The global extent of laws against apostasy and blasphemy

The Pew Research Center recently updated a post on this topic.

“In dozens of countries around the world, laws against apostasy and blasphemy remain on the books and often are enforced.

Last December, for instance, authorities in Sudan charged 25 men for apostasy – the act of abandoning one’s faith — including by converting to another religion. The men face the death penalty for following a different interpretation of Islam than the one sanctioned by the government.

And, in Pakistan, police are currently pursuing a Christian accused of sending an allegedly blasphemous poem to a friend. Blasphemy – defined as speech or actions considered to be contemptuous of God or the divine – is a capital crime in Pakistan.

Pakistan is one of 12 of the 50 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (24%) that had blasphemy laws in 2014. And, during that year, blasphemy laws were enforced in several of those 12 nations. For instance, in Burma, a New Zealander and two Burmese men were convicted of blasphemy after using an advertisement depicting Buddha with headphones to promote a bar. The men were sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

Read post in full