Man charged with blasphemy for burning Quran … in Denmark

Man charged with blasphemy for burning Quran … in Denmark

The mention of the location in the headline was probably superfluous. If the man had torched a copy of the Quran in a country in the Muslim world, he would been beheaded.

According to The Local, the 42-year-old Dane committed the blasphemous act in 2015. He made a video recording of the burning, then posted it to the Facebook group “Yes to freedom — no to Islam” along with the message, “Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns.”

The Danish blasphemy law in question applies to all religions, not just Islam. The prosecutor in the current case, Jan Reckendorff, announced his plan to bring charges in a press release that reads in part:

It is the prosecution’s view that the circumstances of the burning of holy books like the Bible and the Qur’an implies that in some cases it may be a violation of blasphemy provision, which deals with public mockery or scorn against a religion.

The article further notes that the blasphemy law has been invoked only four times in the nation’s history, most recently in 1971. It was not invoked in 2006 when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published several cartoons critical of Islam including one that famously depicted the Prophet Muhammad as terrorist wearing a turban that contained an old-fashioned bomb:


The publication generated anger across the world among Muslims, who generally deem even flattering depictions of their prophet as forbidden, let alone those intended to mock him.

Wisely, The Local withholds the name of the man being charged. In 2011, a fatwa was issued calling for the death of Florida pastor Terry Jones for his participation in a Quran burning.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

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