Blasphemy ( . altgr ἡ βλασφημία, τῆς βλασφημίας – blasphemia – which, reputation ‘, composed of βλάπτειν – bláptein – bring harm’, ‘disadvantage’ and ἡ φήμη – Pheme or Doric ἡ φάμα – PHAMA – the customer ‘, which reputation ‘) refers in the present context a “blasphemy”. Including, inter alia, the denial, mocking or cursing is certain beliefs of a religion called.

The accusation of blasphemy directed against the deviation from a belief system that is supposed to be untouchable. A person who accuses another person of blasphemy, is their own belief system completely and deny both the fact that their belief system is just one of many. [1] here exist for this view is no objective criteria – the person who utters the accusation of blasphemy so subject to the influence of cognitive biases .

“I’m afraid I do not believe there is seeking a thing as blasphemy, just outrage from insecure Those in Their Own faith.”

“I’m afraid I do not believe in such a thing as blasphemy, but the excitement of those who are insecure in their own faith.”

According to § 48 of the opinion from the year 2011 of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, a body composed of eighteen independent experts have been appointed to hear claims concerning the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to assess, “are prohibitions of displays lack of respect for a religion or other belief systems, including blasphemy laws, with the agreement incompatible , except in certain circumstances, as foreseen in Article 20, paragraph 2 of the Treaty. ”

Of Article 20, paragraph 2 calls on states to prohibit the following:

“The advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that incites discrimination, hostility or violence.”

The comment requires carefully that no restriction on its guarantees equality before the law (Article 26) and freedom of thought , conscience and religion may hurt (Article 18). [3] [4]

Against this human right is violated, however, in many states. So blasphemy is in many religions as a serious religious offense when it concerns their own religion. The Western countries are due to the age of the Enlightenment shaped and protect explicitly (usually in a constitution), the freedom of religion , freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of its citizens, as long as they do not infringe any third party rights massively. Therefore the accusation of blasphemy is charged in Western countries rarely, but occasionally it comes nevertheless to convictions for blasphemy.


In the Federal Republic of Germany is the abuse of faiths, religious societies and ideological groups then by § 166 of the Criminal Code (the “blasphemy”) is a crime if it is capable of disturbing the public peace;
similar in Austria according to § 188 , § 189 öStGB .
similar in Switzerland under Article 261 of the Criminal Code.
In the UK , a similar clause was abolished in early March 2008. [5]
In Ireland , Article 40 of the Constitution provides that the publication of blasphemous material should be punishable by law. [6] As part of a reform of the law in July 2009, a corresponding penalty provision was introduced. [7]

In many countries with a state religion blasphemy is a criminal offense . In some of these states, they can use the death penalty to be punished, for example, in Saudi Arabia , the Islamic Republic of Pakistan , the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran . Whether and to what extent are certain acts or utterances as “blasphemy”, depends on the legally valid criteria for their determination and the importance of religious traditions and values ​​in a society. These can undergo dramatic change in the history of religion.

Religious, especially fundamentalist groups often already see things as blasphemy, which explicitly in western countries by the freedom of religion , freedom of expression and freedom of speech are protected, for example:

Believe in gods of other religions,
general disbelief ( Atheism )
Swearing , especially with such a religious origin or religious content (examples: “god damn”, “holy shit”)
a mockery of religious symbols, such as the inverted Christian cross with crown of thorns (not to be confused with St. Peter’s Cross )
a denigration of religious content, such as movies such as Dogma , Life of Brian , Popetown and similar satires or comedies cynical

Was and is often made ​​Christians in Islamic countries the charge of blasphemy; media and human rights organizations have repeatedly reported by the persecution of Christians on this occasion or pretext. [8] [9]
Hebrew Bible

In the Tanakh , the Hebrew Bible of Judaism , the blasphemy is YHWH a severe fracture of the second (according to another count of the third) of the Ten Commandments . This forbids the abuse of God’s name YHWH ( Ex 20.7 EU ):

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

This follows directly from the first Bid Ex 20,2 ff EU : I am YHWH your God … Thus, the liberator of Israel his chosen people says to his saving presence and at the same time claimed exclusive worship in Israel. This is a guiding principle across the whole Torah , so that the offense of blasphemy is not re-established in each case. Also any form of (Christian) Trinity is excluded by this commandment and blasphemy. Clearly it is the Jewish creed Shema .

