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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Council of Europe attacks blasphemy laws

Blasphemy is part of a person's freedom of expression and should not be made illegal, a Council of Europe advisory body said in a report published Wednesday.

Council Of Europe

The body’s constitutional law experts, the Venice Commission, argued that while inciting religious hatred should be a criminal offence, as is the case with almost all of the Council of Europe's 56 members, blasphemy comes under freedom of expression.

The Commission also noted a distinction between blasphemy and insults prompted by a person’s religion.

Published Fri, 29 May 2009