Danish Government set to criminalise improper treatment of objects of significant religious importance to religious communities
The Danish Government has today presented a model for criminalising improper treatment of objects of significant religious importance to a religious community. For example, the bill intends to make it a criminal offense to publicly burn the Bible or the Quran.
As a result of recent Quran burnings, Denmark is increasingly seen in large parts of the world as a country that facilitates insulting and denigrating actions against other countries and religions. It can only be assumed that the primary objective of these actions has been to taunt and provoke reactions. These actions can have substantial consequences that fundamentally harm the interests of Denmark and our like-minded allies. As the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) has stated, the recent Quran burnings have impacted the overall threat situation, and the threat of terrorism against Denmark has increased from an already high level.
The Danish Government therefore intends to criminalise improper treatment of objects of significant religious importance to a religious community. For example, the bill will make it a criminal offense to publicly burn the Bible or the Quran. The bill will not cover verbal or written expressions, including drawings. The bill targets actions that are performed in a public place or with the purpose of wider distribution.
Minister of Justice Peter Hummelgaard says:
“We have recently seen many Quran burnings in Denmark. These insulting and disparaging actions negatively impact the security of Danes, both abroad and at home in Denmark. Therefore, the Government today presents a bill which will criminalise this type of behaviour. Specifically, this means that it will be a punishable criminal offense to publicly burn for instance the Bible or the Quran.
Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of Danish democracy, and the freedom to express oneself is a core value in Danish society. The Government’s proposal is a targeted measure and does not change the fact that we must maintain very broad freedom of expression in Denmark.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Affairs Jakob Ellemann-Jensen says:
“The Government is taking responsibility in a difficult and unsafe situation. Burning, damaging or otherwise destroying the holy scriptures of others serves no other purpose than to provoke for the sake of provocation. It has put Denmark in a difficult situation abroad. The Government cannot sit idly by. Books are not to be burned – they are to be read.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Lars Løkke Rasmussen says:
“The Quran burnings in Denmark have reached a level where Denmark in large parts of the world is seen as a country that supports the insult and denigration of other countries and religions. It creates division at a time, which, more than ever, calls for the opposite: unity and alliances. Therefore, I am pleased that we now have a model on the table that will allow us to put a stop to the kind of insult and denigration we are currently witnessing in Denmark.”
The bill will now undergo a four-week public consultation process, whereby it is expected to be ready for introduction during the opening week of the forthcoming parliamentary session. As there is a risk that the situation may quickly change, the Government wishes to introduce the bill on 1 September 2023 so that, if necessary, it can be considered and adopted before the end of the current parliamentary session.
Subscribe to releases from News from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Subscribe to all the latest releases from News from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark by registering your e-mail address below. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Latest releases from News from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
COP28: Denmark supports the most climate-vulnerable countries with USD 50 million1.12.2023 14:14:38 CET | News
Today, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced Denmark's contribution of USD 25 million to a new fund for climate-related loss and damage. The fund aims to assist the developing countries most severely affected by climate change and has just been approved at COP28.
Danish Government plans to open new Danish embassies16.11.2023 10:56:39 CET | Press release
Next year, the Danish Government will be opening new embassies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Malaysia. Meanwhile, a previous decision to close the embassy in Tanzania has been shelved. Minister for Foreign Affairs Lars Løkke Rasmussen briefed the Danish Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee on these plans today.
Joint statement of EU Group of Friends on climate diplomacy, 13 November 202314.11.2023 13:19:50 CET | News
Group of Friends for an Ambitious EU Climate Diplomacy (The Foreign Ministers of Germany, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Latvia, Slovenia, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden and France)
Denmark sends new humanitarian aid package to the civilian population in Gaza9.11.2023 17:08:02 CET | News
The conflict between Israel and the terrorist organisation Hamas has led to a growing humanitarian catastrophe and protection crisis for civilians. Particularly in Gaza, there is an acute shortage of basic necessities, such as food, water, medicine, electricity and fuel – and the impacts on children are especially severe. Denmark has therefore decided to increase its humanitarian aid to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza, by 75 million Danish kroner (approx. 10 million euro). This new aid focuses on the protection of children, emergency aid and food for the civilian population, the delivery of medicine and medical equipment, and medical treatment for the sick and injured. “The humanitarian situation in Gaza is catastrophic and is worsening by the day – not least for the children. Therefore, the Government has decided to support the humanitarian efforts with an additional 75 million kroner (approx. 10 million euro). With this new humanitarian contribution, we are
New reconstruction package ensuring heat for Ukrainians6.11.2023 14:29:40 CET | Press release
With soon freezing temperatures in Ukraine, the challenge of providing heat to homes impacted by the war is increasingly urgent. The population is preparing for a new Russian campaign of attacks targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in the coming winter months. Therefore, Denmark is supporting the Ukrainians with a EURO 40.2 million reconstruction package that, among other things, will provide 20 mobile heating boilers for the city of Mykolaiv and fund repairs to Mykolaiv’s existing central heating system.
In our pressroom you can read all our latest releases, find our press contacts, images, documents and other relevant information about us.Visit our pressroom