Italy: Town introduces £360 fine for blasphemy

Blasphemy against Christianity, 'Allah, Buddha or Mohammed' will be prohibited


Tuesday 30 July - An Italian town is introducing a new law making it illegal to ‘blaspheme against any faith or religion.’

Officials from Saonara, in northern Italy, will issue fines of up to €400 (£360) to individuals who break the new law, as part of a raft of new rules to tackle uncivil behaviour.

Mayor Walter Stefan, told The Telegraph: ‘Blasphemy is offensive, it offends me.

‘With this law you will not be able to cause offence to any religion, we have to respect the faithful.’

Mr Stefan, a practicing Catholic, emphasised it was not only designed to protect Christianity from offence, but all faiths.

He added: ‘It is valid for Allah, Buddha or Mohammad.'

Author's comment: This law is intended to punish blasphemy in general, but what do you think is the likelihood that it will be applied to those who are considered to have blasphemed against Islam far more than it will be applied against those who supposedly blaspheme against any other religion?

In addition, by their nature laws against 'blasphemy' and religious insult always go beyond a ban on incitement to hatred or violence. 'Blasphemy' and religious insult laws always in practice prohibit, problematize or chill free expression when it comes to the asking of questions, the offering of criticism, and the expression of satire or ridicule, in relation to religion.


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