Dutch blasphemy law – the bad news

It appears we were a little hasty in celebrating the demise of the Dutch blasphemy laws.

Danish journalist Flemming Rose has contacted MWW, relating the concerns of a Dutch colleague about this supposed repeal. All is not as it seems.

The intention is to introduce the concept of “indirect insult” and expand an existing law which protects people on the basis of race, age, disability, and sexual orientation to include protection on the basis of religion or “conviction”. This means that remarks directed at Islam, Christianity, Buddism or – depending on your interpretation of “conviction” – even homeopathy and astrology, could be interpreted as indirect insults to people, and prosecuted as such.

According to a commenter on the original story, this law carries a maximum sentence of 12 months, whereas the original defunct blasphemy law carried a maximum 3 month sentence.

Writes Rose:

This spring the Dutch minister of justice Hirsch Ballin wrote a note to parliament asking them to consider stiffening blasphemy laws. In the aftermath of the scandal surrounding the arrest of Gregorius Nekschot parliament refused to go along, and this proposal is the compromise that the government came up with.

This whole scenario looks very similar to what we went through here in the UK with the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill – when we came very close to getting a universal blasphemy law imposed on us. We won that battle by a narrow margin, thanks to an alliance of convenience between artists, secularists and Christians.

Will the Dutch see the danger and mobilise in time to prevent a free speech disaster?

3 Responses to “Dutch blasphemy law – the bad news”

  1. marc says:

    “Will the Dutch see the danger and mobilise in time to prevent a free speech disaster?”

    — only if we help them! Free Denmark!

  2. Andrew Bolton says:

    But rational and scientific people are offended constantly by the religious and irrational, so surely this is an opportunity to protest at every deeply offensive piece of pseudoscientific twaddle and every sickening piece of religious stupidity until the whole system collapses under the weight of complaint?

  3. G. Tingey says:

    Andrew Bolton has the right way to go _IF this piece of incredible stupidity passes ……