Since our founding in 1866 we've campaigned for freedom of speech, regardless of the objections of any religion. We finally succeeded in abolishing the vestigial blasphemy laws in England and Wales in 2008, but the threat to our freedom of expression hasn't ended.

What’s the problem?

While in the UK the law is fairer now, free speech is still threatened. One of the major concerns we have is over 'backdoor' blasphemy laws which conflate hate speech and criticism of religion, making satire, criticism or mockery a criminal act akin to racial hatred or inciting violence.

Attitudes to free expression among young, university-educated Britons is also concerning, with significant numbers willing to erode the right to freedom of expression where religion is concerned.

Around the world blasphemy laws continue to be used to target religious and political minorities, particularly in Islamic theocracies. These are sometimes described as 'misuse of blasphemy laws', but the NSS contends that there are never any legitimate uses for blasphemy laws.

What we are doing

  • We were instrumental in the repeal of blasphemy laws in England and Wales in 2008, and continue to campaign against blasphemy laws around the world, including 'backdoor' blasphemy codes that restrict the criticism or mockery of religion.
  • We welcomed Irish voters'decision to repeal the blasphemy provisions in their country's constitution and have called for blasphemy laws in Scotland and Northern Ireland to also be repealed.

What you can do:

Blasphemy laws and religious restrictions on speech are incompatible with pluralism & human rights. I support the NSS campaign to end all forms of blasphemy laws.
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More information

Support for the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws

The NSS is an affiliated coalition partner of the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws

While you're here

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