raising terror threat levels in Denmark must end. “We must protect the security of Denmark and Danes”, he said.



But many in Denmark see the law as a step back in the sensitive area of fundamental freedoms. Right-wing opposition parties said the law was “a restriction on freedom of speech dictated from the outside”.



“Does Iran change its legislation because Denmark feels offended by something an Iranian would do? Does Pakistan? Does Saudi Arabia? The answer is no”, a left-wing spokesperson said.



 



The slippery slope of blasphemy laws in Europe



In August, a Swedish theologian and cultural analyst told Evangelical Focus that the Quran burnings should not lead to legislation against blasphemy.



“As Christian churches, we should make clear that we think the burning of any sacred text is inappropriate”, said Olof Edsinger. “But something is terribly wrong when totalitarian regimes – often oppressing their own people – are trying to force us to abandon our hard-won human rights”, he added.


 

 


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