Joint statement by Secularist, Humanist, Atheist and Free Thought Organizations

No to the Reinstatement of the “Offense of Blasphemy”! For the repeal of that offense, wherever it still exists!

Since 1999, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, whose headquarter is at Jeddah (kingdom of Saudi Arabia) with a membership of 57 States, has been demanding the conclusion of an international treaty defining and combatting “blasphemy.”

Following the case of the provocative trailer of a film – the sponsors of which are still unknown – which is in line with the so-called “Clash of Civilizations”, and following demonstrations, sometimes murderous but always carefully coordinated, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has promoted a document at the UN (rejected in extremis) calling for punishment: “The fact to target religious symbols and venerated people.”

At the same time, in Greece, in a country where the offense of blasphemy still exists, a young citizen has been sent to prison for having mocked a so-called “saint” of Orthodox Christianity on a website.

On September 27, the Russian Duma adopted a reinforcement of repression concerning the same issue, with the approval of the Orthodox authorities.

In India, the Catholic authorities have just blamed the censorship for failing to take legal action against a Bollywood film “disparaging the Catholic faith.”

In France, on the occasion of plays or exhibitions deemed “blasphemous”, some Catholic circles demand their prohibition.

Nearly everywhere in Europe, the “offense of blasphemy” is still present in laws, even if the forces of public opinions advocating freedom of conscience prevent their implementation. Even in France, in Alsace, a few years ago, it was applied against Act-Up activists, in pursuance of the German Penal Code which is still applied in Alsace-Moselle.

And, at this moment, the European Union, through its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mrs ASHTON, has decided to sign a joint statement with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab League General Secretary and Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union. The joint statement declares: “We believe in the importance of respecting all prophets, regardless of which religion they belong.”

That stand can only facilitate violations of freedom of expression and reinforcement of repression; it threatens all secular laws, not only in Europe, that organize or protect freedom of conscience, of the press or artistic creation. It is a danger for everybody’s liberties and physical safety, because it opens the gate for complete arbitrary rule.

The undersigned organizations demand the repeal of this statement; they demand to put an end to lawsuits against all those who have been prosecuted in pursuance of the very reactionary “offense of blasphemy”

Signatory Associations:

  • Fédération nationale de la Libre Pensée française (FNLP)
  • Ligue de l’Enseignement
  • Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (LDH)
  • Union Rationaliste
  • Conseil National des Associations Familiales Laïques (CNAFAL)
  • Mouvement « Europe et Laïcité » (CAEDEL)
  • Union des Athées
  • Association « Laïcité-Liberté »
  • La Libre Pensée Autonome (Bouches-du-Rhône)
  • National Secular Society (United Kingdom)
  • Atheism UK (United Kingdom)
  • Freethought Information Service UK (United Kingdom)
  • Freethought History Research Group (United Kingdom)
  • Libre Pensée du Luxembourg
  • Libre Pensée de Genève (Switzerland)
  • Association vaudoise de la Libre pensée (ALVP-Switzerland)
  • Association Nationale de la Libre Pensée Italienne « Giordano Bruno »
  • Fédération des Libres Penseurs (Austria)
  • Libre Pensée du Brandenbourg (Germany)
  • La Libre Pensée de Grèce « Les amis d’Hypatie » (Greece)
  • Association Belge des Athées
  • Centre pour la liberté de recherche ONLUS (Italy)
  • Nationale Institute of Francois Marie Voltaire (Slovakia)
  • Europa Laica (Spain)
  • Union des Athées et Libres Penseurs de Catalogne (Spain)
  • Sidmennt the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association (Iceland)
  • Humanistisk Samfund (Denmark)
  • Protagora (Croatia)
  • Libre pensée de Jodoigne (Belgium)
  • Associação República e Laicidade (Portugal)
  • Atheist Ireland
  • l’Association Polonaise des Rationalistes (Poland)
  • Association Athée (Poland)
  • Association Humaniste (Poland)
  • Association Sapere Aude, Center for Inquiry Transnational (Poland)
  • Initiative Féministe Européenne (Poland)
  • Atheist Association (Finland)

In addition, this Declaration is also endorsed by:

  • Pascal-Eric Lalmy, secrétaire national du PRG à la laïcité
  • Luis Manuel Mateus, ancien Président de « République et Laïcité » du Portugal
  • Association Libres penseurs athées — Atheist Freethinkers (Canada)
  • Sociedad Humanista Etica Deodoro Roca (Argentina)
  • Ateista Tutmonda Esperanto-Organizo (ATEO)
Categories: Resolutions