(CTN News) – In a measure commonly referred to as the Quran Bill, the Denmark parliament outlawed the “inappropriate treatment” of religious literature.
A vote of 94 to 77 means that offenders can now face a fine or two years in prison.
It comes after a string of attacks on the Quran that caused outrage in Muslim nations.
The recent spate of street protests in neighboring Sweden and Denmark over these instances has prompted security worries throughout the Scandinavian region.
Opposition lawmakers in Denmark’s 179-member parliament, the Folketing, vehemently opposed the measure during Thursday’s contentious deliberations.
“For good reason, history will look down on us severely because of this… The question that ultimately matters, according to Reuters, is whether we make the decision to limit free expression or if it is imposed from outside. Inger Stojberg, head of the Denmark Democrats, stated this.
Since the measure would have only a little effect, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s center-right coalition administration maintained that criticism of religion would continue to be permissible.
After seeing 170 protests, including the burning of Qurans in front of foreign embassies, over a few weeks, ministers stated in August that they wanted to send a message to the world by proposing the amendments.
The PET intelligence service in Denmark warned about the heightened terrorism threat due to these incidents.
The security service in Sweden has issued a warning about the escalating security scenario, and the country has also witnessed a string of Quran burnings. Protesters burned down the Swedish embassy in Iraq in July.
The Stockholm administration is presently considering a comparable law.
Blasphemy laws have been eliminated in both Denmark and Sweden.
Following outrage from Muslim-majority countries over recent desecrations of the Holy Quran, the parliament of Denmark will discuss a bill to outlaw such acts on Tuesday.
Nearly 1,000 protestors attempted to march to the Danish embassy in Baghdad’s barricaded Green Zone in late July after a call by radical preacher Moqtada Sadr.
The Danish government has declared the escalating tensions to threaten national security.
An official overview of the measure can be found on the parliament’s website, and it seeks to make it illegal to “treat a text with strong religious significance for a religious community… inappropriately” in public or to spread it further.
The maximum sentence for offenders is two years in jail.
According to national police records, 483 instances of book or flag burning occurred in Denmark between July 21 and October 24 of this year.
After being announced at the end of August, the bill underwent revisions after receiving feedback that its original draught stifled free speech and would be difficult to police.
According to a statement released by the justice ministry at the end of October, “the bill has been narrowed to specifically target improper treatment of scriptures of significant religious importance.”
The bill’s original intent was to protect religious artifacts.
Politicians, artists, media outlets, and free speech advocates all voiced concerns over the initial bill draught, seeing it as a return to the blasphemy law Denmark had just repealed in 2017.
Law enforcement and judicial leaders were concerned that implementing it would be hard. In a statement made in October, Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said, “With the changes we are now proposing, the law will be easier to navigate, including for the police and the courts.” He commented after noticing an increase in the terrorist threat against Denmark.
The proposed amendments will be added to the penal code section dealing with national security in Denmark, chapter 12. Read More…