By Samira Shackle
Blasphemy laws hit international headlines when they result in a particular abuse of rights. Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan; Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger currently enduring 50 lashes every week.
Yet the problem is far wider than just these individual aberrations. Blasphemy laws, broadly, are those which restrict or punish speech which is deemed to insult religion. The New Humanist has reported extensively on this issue; read our World of Blasphemy series for more information about the status of these repressive laws all over the globe.
According to the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)’s 2014 Freedom of Thought Report, 55 countries worldwide – including EU member states – have criminal laws restricting blasphemy. In 39 countries, it is an imprisonable offence, and in six, it carries the death penalty.
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