In Lev 24:16 EU states accordingly:

“Whoever blasphemes the name of YHWH, who put to death: all the congregation shall certainly stone him. Whether foreigner or native, who blasphemes the name shall die. ”

What is meant by the example in the context (Lev 24.10-15), the direct cursing the name of God. Living in Israel by a non-Israelites Also indicated is thus the possibility that strangers entice the Israelites to the worship of foreign gods and thus threaten the existence of God’s people. This not the belief in other gods, but probably made their public propaganda against Israel YHWH religion criminalized.

In Ex 22,27 EU states in the context of the bid collection Book of the Covenant (Ex 20-24) apodictically

“You shall not blaspheme God, and a ruler of thy people thou shalt not curse.”

Thus, cursing God and the religious authorities of Israel on an equal footing. Worship foreign gods, seduction to idolatry and rejection of specific exercise and maintenance of Yahweh cult leader were similar offense in biblical Israel. It was not only the protection of a monotheistic theocracy , but the freedom of all freed from the slavery of the Israelites. This was in biblical perspective, threatened by takeover of gods, the most absicherten slavery and divine kingship in Israel’s environment.

In Lev 19,12 EU abuse of God’s name is on the perjury related to:

“You shall not swear falsely by my name and not profane the name of your God:. I am the Lord”

This is about the use of God’s name for certain selfish purposes. Israel, God can be just so reviled by the invocation and apparent affirmation of his power.

In 1 Kings 21.10 EU is portrayed as Jezebel , Queen of Israel, the foreign, as enshrined in the Torah prohibition of blasphemy misused a free Israelite farmers to rob his inherited land:

“Give him two ruthless men against testifying and saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king! And then carry him out, and stone him, that he die. ”

This has prophetic announcement of judgment by the death of the whole royal family to follow.

The prototype of the foreign blasphemer who attacks the Israelite God directly, for the biblical apocalyptic literature of the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes . He tried to 170 BC, during the Hellenization eradicate the Jewish religion of his empire. He is in the book of Daniel as “mouth speaking great things” (Dan. 7.8), characterized ( Dan 11,36 EU ):

“And against the God of gods he will speak monstrous things, and it shall prosper till the wrath has had an impact, because it has happened, what has been decided.”

What was the enormity, it is not said that exact quote of blasphemy is avoided. But it was the author’s opinion a mocking of the Israelite God. This could also indirectly through abolition of the Jewish Torah, the prohibition of Jewish festivals , or Tempelentweihung by foreign gods (Dan. 9:27; 11.31) happen. These religious offenses were regarded in Israel as idolatry (worship foreign gods in Israel), particularly in the Book of Deuteronomy were closely connected with the subject of blasphemy.
New Testament

In the New Testament affirms Jesus of Nazareth, the prohibition to abuse the name of God, by forbidding not only perjury, but every oath:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, and God shall keep your oath.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. Let your speech be yes, yes, no, no. What is it that is of evil. ”

However, Jesus was even after the passion narrative of Mark’s Gospel condemned as a blasphemer, after the Messiah question of Caiaphas affirmed and with the announcement of the Son of Man had supplemented ( Mk 14,63 f EU ):

“Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, What further need have we of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think? But they all said the sentence on him that he is guilty of death. ”

What Jesus was blasphemy worthy of death, but is historically controversial. Mostly it is seen in the self-deification, the out heard the accuser of Jesus, Son of man notice. This interpretation also represents the Gospel according to John ( Jn 19.7 EU ):

“The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he has himself the Son of God made. ”

Gotteslästerungsprozess 1912

Theodor Fritsch belonged since 1880 to the most active in publishing anti-Semites of the German Empire . He had numerous diatribes, including the 1945 published in 49 editions spread Antisemitenkatechismus when on 15 he May 1910 in the journal hammer published the following mnemonic:

