Council of Europe body says blasphemy should not be illegal
The body's constitutional law experts argued that while inciting religious hatred should be a criminal offence, blasphemy comes under freedom of expression.Strasbourg -- 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.
The body's constitutional law experts 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 Venice Commission also noted a distinction between blasphemy and insults prompted by a person's religion.
Blasphemy is punishable by death under the laws of Muslim countries. Many European countries also have laws against blasphemy, but rarely use them.
The Venice Commission is the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters.