In a show of solidarity, Shuddhashar FreeVoice signed this joint statement opposing the implementation of blasphemy laws in Denmark.
On 1st September the Danish government presented Parliament with draft legislation that would ‘criminalise the improper treatment of objects of significant religious importance to a religious community’.
If this bill becomes law, the crime of blasphemy, which was repealed in 2017, would be reestablished.
Danish authorities hope to quell anger which has arisen following public burnings of the Quran in recent weeks in Copenhagen and Stockholm, Sweden.
The new legislation would be included in chapter 12 of Denmark’s penal code, which covers national security.
This decision will have grave consequences, as it legitimises the notion of blasphemy and opens the door to all forms of censorship. It is in opposition to 200 years of struggle by European intellectuals, artists and political leaders to separate public life from religions and their doctrines, in order to liberate individual freedom of thought and speech.
Peter Hummelgaard, Denmark’s justice minister, described the act of burning the Quran as ‘fundamentally contemptuous and unsympathetic’. This view, based on subjective perceptions (contemptuous and unsympathetic), paves the way to the full range of censorship.
What law will the Danish authorities adopt next, when other groups of individuals demand a ban on opinions they consider ‘contemptuous and unsympathetic’?
In reality, this special law is intended to avoid the fundamental question behind the book burnings: why do people feel the need to publicly burn religious texts such as the Quran?
The Danish government shows great cowardice in pretending not to understand the meaning of these acts.
When people burn Quran, it can be for bad reasons, but it can also be for good reasons : to protest against totalitarian regimes in countries such as Iran and Afghanistan, where this religious book is used to terrorise entire populations and to put down all opposition. Iranian women who refuse to wear the veil are guilty of blasphemy. Afghan women are persecuted by the Taliban just for wanting to go to school.
By adopting this law, the Danish government becomes an accomplice to these tyrannical, murderous regimes whose power rests solely on total submission to the Quran.
By adopting this law, the Danish government becomes both ally and servant to the Iranian and Taliban regimes.
In a democracy, the sole legitimate power is that of the people.
In a democracy, all forms of power can be challenged, mocked and ridiculed through public debate.
With this law, the Danish government agrees to share its legitimacy with God and His self-proclaimed representatives.
With this law, the very cornerstone of our modern democracies is called into question.
Charlie Hebdo (France), Nettavisen (Norway), Subjekt (Norway), Lofot-tidende (Norway), Document (Norway), Universitetsavisa (Norway), Hamar Arbeiderblad (Norway), Rogalands Avis (Norway), Shuddhashar FreeVoice (Norway), Dagen (Norway)
The following newspapers and medias have wished to publish this appeal:
Altinget Norway (Norway), Altinget Sweden (Sweden), Altinget Denmark (Denmark), Grimstad Adressetidende (Norway), NRK (Norway), Politiken (Denmark), Weekendavisen (Denmark), Berlingske (Denmark), MicroMega (Italy)