International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws

iheuFriday, 30 January 2015. A new international campaign has been launched aimed at abolishing "blasphemy laws" worldwide. The End Blasphemy Laws campaign is thought to be the first campaign focusing solely on the issue of laws against "blasphemy" including "ridicule" and "insult" to religion or "hurting religious sentiments".

The coalition behind the campaign, led by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and the European Humanist Federation (EHF) and numerous coalition partners, currently represents around 200 Humanist and secular organizations globally, and is open to all groups who oppose "blasphemy" laws, including religious and secular communities, human rights groups, and all advocates of freedom of expression.


icablemembers1.  We are an international coalition of organizations committed to removing blasphemy laws wherever they exist.

2.  We will:

(a) Provide public education regarding blasphemy laws around the world.

(b) Advocate on behalf of victims of blasphemy laws.

(c) Lobby governments to act on expert legal opinions, which consistently recommend that these laws be repealed or abolished.

3.  We defend people's right to discuss, criticize and ridicule ideas and beliefs, even when this offends other people. Humans have rights—beliefs do not.

4.  With regard to freedom of speech laws which are aimed at protecting people rather than ideas, members of the coalition may have different approaches or policies.

5.  We argue that blasphemy laws are harmful:

(a) They violate freedom of expression and deny equality.

(b) Actively enforced blasphemy laws infringe on and violate human rights around the world.

(c) Passive blasphemy laws reinforce active blasphemy laws.

(d) They have been repudiated by international law and governance bodies.

(e) Blasphemy laws are sometimes hidden under other language.

Obama at prayer breakfast affirms right to be godless

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...Perhaps most important, Obama affirmed the right of every person to reject faith in a god, free from persecution and fear:

... central to that dignity is freedom of religion — the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose, to change their faith if they choose, or to practice no faith at all, and to do this free from persecution and fear.

Obama also expressed his opposition to blasphemy laws around the world, so often used to intimidate and silence the critics of religious superstition:

Going forward, we will keep standing for religious freedom around the world. And that includes, by the way, opposing blasphemy and defamation of religion measures, which are promoted sometimes as an expression of Religion, but, in fact, all too often can be used to suppress religious minorities.


—Michael Stone,
January 5 2015

Archbishop of Canterbury defends Stephen Fry

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Stephen Fry has every right to call God an evil, monstrous maniac ... says Archbishop Justin Welby. He says Christians must stand up for religious freedom of atheists and Muslims as much as themselves.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has come to the defence of Stephen Fry who infuriated Christians by denouncing God as "utterly evil", "capricious, mean-minded, stupid" and "monstrous". The Most Rev Justin Welby insisted that the atheist comedian and writer had a God-given right to express his beliefs and should not be abused by Christians for doing so.

During a question-and-answer session afterwards, he thanked the former MP, Evan Harris, a humanist, for his efforts to abolish the blasphemy laws in the UK and said he opposed all restrictions on freedom of speech concerning religion which did not constitute hate speech.

—John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
The Telegraph, 04 Feb 2015

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