“The fact that the Hebrews put their Judaism and want to be German, I do not think so, until they burn their Talmudic writings and tear down their synagogues – the sign that they are hostile to no longer worship the Lord, the spirit of malice and falsehood.” [10]

Then, founded in 1893 showed Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith , which was also responsible for the legal protection of Judaism in Germany, Fritsch due to abuse a body having corporation rights religious community (§ 166 of the Reich Criminal Code ) and endangering the public peace through incitement to violence (§ 130) in front of the Royal Leipzig district court. Fritsch was born on 18 November 1910 to have violated the religious feelings of the Jewish community to a week in prison, led to the same result, a second trial for incitement Talmud , in which he at 19 Ten days in May 1911 received prison.
blasphemy charges against art

The painter Max Ernst was by its own account in 1926 by Archbishop Karl Joseph Schulte after the exhibition of his painting The Virgin chastises the infant Jesus before Three Witnesses: André Breton, Paul Éluard, and the Painter at the Cologne Kunstverein excommunicated for blasphemy. [11] [12]
Artists of the group SPUR were indicted in the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s for blasphemy.
The play “Maria Syndrome” by Michael Schmidt-Salomon was banned in Germany in 1994.
It was founded in 2004 by the artist Dorota Nieznalska in Gdansk prohibited a penis in connection with a crucifix to show. The installation was called Passion (Polish: Pasja). Go particularly in the conservative-catholic Poland politics and comparatively rigid case with artwork to that deal critically or disparagingly with Catholic beliefs. Here it was, however – in contrast to the discussions on “The Face of Muhammad” – by processes that have been set on the territory of a country heavily influenced by Christianity itself, and not in another culture.
In Kassel were from Christian extremists against an exhibition of Gerhard Haderer pronounced bomb threats. He had been in Jesus Christ as a “pothead”. Haderer was also convicted of blasphemous caricatures in Greece in absentia to seven months in prison, but later acquitted.
The pop artist Madonna could be “nailed to the cross” during the stage show of a live concert in 2006 that elicited strong criticism from church leaders and Christians. The prosecutor noted, however, that complaints of blasphemy would not lead to a conviction.

cartoon controversy

An example of a controversy over the blasphemy were perceived by many Muslims as blasphemous cartoons of Mohammed . On 27 October 2005 reimbursed eleven representatives of Danish Muslim organizations because of the blasphemy law § 140 of the Danish Criminal Code charges against the newspaper Jyllands-Posten . [13]

On 6 January 2006 asked the prosecutor’s office in Viborg the procedure on the grounds that no evidence of an offense under Danish law were available. [14] This decision was confirmed on 15 March 2006, the Director of the Danish public prosecutor , founding it in detail with reference to the cartoons. [15]
blasphemy law in Pakistan

Pakistan – the land called in 1956 to the first Islamic Republic in the world – has about 156 million inhabitants, of which 96 percent are Muslims, Christians 2.3 percent and 1.5 percent Hindus. The situation in the country is influenced by a very strong population growth (see here ). For years, criticized the blasphemy laws are misused in Pakistan to take action against other faiths, and especially to personal disputes unsubscribe. So suffice in many cases a pure suspicion of blasphemy. The blasphemy law is enshrined in the Pakistani Penal Code and includes four paragraphs. Basically, the law introduced in 1986 forbids the insult any religion. Severe penalties for desecration of the Koran (Section 295-B, life imprisonment) and the insult of the name of Muhammad (295-C, the death penalty) is provided. While not a death sentence was carried out in Pakistan so far, but several defendants after their release from a mob lynched . Most of the charges were against Ahmadis collected about 13 percent of the defendants were Christians. [16]

On 30 May 2007, sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy a Christian. [17]

End of March 2010, the police arrested in the Pakistani province of Punjab, Rubina Bibi, the Christian woman. You should have “insulted” the prophet Mohammed. Upon request, the police denied the arrest of Alipur and tried to keep this secret from human rights organizations. [18]

Asia Bibi was on 8 November, 2010 by a court of law [19] was the first woman in the history of the country for alleged blasphemy sentenced to death . [20]

