Ryan McChrystal: Ireland’s blasphemy laws only encouraged countries that punish apostasy with death


In October 2018 Ireland voted — with a significant majority — to amend article 40.6.1 of its constitution to remove the criminalisation of the “publication or utterance” of anything deemed blasphemous. All major political parties backed the reform and even the Catholic Church agreed the law was “largely obsolete”. Although no one had ever been convicted of blasphemy in Ireland, the potential €25,000 fine caused many to self-censor. The most worrying aspect of Ireland’s blasphemy legislation was that it was cited by the Organisation of Islamic States at the UN — led by Pakistan — as best practice. Under Pakistani law, blasphemy is punishable by death.

Index on Censorship welcomed the amendment article 40.6.1. Index’s assistant online editor, Ryan McChrystal, spoke to Voice of Islam about the vote.

[Update: This article has been amended to clarify details of the amendment to article 40.6.1]

Also read: Beyond belief: Will Ireland’s new government finally phase out the country’s blasphemy law?

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