United States – ‘Eliminate’ Blasphemy Laws, says US Commission Chief on International Blasphemy Day

World Watch Monitor | Oct. 1, 2018

In some countries blasphemy is a very sensitive topic and often leads to riots and violence, like in Islamabad, Pakistan, in November 2017.(Photo: World Watch Monitor)
In Pakistan, blasphemy accusations often leads to riots, like this one in Islamabad in November 2017.(Photo: World Watch Monitor)

Blasphemy laws are “dangerous” and should be “eliminated”, the chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) told Newsweek yesterday on International Blasphemy Day.

The freedom to criticise or mock religion should not be decided by governments and their interpretation of laws, said Dr. Tenzin Dorjee. And it would be best to eliminate blasphemylaws altogether, he told the American magazine.

“By making governments the arbiters of truth and religious doctrines, blasphemy laws are ripe for abuse by authorities to use against citizens who may articulate minority or dissenting views,” Dorjee said.

“Even in countries that are not using these laws against individuals exercising their rights to freedom of religion and expression, they must be eliminated. Ireland’s upcoming referendum to remove the offense of blasphemy from their constitution is an example other countries can follow in eliminating these dangerous laws.”