A new report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom details 84 countries that have blasphemy laws that criminalize expression against certain religions. The most egregious enforcers include Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, and Russia. Read the full report here.
Bruce Allen of FMI says some of the countries on the list may come as a surprise. “You’re going to find a country like Switzerland or Germany on the list. So it’s pervasive. Most of the 84 countries are in Africa and Asia, as would be expected. But there are others elsewhere too.”
The goal of these laws? Preventing people from insulting the religious beliefs of others. But Allen says that kind of legal precedent leaves the door open for a lot of different abuse.
These laws can often encourage the mistreatment of religious minorities in a country. “Essentially, governments are trying to safeguard the sensibilities of perhaps the majority population and their view on religion. So they’re saying, ‘Do not insult the leaders, our sacred writings, our traditions, the way we practice something.’”
For instance, Pakistani laws often allow Muslims to accuse Christians of blasphemy in order to get their property. It becomes just another tool of oppression by those in power.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray lawmakers in these 84 countries would have the courage to change these laws and protect the vulnerable.
- Ask God to protect and strengthen Ismail and the other Christians worshipping Jesus in the madrasa.