Hebdo attack prompts blasphemy law revision

Norway has legalised blasphemy. On 12 May parliament voted in favour of dropping a paragraph in the country’s penal code which allowed for imprisonment for up to six months in blasphemy cases. Anders Werp and Jan Arild Ellingsen, the two members of parliament from the governing right-wing and liberal coalition who initiated the change in the law, argued that the change was necessary after the attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The blasphemy paragraph “supports the view that religious statements and symbols have a right for special protection against expressions”, they wrote in their proposal. It signals that religion in our society is “excluded from a constructive and critical dialogue”, they added.