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01/04/2024 Denmark (International Christian Concern) — In late December 2023, the Danish parliament amended part of its penal code to condemn blasphemy. The portion of the code states, “[A] person is to be punished [when they] publicly or with the intent of [influencing] a wider circle are guilty of [the crime] of recognized religious community, or an object that appears to be such a text.”

The amendment appears in section 110 of the Danish penal code that discusses the public mockery of a foreign nation through various methods. The addition clarifies that the aim is to protect Danish foreign relations. Despite the wording and location, however, blasphemy laws of any sort have been viewed as extremely problematic throughout the world with Denmark abolishing its earlier blasphemy law in 2017.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) denounced the decision by the Danish parliament. While clarifying that USCIRF condemns the burning of religious texts and other objects of religious significance, USCIRF Commissioner David Curry critiqued the Danish government saying, “Criminalizing blasphemy is the wrong approach and not effective in addressing either security concerns or the underlying hatred experienced by religious communities.”

Throughout 2023, Denmark and neighboring Sweden faced several issues about the destruction and diminishment of multiple religious texts. In June, an Iraqi immigrant to Sweden was authorized to burn the Quran outside of a mosque in Stockholm and in response, Swedish officials authorized the burning of the Torah and the Bible in front of the Israeli embassy in July. Global outrage spread surrounding these events and multiple Nordic countries, including Denmark, faced severe backlash from their historic treatment of global texts.

At International Christian Concern (ICC), we pray for those facing devastation over the renewed restrictions on religious freedom due to the addition to the penal code. We pray that this amendment would be used for its intended purpose of keeping foreign relations and not be applied for further persecution. We praise God that he has a perfect plan and that he acts with perfect justice.