Benedict XVI. called 2011 during his traditional New Year’s reception for diplomats to the Holy See, the Pakistani government to repeal the law – “the more so as it obviously serves as an excuse to provoke injustice and violence against religious minorities”. [21 ] A day later, said the Secretary-General of the Pakistani party Jamaat-e-Islami , Liaquat Baloch of an “interference in internal affairs and religious.” According to APP , the Pakistani government news agency, he qualified the statement by the Pope as a template, “around the world to plunge into a bloody war”. [21]
For the retention of the controversial blasphemy law demonstrated on 9 January 2011 about 40,000 people in Pakistan. [22] The mirror then summed up: “In Pakistan, the extremists increasingly determine policy. [...] The fanatics have already won. ” [23]

In summer 2012, a blasphemy case, Pakistan held its breath for weeks: a young Christian woman accused of blasphemy called Rimsha Masih was taken into custody. She is under 18 and is considered mentally retarded. In September, she was released on bail from prison. This was triggered by the arrest of an imam who is suspected of having falsified evidence against the girl. Previously, over 1 million people from many countries had an online from petition signed formulated that Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari urged to stand up for the girl’s release. [24] [25] On 1 October 2012 presented the ‘Supreme Court’, the process is not a blasphemy, although previously the police had relieved the girl. [26]

Pope Cartoons of satirical magazine ‘Titanic’

In connection with Pope cartoons of the satire magazine, Titanic expressed Goppel Thomas (b. 1947, CSU politician and Landtag of Bavaria) in August 2012 sharply critical of “Titanic,” editor in chief Leo Fischer . Goppel was quoted as saying he would journalists such as fishing personally, “the license to write escape” because this was not the duties of editor-worthy. [27] [28] Goppel supported as a result the demand of Archbishop Ludwig Schick , profanity future be punishable. Schick had said that although there is the paragraph 166 of the Criminal Code , but this was completely forgotten and will hardly used. [29] Against “holy people, holy scriptures, worship and prayer and sacred objects and devices of all religions” should not scorn and derision to be admitted. [30] Goppel supported the suggestion by saying “anyone who does not find his decency who needs a law”. [29]

For the cover and the last page of the July 2012 edition of the request takes to complete a declaration by the legal representative of Pope Benedict XVI. . The magazine had titled Hallelujah in the Vatican – The leak is found in the indiscretions! Vatican (see ” Vatileaks “) picked up and printed to two edited photos of the Pope. The cover photo shows the Pope in front of a cassock , which is down from waist stained with yellow liquid. The second photo – on the issue back – shows him from the back, the buttocks area is brown stained. [31] The Hamburg Regional Court then issued an injunction against Titanic, the further spread of the images to be avoided. [32] The majority of the kiosk output was sold at this time. [33] The Titanic announced appeal. [34] On 30 August moved the Holy See ‘s request for a preliminary injunction against the sheet back. [35] [36]

‘Titanic’ is considered to be a magazine that has often “tested” limits of satire. The Roman Catholic Church had at least four times before 2012 because of denigration of the Pope and three times for religious defamation complained once felt the former Bishop of Fulda , Johannes Dyba , offended.
attack on embassies in the capital of Sudan
→ Main article: Muhammad cartoon

In Khartoum (capital of Sudan ) was born on 14 September 2012 after the Friday prayer , the German embassy in the “53 Baladia Street” raided, burned and partially destroyed. Then the British Embassy was damaged and stormed the U.S. embassy. This action was, according to Spiegel Online and news agencies not spontaneous, but planned, apparently because of anti-Islam demonstrations of rights in Germany. [37]

Against the neighboring British Embassy went before the mob. Then moved thousands of protesters in the city edge to the U.S. Embassy in buses or drove there. The police did not succeed despite tear gas use, to keep the U.S. embassy. [38]
Reception in the arts (eg, film, literature)

The movie The Life of Brian in 1979 has about blasphemy. The satire is aimed at the dogmatism of religious and political groups. Christian and Jewish organizations protested sharply against the publication. Performance boycotts and / or bans in countries like the U.S. , UK or Norway , prompted debates about freedom of expression and blasphemy.

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